Ed’s Easy Diner is a small chain of classic American diners. It was founded in November 1987 in London by Barry Margolis. It was the first of its kind in the UK when the first Ed’s opened its doors in Soho.
Over the last couple of decades Ed’s Easy Diner has become a landmark and has been a location for films, television and photo shoots. It’s a must-visit eatery for tourists coming to London, but has equally managed to cultivate a loyal local following.
We visited the latest Ed’s which is conveniently located just outside Euston Station. It had only been opened a week but was already full with travellers and regulars. Its attractive and iconic interior is magnetic. It’s the most authentic American diner I have come across on this side of the pond. It encapsulates all that we think of as 1950s Americana: chrome, red vinyl, counter with high stools, and juke boxes.
The music was a big part of the experience. It’s well chosen and in keeping with the retro ambiance. I would suggest that even those who might not normally be drawn to that style of music will appreciate it in this environment. There are original table-top Seeburg 100 Wallamatic juke boxes dotted around for customers to browse and choose those long-loved favourites. OK, it’s true that some of the subject matter might seem less than jolly. Running Bear and Little White Dove (both dead in a river), Tell Laura I Love Her (dead in a car crash), He stopped Loving Her Today (dead in a box). Plenty of foot-tapping rock-and-roll tunes to keep you from the brink of suicide, though. All-American and designed to bring back memories for those of us of a certain age.
The kitchen is open, allowing guests sitting at the counter a view of food preparation and plating. Even the kitchen area has those authentic elements to waft you away to a little spot in California in simpler times. Quilted brushed steel panels, shake goblets and bottles of French’s mustard add to the impression.
I ordered a cheese burger. It just seemed right to have that most popular of diner fare. A bowl of wet fries kept me company while my beef patty was grilled. Ed offers a selection of fries from the classic and unadorned chips to those coated with chilli, cheese, bacon and cheese, and chilli and cheese. Atomic American Fries have jalapeño jelly, chilli, sour cream, cheddar cheese sauce and guacamole on the side but that’s a meal in its own right. The aforementioned wet fries are chunky chips with a brown gravy. Delicious when eaten piping hot.
The burger was made from 5oz of lean ground fully traceable, prime British Beef, each one grilled to order. Hamburgers are cooked medium or medium well. The management discourage well-cooked burgers as they feel it ruins the quality of the finished product. Mine was a succulent and flavourful burger and was a substantial meal. There is a good selection of burgers from the Classic garnished with griddled onions, the Original with lettuce and tomato, to the Big Bubba with added bacon and cheese.
My guest, a man who is a self-confessed hot dog aficionado, was tempted by a Chilli Dog. This is a large beef hot dog said to be made to a traditional American recipe. The dish starts as a sausage in a bun but then there is a liberal pouring of zesty chilli con carne. It’s a knife and fork job, unless you want it as a take-away to eat at home in the bath.
Save room for one of Ed’s celebrated shakes or malts. They are served in the aforementioned stainless steel mixer goblets. Each container holds two glasses-worth of thick, creamy drink. Ed’s Favourite Shakes flavours include Coffee, Butterscotch, Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Chocolate, Banana, Strawberry, Mint, Banana & Peanut Butter, Mint Chocolate, Coffee & Banana, Oreo Cookies, and Mocha (chocolate & coffee). The malts come in the same flavours so I ordered a chocolate malt …and two glasses. This is the real thing. If you have had an authentic malt in the US then try one at Ed’s. You won’t be disappointed. The manager told us that these are particularly favoured by kids, who are well catered for at Ed’s: they consider children as future tippers and want their continued patronage. They get their own Junior Bites menu and activity sheets.
Ed’s Easy Diner has charm and theatre. It’s a visual, audio and taste experience of first-rate casual dining. The staff are friendly and keen to please. You’ll go because you’ll be curious, but be prepared to become hooked. Great fun.
Ed’s at Euston Station
The Piazza between Pret and Caffe Nero.
Monday – Friday: 7am – 10.00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am – 10.00pm
Visit Ed’s Easy Diner here.
Ed’s Soho, 12 Moor Street, Old Compton Street, Soho, London, W1D 5NG
Tel: 020 7434 4439
Fax: 020 7494 0173
Ed’s Trocadero, Unit 34b London Trocadero, 19 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PA
Tel: 020 7287 1951
Fax: 020 7287 6998
Ed’s Bluewater, Unit SVU001, The Water Circus, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, Kent DA9 9SG
Tel: 01322 380 939
Fax: 01322 623 852
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018