Radio presenter Jeremy Vine certainly put his foot in it on a visit to Huddersfield.

Jeremy, in town for his Radio 2 discussion show on the EU referendum, tweeted about Huddersfield burger joint Wimpy.

The journalist spotted the Wimpy restaurant in Cloth Hall Street and was amazed at what he thought was a blast from the past.

Phil Barden, owner of Wimpy bar, Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield.
Phil Barden, owner of Wimpy bar, Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield.

He turned to Twitter to express his surprise and wrote: “Is it true that #Huddersfield has the last Wimpy Bar in the UK?”

Within minutes he was inundated with replies from around the country as, unbeknown to him, iconic brand Wimpy has no fewer than 80 restaurants across Britain.

To spare his blushes Jeremy then recorded a short video clip from St George’s Square and told his Twitter followers: “After 72 messages I accept that the Wimpy here in Huddersfield is not the last one in the country!”

Jeremy Vine broadcasts his BBC Radio 2 show from Cafe Society, Byram Street, Huddersfield.

Speaking to the Examiner later Jeremy said: “I can’t believe the response I got.

“There I was just jokingly tweeting about Wimpy then all of a sudden I got all these replies. Apparently there are 82 left in the country. There is even one in our producer’s hometown. I had no idea.”

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One of those to tweet the radio presenter was Wimpy’s boss Phil Barden who has just taken over the Huddersfield franchise.

The Huddersfield restaurant is 50 years old this year and Phil invited Jeremy round for a burger and a coffee.

Phil, 39, who also runs Herbert’s Bar and Northern Taps in Huddersfield, is a life-long Wimpy fan.

And just like American businessman Victor Kiam, who loved Remington shavers so much he bought the company, Phil snapped up his local Wimpy.

“People think Wimpy is American but it started in London in 1954 and it’s quintessentially British,” said Phil. “Wimpy had about 300 restaurants in its pomp.”

Phil Barden, owner of Wimpy bar, Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield.
Phil Barden, owner of Wimpy bar, Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield.

Phil celebrated lots of birthdays at Wimpy’s when he was about six, seven or eight. “We would play five-a-side football at the sports centre and then everyone would go back to Wimpy,” he said.

Phil said people often lumped Wimpy in with McDonald’s and Burger King but there was a big difference.

“Wimpy has proper crockery and knives and forks, full table service and Knickerbocker Glory served in a real glass. Everything is cooked fresh.

“We are slightly more expensive than McDonald’s but it’s only a couple of quid here and there.”

Phil hopes people will re-engage with Wimpy’s and added: “Many people say they used to love Wimpy’s but why have they stopped loving it? It’s just as good, if not better, than ever.”

Wimpy Factfile

The first Wimpy Bar opened in Lyon’s Corner House on Coventry Street, London, in 1954.

Wimpy launched in South Africa in 1967 and is now one of the largest quick service restaurants in the country.

By 1970 Wimpy had 1,000 restaurants in 23 countries.

In 1985 Wimpy was the first burger chain to offer a vegetable burger, the Spicy Beanburger, and in 1997 it became the first restaurant to offer Quorn on its menu.