Iconic former Buddies USA restaurant in Northampton town centre set to become "unique" chicken shop

"It's such a great building, we really wanted to do something with it"

Monday, 29th March 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Monday, 29th March 2021, 4:42 pm

The owners of the popular Smoke Pit restaurant are set to open a new chicken shop inside the currently empty and iconic former Buddies USA Diner in Northampton.

James and Matt Ingram, aged 40 and 38, are planning to open Mission Chicken in the the Dychurch Lane building, which was a Buddies for 40 years, dating back to 1981.

The brothers said they used to have meals at the old Buddies and now plan to do the building "justice".

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Buddies original restaurant has been a staple food destination in Northampton's Dychuch Lane for 39 years. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

James said: "It's such a great building, we really wanted to do something with it. When it came up for rent we jumped on it. We've not got the keys yet until the deal's done. Hopefully that will be sorted in the next couple of weeks and we will be in there chopping and changing, giving it a refurb.

"We had so many meals there, it's a shame it all finished. One of the biggest things for us is to do the building justice. It's been on the restaurant scene for 40 years and we want to keep it going.

"We're going to try to bring some of the original Buddies features and architecture into Mission Chicken's design and image."

The pair are aiming to open Mission Chicken around June 21 - when all lockdown restrictions are due to be lifted - which gives them "time to get it right".

A sketch of the inside of the old Buddies USA in Dychurch Lane

They explained where the idea for Mission Chicken came from, which will be "in between being a takeaway and restaurant", and how they plan to be "unique" in a competitive market.

James said: "The main reason behind this is because we've been looking to do a chicken shop for a while now.

"We want to be unique. Obviously it's tough competition but at the same time, Northampton is a massive town and there's lots of scope to try and please everyone.

"There's no menu yet but we're thinking chicken, chicken wings and rotisserie chicken. We sell chicken in both of our restaurants and we always liked the idea of rotisserie chicken. There's nowhere in town that does that at the moment.

Mission Chicken logo

"The university is also moving closer to the town centre and we feel there's good scope there for customers."

The brothers added that they can hopefully bring more jobs to the town centre.

One person wrote on the Smoke Pit's Facebook post about Mission Chicken: "Loved the original Buddies but good luck with the new venture!"

Another wrote: "New place on the 'must-go-after-lockdown' map."

Buddies USA - which had five restaurants across Northamptonshire as of November 2019 - has not reopened for business since the country went into national lockdown on March 23.