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Norwich. A city of mavericks and makers, creators and trail blazers. A big-hearted city beneath even bigger skies, and open air, open minds. In Norwich, everyone has a story to tell. And we’ll be sure to tell it. Every month, we’ll be sitting down with local writers, designers, makers, artists and influencers to discuss life in Norwich. This week we’re joined by Christian and Duane, owners of Grosvenor Fish Bar.
Christian & Duane
Christian & Duane have become synonymous with life in Norwich. Offering up incredible food and a welcoming smile at the door, Grosvenor Fish Bar is a favourite of residents and visitors alike, with many people travelling into the city just to sample their food. Christian grew up working in his parents’ fish & chip shops, before moving to New York. Duane, born and raised in Miami Florida, also moved to New York in his 20’s where he worked in marketing and advertising. It was here that the two met, something that most people in Norwich are very thankful for!
How did you get into your chosen career/profession, and why did you decide to pursue this in Norwich?
Christian grew up working in all of his mum and dad’s fish shops. They would buy an old shop, renovate it, and sell it on – this happened about ten times in total. He actually managed the Grosvenor when he was 14! Christian then left Norwich for London, where he worked in the costume department for film, TV and commercials, before studying landscape design and moving to New York. This is where we met. We came back to Norwich for a holiday and I was so impressed with the people and the city, I proposed this should become home in the near future. His parents were trying to sell The Grosvenor Fish Bar and we wanted it. We told his parents, if you don’t sell the shop by the time we sell our New York apartment, we’ll buy the shop! So we sold our apartment, the shop had no buyer, and the rest is history!
What do you love most about Norwich and why?
Norwich has charm and character that makes this city so special. After being away for so many years, I appreciated Norwich on a whole new level when I returned – it felt like I was home.
First and foremost, it has to be the people. For a city, the people have retained the charm, politeness and welcoming attitude that gives it the feeling of being a small, close-knit community. I have felt welcome here from day one, and I will always appreciate the warmth and genuine kindness offered to me.
Favourite place(s) to eat in Norwich?
Like most people right now, we have been eating in a lot more and experimenting with different recipes. We’ve even been baking our own bread at home! The best meal in lockdown was one evening where we traded dinners with our new neighbours, L’Hexagone. It was so delicious, and they are a welcome addition to the Norwich Lanes.
Favourite place(s) for a coffee/beverage?
It’s so nice having The Birdcage ten feet from our own front door and we do hope they open soon! We have been making frequent pick-ups of the cheery beer on tap at The Belgian Monk. As you can see, we rarely stray far from home – an example for Dominic Cummings!
What are you most looking forward to doing in Norwich now lockdown is easing? What did you miss most?
Having friends over! We are not social butterflies, and lockdown was probably easier for us than most. But now that we can slowly start mixing in our bubbles, we look forward to having friends over.
Any lockdown tips/recommendations for our readers?
It seems like we start every conversation with “have you seen”! We’ve been watching ‘Little America’ – a gentle reminder to Trump of what makes America great. We’ve also been watching The Morning Show, Good Girls, Briarpatch and Dead To Me. And Anything Ru Paul! As you can see, very varied genres.
And finally, what does ‘Norwich’ mean to you, or can you tell us your favourite memory of the city?
Norwich is ‘home’. A place we feel welcome and can relax. A place we’re part of. I learnt a lot in my first week in Norwich. I was in Tesco, stood in a long queue watching as the cashier was making conversation with the customer. They had even stopped scanning the items just to have a chat! Here I am, fresh from New York, tapping my feet impatiently, money in hand thinking “surely they know there is a queue!”. Looking back now, I think – what was I in such a hurry for? Now I’m the annoying person asking the cashier about their kids!