The American chains infiltrating the UK

While the UK market often looks to the US for inspiration, outfits from across the pond see the potential to capture consumers over here.

26 July 2019
image credit: Sweet Chick

1. Sweet Chick

Founded in Brooklyn by restaurateur John Seymour in 2013 and backed by rapper Nas, Sweet Chick specialises in modern American comfort food. Biscuits and cornbread sit alongside catfish, short rib and braised octopus, served across five locations in New York and LA. 

The chicken-and-waffle restaurant is opening its first British location just behind Oxford Circus this autumn. Londoners will be introduced to its signature fried chicken, which is soaked overnight in a sweet tea brine, as well as Southern classics such as biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, and mac and cheese, alongside new specials inspired by GB.

“I can’t wait to bring the Sweet Chick community to the UK,” said Seymour.“The food scene is massive in London, but we hope we can offer something fresh with our take on Southern-inspired staples and the best fried chicken and waffles this side of the Atlantic.”

2. Eggslut

This is for foodies who love eggs on the reg, according to the outfit. The brand making its debut in Notting Hill in August, championing the use of the humble egg beyond breakfast –and it doesn’t want to stop at one site. Eggslut has hinted another outlet could follow in Shoreditch by the end of 2019, while Soho and Covent Garden are also on the radar, with the potential for 10 sites in the next five years.

Eggslut was founded in LA in 2011, with eggs (surprise, surprise) the hero ingredient on its menu, which is predominately focused on filled brioche buns. It has five sites in the US: four in California and one in Nevada.

Its signature is the Slut, made with potato puree and a coddled egg, which is poached in a glass jar and served with slices of baguette. The chain is also known for the Fairfax, a brioche bun crammed with scrambled eggs and cheese, and it segg salad, a brioche bun filled with hard-boiled eggs, chives, rocket and honey mustard aioli.

The menu in America also features a wagyu steak sandwich and a cheeseburger topped with egg.

3. Wahlburgers

The burger concept from the family of Mark Wahlberg recently opened in Covent Garden with beef patties made from a blend of brisket short rib and chuck steak, cooked medium rare.

The menu in the UK is 95% the same as in the US, though Brits have the added bonus of sweet potato fries and a couple of unique burger options: the Super Melt sandwich (a half-pound patty served on thick-cut white bread with cheese, bacon, onions, pickles and mustard sauce) and a plant-based burger made by Moving Mountains.

A more classic Wahlburgers offering is the Our Burger, available in a single, double or triple stack and accompanied by lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and a signature sauce made in-house.

Larger dishes include housemade chilli and smoked bacon mac ‘n’cheese made with penne.

Wahlburgers wants to open 15 restaurants in five years in London and the wider UK market,with Tottenham Court Road a potential target, along with Manchester and Liverpool.

4. The Halal Guys

Food Spark profiled the US sensation as they made their entry into Britain’s fast-casual food market back in March.

It seems there is no stopping the chain at one. Its next location in Earl’s Court is opening in August, and there are also plans to open sites in Leceistershire and Birmingham at the end of the year. The brand is targeting 20 outlet openings over the next five years.

The Halal Guys menu is short and sweet: punters choose from chicken, beef gyro, a combination of the two or falafel, served in either a sandwich or as part of a platter. This comes with a choice of toppings, as well as a hot sauce or a dairy-free white sauce.

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