Living outside America has opened me up to new experiences, new opportunities, new cultures and a broader point of view on life and highlights all the little details we take for granted. Living in England takes a long time to get used to as an American because, although we share the same language, culturally, we are very different and the differences are subtle so they’re sometimes unexpected and challenging to deal with. I talk a lot about this in Bringing Up Brits. I think when you are away from what you know and what you’re used to for so long, it’s the small things you miss, things you didn’t know you would miss until you do. I also find it incredibly interesting how British people view things that are American. It makes me laugh when even my 12 year old son tells me things about America that are from his point of view. It’s probably the same for him when I comment on something British or the way things are in Britain. Like customer service and customer experience and ‘it’s just how things are’.

So when an American themed restaurant invited me to come to their Brighton location and try out their establishment on Thanksgiving day, I couldn’t resist. I had never heard of them before and was intrigued. I’d been to a few other ‘American themed’ restaurants before in England and not been all that impressed and have never returned to them nor recommended them to other Americans (or anyone in fact). So I went with a suitable appetite and an open mind with 3 expectant children in tow, plus a very hungry husband and was surprisingly impressed. The menu had American drinks including homemade lemonade (although it was a shame they didn’t have any on the night so I couldn’t try it) and ice cream sodas plus milkshakes and tomato juice. One thing that I liked a lot was that our waitress offered us a jug of water without us having to ask her for it. She also brought glasses with ice and the jug of water had ice too. I was in heaven! Bit of an overstatement you might think but I always have to ask for water and most times waiters forget to bring it and when they do remember to bring it, it rarely comes with ice. Even the children were impressed by that and the fact they noticed it says something about the fantastic customer service and attention to detail. They also had a fabulous selection of appetizers which were called appetizers and not starters. I made a mental note that the next time I go there I’m getting the Loaded Nachos.

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Little touches like having American mustard and Tabasco sauce at the table, Mini Oreos with their coffee and Jelly Beans with the bill makes Coast To Coast stand apart from other American themed restaurants.

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They didn’t simply re-name their meals using American terminology (like fries) or with a suggestive name (like New York something) they actually made them American in the way they were presented and the style of the actual food. My veggie burger came with a pickle (and no, not Branston pickle) it was a burger pickle!! The other thing which impressed me was that the children’s meal portions were substantial – nearly as large as the adult meals. It meant my two older children could still order from the children’s menu and not feel hungry afterwards. Adult meal portions were just right. Big enough to be impressive but not too big that we had to ask for doggy bags. It’s those details that surprised and delighted me. Especially the mini Oreos and the jelly beans-absolute genius because they are something different and memorable.

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My daughter especially liked the sweet potato fries and the unusual ice cream flavors on offer such as banana and pecan, chocolate and honeycomb and blackberry cheesecake.

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They actually had a special Thanksgiving three course menu which I would have ordered if they’d included a vegetarian option. I did spot of few other customers ordering the Thanksgiving special…. I wonder if they were American too. Overall, it was a wonderful meal in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere with great food and excellent customer service. Price-wise, very good value for money – especially the children’s menu which includes dessert. Next year, if they add a vegetarian option to their Thanksgiving menu, we will definitely go again – it may even become one of our American/British family traditions (and we have to make up our own as we go, drawing from both cultures and both of our family histories to create something special for our cross-cultural children, which will eventually become a part of their history)! Yes, I’d say Coast To Coast is well worth a visit, not only for Americans in Britain, if you like good food, appreciate good customer service,¬†and attention to detail and want something a little bit different then give Coast To Coast a try. They have restaurants located all over the UK. Happy eating!