It was only a matter of time after Yancy’s closed its doors before someone would jump at the opportunity to grab up the massive space it occupied at the bottom of The Hudson. Already fit up for food service, it will soon be home to The Oxford, a restaurant more than a few miles from home.
G Patel, owner of Sono and Mura, will be opening this new restaurant, which he is calling a gastropub, that will serve high end Bristol pub food. We can only assume this is Bristol, England, and Patel’s new restaurant will feature upscale bangers and mash, lamb, ham and pea soup, Yorkshire pudding and hopefully a tasty Sunday roast.
With all the “Irish pubs” downtown, The Oxford will need to step it up a notch to authenticate the true meaning of a gastropub (most of which in England were actually converted from original pubs and not juke joints, and were half the size of the Yancy’s space). Many gastropubs also change their menu daily and have a chalkboard that crosses off entrees that have sold out (see Poole’s Downtown). Most are small, dark, intimate and have a line out the door… or they did in 2004 when the gastropub revolution was sweeping London and the surrounding countryside.
I used to sit at The Eagle every Saturday when I lived in London, reading The Guardian and waiting for the chalkboard to fill up with menu items. It was imperative to get there early before all the good entreés were snapped up. The owners of this gastropub were actually the ones who coined the term back in 1991. The food was excellent, the atmosphere was fabulous and the beer was top tier. The key, though, was that there was nothing pretentious about The Eagle or any of the other gastropubs in the area. This is where it all started, and now The Oxford attempts to follow in its huge footsteps (although The Eagle was only about 600 square feet and over 3,000 miles away).
We can only hope that The Oxford has success. One test will be whether or not fish and chips are served. Please say no.