BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
The chips are downtown
A Salt & Battery in New York
A cod chip shop
It might look like London. It might have the smell of a British chippie. But it's actually New York. If in doubt, you can tell by the prices, reports BBC News Online's David Schepp.

Should Britons travelling in New York get homesick, a dose of real fish and chips might be the solution they crave.

While fish and chips are not new to the American scene, the traditional fish-and-chips experience is. One new place in Manhattan's Greenwich Village is seeking to make the affair as authentic as possible.

For a start, here they are chips, not fries.

Non uniform chips
Model of diversity
The new chippie, called A Salt & Battery, is run by husband and wife expatriates Nicky Perry and Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett, who also run neighbouring Tea & Sympathy, a tea shop that serves traditional English gastronomic favourites such as shepherd's pie.

For New Yorkers, however, A Salt & Battery is about as close you can get to real fish and chips without hopping on a plane bound for Heathrow.

Growing trend

The couple have added to a trend that has seen English Harbour Fish & Chips open two locations in Manhattan. And in the outer borough of Brooklyn, a Chip Shop recently opened its doors.

At A Salt & Battery, like the other shops, New Yorkers face a perplexing array of foodstuff lingo never encountered before, including such items as chip butty, homemade mushy peas, potato dabs and battered beets - not to mention that Scottish delicacy, deep fried Mars bars.

Normally blasť Manhattanites may gasp at the prices, too. At A Salt & Battery, a serving of cod and chips will set you back more than $10 (£7.20). Add a dandelion & burdock, and you can kiss 10 quid goodbye! Thank goodness they take credit cards.

Wot, no Pukka pies?
For your hard-earned buck you'll get an ample-sized cut of cod, nicely fried in vegetable oil and served with enough chips to have halted the potato famine. And there's plenty of malt vinegar to authenticate your British experience.

Other authentic touches include the fish being wrapped in old copies of the Independent newspaper, and a staff replete with real (rather than Dick Van Dyke) Cockney accents.

British invasion

For many Americans, the closest they may have come to English-style fish and chips is through a now nearly defunct American fast-food chain called Arthur Treacher's, which has about 160 branches sprinkled across the US.

At Arthur Treacher's, the fish and chips are as unvarying as soldiers' uniforms and served in a decor more akin to a Wendy's hamburger shop than a true chippie.

Not at these new breed of fish and chip shops, however. The chips are cut with a genuine British potato chipper, which may result in some perplexed faces at least among Americans who are more accustomed to nearly identical, thin strips of potato with their meals.

Mr Blair eats paper-wrapped chips
They're just yesterday morning's headlines
Then there is the texture - mushy. English-style chips can be underwhelming to the American palette, with their greasy softness and nearly undercooked aftertaste.

Americans like their chips crisp, able to withstand being pushed into a pile of ketchup and then into one's mouth.

A Salt & Battery does have liquor licence so you can enjoy a Boddington's or a Newcastle Brown ale with your fish and chips. Alas, there's precious little space for one to sit. But then New Yorkers are well acquainted with standing.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

20 Jul 00 | UK
Has cod had its chips?
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories