Andrew Brown has taken up residence in the Blue Bridge Centre Car Park. Twenty years ago he won the first ever Raymond Blanc Scholarship, the prize was three years intensive training at the famous Frenchman’s Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire. From there he and his wife Deborah moved into The County in Aycliffe Village where they set about turning the spit and sawdust pub into an award winning bar and restaurant. Local businessesman John Wade purchased the pub from them in 2004. Fancying his chances of repeating the success of the County in Darlington he opened Brown’s Cafe and Grill on Grange Road. Although gaining a fine reputation the restaurant was unable to compete with the multitude of cheaper Italian restaurants in the town and after only two years he closed the restaurant.
He confesses the experience knocked the stuffing out of him emotionally and cost him the family silver. “It took me the best part of three years to recover, sadly my mother became seriously ill and was struck down with cancer as all the troubles with the business were coming to a head. It was a very tough time and I found myself in a deep depression – I needed something to help me out the darkness I was trapped in”. “Working in a restaurant kitchen was never going to be for me again, but my passion was still cooking. So I bought an old London taxi, chopped the roof of fitted two huge ceramic smoking BBQ’s where the passengers once sat and created BBQCab. Its a great little business but I needed more. That’s how Andrew arrived in the Blue Bridge carpark.
In partnership with the Whole Hog he now has a fully equipped trailer kitchen from which he produces really good street food. It may look like a burger van and he does claim to be selling the Best Burger Ever but expect to find real BBQ pulled pork, barbecue short ribs, cajun chicken, chilli and of course proper chips, along with specials. Everything is fresh, simple and locally sourced. Andrew said: “By far the best part is connecting with my customers and what I am serving up has been well received. It’s very gratifying to have in only a short time built up a loyal following. It has been a long time coming, but my kitchen at the Blue Bridge has got me very excited! A facebook page is on its way and orders can be phoned through on 07709 919 242.”