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A diner to die for

You could argue for several things as the greatest contribution that the US has made to world culture. You could point to rock music. You could highlight personal computers or the internet (though not the world wide web). However I would like put in a vote for American food.

I pause here for foodies amongst you to pick yourselves up off the floor and suppress your hysterical laughter.

Okay, I accept there are some problems with this concept. Like cheese that bears more resemblance to plastic than a dairy product. And American chocolate. And we won't even contemplate much of their beer. Yet I can't help loving many aspects of American food. Pancakes with maple syrup and bacon for breakfast - come on! I prefer American pizzas to the Italian version. Tex Mex has largely been Europe's route into Mexican food. And, of course, the pinnacle of the American food pyramid is the hamburger.

We won't discuss the pros and cons of McDonalds - but T.G.I. Friday's has been doing a reasonable job of giving us a respectable American eating experience over here for a while now and I am fond of them. But T.G.I. has lost its crown now that Ed's Easy Diner has moved into town. I fear I am a little in love.

They seem to have got pretty well everything right. The atmosphere is great - very 1950s diner down to the table-top jukebox selectors and the option to sit at the counter. The food is good, and most importantly you can get the right things. Burgers, hot dogs and chicken with all the essential variants. (I personally recommend the chilli cheese burger). Not to mention the impressively huge milk shakes, malts and, yes, cola floats. The staff are excellent. And it only costs about twice as much as a McD's for a fun sit-down experience.

The newly opened Swindon Ed's is in our designer outlet centre and it's telling that when visiting at late night shopping hours in the lead up to Christmas, when most of the shops were dead (we spent about five minutes in Kurt Geiger and never saw a soul, including sales assistants), Ed's Diner was packed.

If you decide to find an Ed's (there are about 15 in the UK so far) I'd recommend visiting the website first and signing up for their 'Ed's Club' as you get some generous benefits. Apparently the brand has been going for 25 years, but this the first time I've come across it.

I'm sorry if this sounds like an advert - but if, like me, you are fond of American food, and find it hard to get a decent approximation in the UK, then try Ed's and you'll understand why I'm so enthusiastic. Woo and not a little hoo.


  1. One of my happiest dining experiences was in a diner in Florida. The waitress could have stepped from a movie - in her 50s, bleached blonde hair, striking make-up, a smart uniform. She was lovely. She noticed my English accent and incomprehension re: things like grits, biscuits in gravy, etc, so she sweetly and carefully explained the menu to me. The food was as good as the atmosphere and service. Perfect diner experience, really.

  2. I know what you mean, Sara - compare and contrast with the Wimpy Bar, which was the UK's early attempt...


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