Greasy spoon

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Greasy spoon is a colloquial or slang term used in the British Isles and North America for small, especially cheap, archetypal working class restaurants or diners. The name "greasy spoon" is used to imply a less-than-rigorous approach to hygiene and dishwashing, and appears in use in the early 20th century.[1]


United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, greasy spoons are generally called cafes, which in the South is often colloquially referred to as a "caff". Not all cafés are greasy spoons, however. The typical greasy spoon serves mainly fried or grilled food, such as fried eggs, bacon, black pudding, bubble and squeak, burgers, sausages, mushrooms and chips. These are often accompanied by baked beans, cooked tomatoes, and fried bread. Hot and cold sandwiches are also often available, the bacon or sausage butty being particularly popular. The main drink in British greasy spoons is usually tea, especially Builders tea (a nickname for a mug of strong English/Irish breakfast tea or Yorkshire tea, usually served with milk and sugar and is typically robust and flavourful with a brisk character and a dark red colour). Often the only coffee available will be instant, though this has slowly changed with the proliferation of coffee drinking in the culture. British greasy spoons will sometimes also offer bread and butter pudding, apple crumble and rhubarb crumble.

The greasy spoon was also the mainstay of British truck drivers who travelled the major trunk roads such as the A1 and the A6 prior to the opening of the motorways. These cafes were not only stops where the driver could eat, but also made convenient meeting places where the trade unions could talk to their members.[2] In 2001, a story broke in the UK press about how the European Union were making an attempt to ban the greasy spoon cafes. This turned out to be a hoax based on an EU report about eating habits of long distance drivers and their health.[3]

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