Why are there so few English or British restaurants in the US?

So I’ve been reading around the web and saw a story about a new restaurant opening in NYC that is an offshoot of Hawksmoor. Then I remembered a scathing review of the last English import to NYC, Bluebird. There are not many English/British places I can think of anywhere. I was having a bit of a pointed discussion on the other board with an British person who made some silly comments about Britain being the birth place of a certain dish. But the influence of Britain on the dining scene in the US is minimal which I found curious. Obviously there are more Italian and Chinese places than you can likely count. One of each in probably in any decent size town. French bistros, Irish pubs galore, Japanese sushi is found even in grocery stores, Korean bbq, German beer gardens, Thai takeout seems to be everywhere, Jamaican jerk carts, Venezuelan arepa ladies, Polish perogies, Jewish delis, Mexican tacos, Spanish tapas, and so on.

There used to be a chippy that I would go to for room temperature beer and fried fish. But it’s gone. The international section of the grocery has some bottles of HP sauce, some oat biscuits and such.

From what I see there’s a paucity of English or British food choices. Even in New England. I wonder why given the history of the US. I spent time in London working early in my career. I love a bit of bubble and squeak to go with my roast along with a lovely Yorkshire pudding but it’s not like I could head out right now and find bubble and squeak or blood pudding or back bacon on any menu I know. Any theories on why? Along with overthrowing our colonial masters we tossed out the cuisine along with the tea?


yup. the early colonists were English.
English “cuisine” became the defacto “American cuisine”
Irish came later, Italian came later, ‘Asian’ came about the same time but stayed within the voluntary ‘Chinatown’ communities…

most of the stuff you can find here under a different name - but the selling of “blood pudding” more recent “rapeseed oil” not gonna’ fly on Madison Ave.

altho stuff with turnips and brussel sprouts and liver and . . . .
didn’t take off so much when wild turkey was on the menu.


Most of the successful modern British restaurants I think of are serving international cuisine using local produce, meat and seafood. So transplanting it here is not really feasible, nor are the essential concepts so different from our chefs.

Call it canola and it will take over everything.

Which is exactly what happened.

I think the lack of British food is mostlg that it’s not brought by a wave of inmigrants…like Italian, German, east Asian, or in my region Cuban and Puerto Rican…and that most immigrant Brits are not scraping to make a living while trying to integrate into a new and unfamiliar culture.


There was three British pumps while I was living in Santa Cruz.
Poet and the patriot. Maybe a little more Irish Guinness on tap . Nightly specials . Been at the location. Mid 70’s
Britannia Arms . Great fish and chips
The newest . Rosie Mc Canns . Real nice bar with English beers on tap and liquor. Also good food .

Of course there are no type of the restaurants where I am living now .

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There is a surprisingly large British expat community in my tiny town…enough that the British cobbler has a small shop with pasties and sausage rolls, and the butcher has managed source proper bacon and makes their own bangers. (They also make Boer sausages for the South African folks)


Canada could have had it all….American industry, British culture, and French cuisine. But instead they ended up with French industry, American culture and British cuisine. :smirk:


Not a bad thing in some cases. And jellied eel.



Love that. It’s like the joke about the difference between heaven and hell

Heaven - French chef, English maitre d’ and German waiters
Hell - English chef, French waiters and German maitre d’


There’s a large British community obviously in NYC. I work at a UK firm so know lots of brits. They always complain how they can’t get proper British meal. I remember when Myers of Keswick opened and how all my UK colleagues got very excited. There isn’t a large French immigrant community in NY but there are bistros in every neighborhood. How come there isn’t the same love for British food?

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That’s interesting. Most Brits I know don’t really want bangers. More likely chipolatas.

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this is my personal opinion and experience - which I’m sure I’ll get trashed for, but since you asked . . . .

worked for a number of multi-national companies and did 4-6 European business trips/year. Scandinavia to southern Italy. not permitted behind the then Iron Curtain.

three facilities in UK. I was on an expense account, had locals doing the meet-greet-eat routines . . . I tried, very hard, to be in and out of UK before I needed to have dinner. that was my experience, and I’m not a real picky eater. perhaps that explains a bit?

Try hard to answer this question.

I am by no means an authority on British food. We’ve spent a cumulative total of several years in Britain, and this 1995-2000. During that time, we tried a lot of local, regional food, mostly from the cultural interest point of view. In London, we ate very well at several French bistros. A handful of Italian restaurants. The occasional reliable fish and chips. And of course, pubs. Unfortunately, we didn’t patronize the top tier of British food at the time, which I’m sure would have been many cuts above, but not nationally representative. Our usual estimation was that it lacked basic seasoning and, yes, salt and pepper.

The same shop told me they’d never heard of chipolatas, so apparently theyve not been asked for them.

Brittannia Arms is still around and has expanded to the South Bay, though most of their menu is very American. We used to be able to walk to the one on Almaden Expressway in south San Jose. My South African wife loved their fish & chips, meat pies, bangers & mash, and sticky toffee pudding.

Sadly, the British pub in San Leandro closed not that long ago, before we got a chance to go, and is now a branch of Slice House.


We’ve traveled quite a bit because of my husband’s career. Heard bad stories about British food, but that was never our experience in the middle 90’s and further into the future. We spent a fair amount of time in the Netherlands for his work with NATO and lived there for several years. If you look up “lousy food” in a dictionary that would be Dutch.

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Review aside, did you ever look at the menu?

I have tried to muster enthusiasm many times, and yet… the only time I have “eaten” there is to have a cup of coffee and a pastry upfront.

There’s nothing exciting or even interesting. Just… blah.

There are pubs scattered around the city that have some British food.

I don’t think of much that I crave in British food in the way I might in other cuisines - shepherds pie maybe, and sticky toffee pudding. But I can get those. Even Yorkshire pudding, bubble and squeak, and fish & chips of course.

Off the top of my head Jones Wood Foundry, the Shakespeare, several places in the east village and the village.

I mean - really? This is a real question? :joy: :rofl:

The spice trade was a key reason for colonialism.- they went a-conquering here, there, and everywhere - for flavor :sweat_smile:

Chicken tikka masala counts as a national dish :joy:


They were daft and supercilious, and so I would never post this there, but you might find this interesting.

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