My other half has fond memories of growing up around Edgbaston in the Eighties, frequenting TGI Friday’s more than is considered healthy.
A nostalgia trip every time we passed the place became a bit dull until one afternoon I stopped to see what all the fuss was about. Big mistake – as even he reluctantly admitted. It put me off American diners for years. Now, just about over it, we felt ready to dabble in the American arena again at the recently opened Coast 2 Coast.
The other half was so excited he seemed to be channelling Homer Simpson as we strolled down Broad Street ‘mmm…burger… mmm…ribs.’ The first thing that struck me was the staff all seemed delighted to be there. Everyone from barman to general manager said hello at some point. None was friendlier than our waiter Simon who was a joyful bundle of energy. The interior is what you’d expect – US memorabilia, leather booths, good lighting and lots of dark wood. Despite the enormous footprint of the restaurant, it filled up quickly and there was a real buzz about the place. Cocktails are a big deal here and the bar area is apparently packed with punters slurping at the weekend. I sipped a mocktail Scarlett O’Hara which was superb and he chose a refreshing Long Island Iced Tea. The lunch menu is reasonable at £10.95 for two courses and offers just enough choice. The main menu is more comprehensive and the junior menu is a kid’s dream. Simon recommended the chicken wings, and while we didn’t go with that suggestion we did take his advice on the starter – loaded potato skins with BBQ pulled pork and cheese. It proved a great choice. The combination of smoky, sweet, gooey-ness was comforting and delicious.
Predictably we both followed this with a burger – chicken for me, cheese for him. Both were great, as were the tasty fries and crunchy coleslaw. Simon had recommended a side of onion rings and suggested putting one inside the bun with the burger. This sounded a bit piggy to me, but when in Rome and all that. It was genius. We left the restaurant with a spring in our step, waving goodbye to all the staff as though they were our new friends! There’s such a feelgood vibe here that we’ll definitely be back – next time we’ll try those chicken wings, too.