Papa Si – fast-food savior on family life, students and the ‘Sexy Deluxe Burger’

Meet Papa Si, he is curing hunger in Luff.

| UPDATED interview Papa Si

Simon Enver, more commonly known and loved as Papa Si, has been a big name on campus for eight years. A favourite with hungry, potentially/mostly drunken students alike, we at The Epinal thought it was high time we got to know the man behind the flaming onion.

Entering a fast-food establishment on a Sunday at 16:00pm you would expect little or no action but at Papa Si’s the food never stops flowing.

The man in action

We found Simon was more than happy to take some time out of his busy schedule to share his experience, over the counter, as the owner of the Papa Si’s shop and van.

The Epinal: Would you mind giving us a brief history of the Lufbra famous Papa Simon’s? Maybe the story behind the flaming onion sign?

Papa Si: [laughs] Well, eight years ago, someone else had this shop. It went up for an auction and a few people bidded. I had the largest bid and took over.

I had a successful year but unfortunately a fire started from next door which burnt the shop down to the ground.

Obviously I was devastated. They built a porta cabin that was standing here now as a temporary building.

Erm, unfortunately it got arsoned a couple of times hence why Ollie the Onion has three fingers sticking up. It should be a Phoenix, to be honest, rising from the ashes. So, I thought because it was the Purple Onion we’d use Ollie the Onion.

The flames and fire extinguisher are so you know we will always stand and always be here.

The flaming onion

We’ve heard you’re now a Papa, Si… How’s family life?

Brilliant. Brilliant. It makes me enjoy life more. I don’t like working the hours I do now as I don’t get to spend much time with the little one but, erm, being a dad really is a fantastic feeling. Like you said, Papa Si actually became Papa Si.

Does it make you think about when your son is a student?

[laughs] Oh yeah. He’s never coming to university. He’s never coming to university.

You guys are wild. I’d like him to come to university and I would like him to study. Maybe engineering, you know a good profession, nothing like media, drama or… something just to waste you parents money [laughs].

Papa Si, us and our free food

What is the most inventive way a student has tried to get free food?

A couple of people have come in and made a song. I have no idea what that song is today. I’ve forgotten.

Erm, there was a Chilli Challenge I was doing at one point.

You have to chew a scotch bonnet for thirty seconds without swallowing and after thirty seconds you can swallow it but for the next sixty seconds you can’t cry a tear or drink the can of pop I put in front of you.

[laughs] If they manage to last sixty seconds then they get any free meal that they want. Majority of the time they fail.

It’s surprising that I have more female winners than male winners.

Do you plan on doing any more challenges in the future?

Erm, I might do a Man vs Food with some crazy mega cheeseburgers at some point. I’m open to suggestions so if any of your readers have any ideas put them forward.

Funniest drunken situation you’ve witnessed at the shop?

There are so many.

Before they go out they are pretty decent but then eight out of ten people that come in here are pretty wasted.

It’s like trying to find a shiny penny. You don’t find many shiny pennies until they’ve come straight from the mint.

What do you think of Loughborough students?

Brilliant, great banter, you get the odd knob now and then but apart from that the Loughborough students are pretty good students. The students are friendly, nice apart from always trying to get free food out of me. If you don’t try you don’t get, but that doesn’t mean try. [laughs]

Loughborough uni is coming under fire for binge drinking, even using breathalysers on club doors, and also antisocial behaviour… what are your views on this?

I think they should drink responsibly. This thing I keep seeing on facebook… this neck and nominate. I thought that was absolutely stupid. Go help some homeless person instead. Buy them a cheese burger from Papa Si’s.

I think there is a bit too much alcohol. Students come to university to get an education. Let your hair down, have fun, bit of banter, naked mile, naked 400, have a laugh but don’t take it too far.

I’ve actually seen people lying in bushes and I’ve come to work the next day and they’re still there in that flipping bush. Those kind of scenes are not good.

What rule would you instate on Loughborough students if you could?

What rule? [laughs] Only buy pizza’s from me.

Do you have a favourite hall?

No. No. All my halls are good, all my halls are loyal, every year a favourite hall changes because the students change. So, I literally love every hall on campus. Erm, Bill Mo I would say is my Papa Simon’s burger van’s favourite hall because they are its biggest supporter.

But, because I’m in the Village, next to the PO, in the centre, literally every hall is a part of me. Yeah, I love every hall on campus.

What is your favourite order from Papa Si’s? Are there any secret si’s recipes?

My favourite order is chicken strips and cheesy chips with chilli sauce and garlic mayo.

I do a “Sexy Deluxe Burger.”

That is a cheeseburger with two chicken strips, jalapenos, mozzarella cheese, sweetcorn, couple of peppers, bacon and then I mix it all up on the grill so it all melts together with the cheese. Stick that on the burger, stick the two strips on top of that, little bit of lettuce and garlic mayo. I like my garlic mayo. I’ve sold quite a few of them to a couple halls. As soon as they’ve seen me eat one they are like ‘Wow, what is that?’ and I’m like, ‘It’s the Sexy Deluxe.’

Last, but not least, if you could be a superhero or possess super powers what would you choose?

My power would be to read people’s minds. I’d like to know what people actually think instead of trying to make you happy or get something out of you. Yeah, that would be my super power.

After informing us of his favourite order we were lucky enough to have chicken strips and cheesy chips on the house.

Never turn down free food

Huge thanks to Simon for taking the time to answer our questions and for not letting us go home hungry.