American diners were a big deal back in my day.
The fun to be had by sitting in a bright-red Cadillac-shaped booth while having your burger and cream soda delivered by a waitress on roller skates was a thrill, even if the food wasn’t much cop.
Fast forward 30 years and restaurants based on the flamboyant tastes of our colonial cousins appear to have grown up like the rest of us. No longer do we have table-top juke boxes blaring out Doo-Wop classics, it’s all been traded in for Deep South barbecues and this “low and slow” attitude to cooking cuts of meat.
Smokehouse on Wood Street has been open since 2013, and with the help of a certain gluttonous TV show, has helped re-ignite the British people’s love affair with the State-side meat feasts.
Manager Mike Hewitt said: “It all started with Man Vs Food, the big burgers and steaks and that’s what got people interested again.”
But there’s nothing fast about this food, the ribs, brisket and pulled pork are each smoked for up to 10 hours a day.
The wood, including hickory, is ordered in specially to give it those authentic tastes and the meat is sourced from West Yorkshire. Many of the beers on offer are the latest in American craft brews, and the meat rubs and sauces are home made, even down to the ketchup.
“It’s time consuming, so you have to care about you’re doing,” added 28-year-old Mike.
“With a barbecue, it’s really easy to do, but it’s also really easy to mess it up, so we enjoy doing it properly.”
I’m thankful the star-spangled razzamatazz now goes into the food, rather than the decor at American eateries.