Hungry customers queue up as YouTubers' new Merry Hill restaurant opens - but stars stay away
Dozens of people queued outside a new restaurant on Saturday, eager to be the first to enjoy the food at a business started by seven YouTubers.
Chicken and waffle fries were among the offerings at Sides, the latest restaurant to open its doors at Merry Hill shopping centre in Brierley Hill.
Sides is the latest in a chain created by The Sidemen, a YouTube group famed for online challenges and other content and boasting more than 130 million combined subscribers with millions more on other social media platforms.
The group, which consists of internet personalities KSI, Miniminter, Zerkaa, TBJZL, Behzinga, Vikkstar123, and W2S, opened their first restaurant in London, serving fried chicken, with burgers, tenders and wings on offer as well as plant-based alternatives and seven different sauces, including classic BBQ, chipotle and XIX buffalo.
The seven YouTubers were warned off attending the opening amid fears that up to 10,000 people could turn up. Dudley Council said the scale of the event meant it would not be safe with the group saying they'd been threatened with legal action if any of them made an appearance.
However, they recorded a message to fans saying saying "unfortunately" they couldn't attend, saying things "obviously got a bit too hot". They also asked fans to share videos and photos of them at the new Black Country restaurant.
The Merry Hill restaurant, which fits around 100 diners, is the first of a planned expansion across the country. Fans queued alongside curious parents and grandparents to get their teeth into the chicken, which is prepared Nashville-style.
Ben Tooth was first in the queue with his granddad John. The 21-year-old said he had been to the restaurant at Wembley Boxpark in north London and was excited to be there to try the food nearer to home.
He said: "I've been a fan for a while, watching the different challenge videos, and when I tried the food at Wembley, I thought it was very good, so it's great to be here to get it a bit more locally.
"I don't know what I'm going to get yet, but I'm happy to take a look and see what there is."