By Jack Meyer | BSU at the Games
Jamie Berger stuck his head out of his metallic food truck parked on the South Bank of the Thames Sunday night, selling the last of his American-style barbecue to passing Olympic goers and London natives.
Berger is just one of a number of entrepreneurs cashing in on London’s desire for such fare, which Berger says has been growing in recent years.
“When we started there were really not very many at all,” Berger said. “There’s certainly been an interest in barbecue in places like New York and on the East Coast, so it’s kind of a natural progression for it to come over here.”
Berger, a Georgia-born American who has lived much of his life in London, started his business, Pit Cue Co., two years ago with a single food truck parked just a few minutes’ walk from the London Eye. Since then Berger has opened shop in a permanent space in London’s SoHo and plans to open a second, larger restaurant at the beginning of 2013.
Two Londoners sat between Berger’s truck and the Thames Sunday afternoon munching on some of the last of the day’s beef brisket, which is served the American way with sides of pickles and coleslaw.
“I’ve had it before, and it’s really good. Proper American barbecue,” said London native Niiamu Swaniker. “I’ve been to America a lot, so I’ve had it over there. It isn’t represented really well here, so it’s nice to find a place that does it really well.”
Berger said his business model doesn’t involve trying to make a direct copy of the pit-style fare that is well know, in the southern Unites States.
“We’re not trying to replicate any one regional kind of barbecue,” Berger said. “We’re seeking to take the best of American techniques and marry them to old rare-breed English pigs and cows to create something rather unique.”
Although Berger is selling barbecue in England’s capital, he said many of his customers are Americans who are familiar with his product but are often surprised to see it across the Atlantic.
“Often they are very surprised and somewhat incredulous,” Berger said. “They are also rather, ‘How can you have pulled pork over here?’ Then we kind of have to explain the story and then they try it and realize it’s very delicious.”