Met a talented young American couple at their cheerful sandwich shop in the London neighborhood of Mortlake yesterday. Val Miller grew up in Grinnell, Iowa, went to school at Central College in Pella, Iowa, fell in love with London during a semester abroad here (I did the same decades before.) While traveling around Europe, she met Alex Minor who grew up in Delaware, went to culinary school in San Francisco, worked in a restaurant in Italy. Three years ago, They opened their smart upscale shop called Pickle & Rye, serving large, well built, yummy sandwiches and are doing so well they are opening a second larger one nearby. The shop is decorated with U.S. tchotkes including mugs from Iowa and Des Moines on the tables. What a kick for Iowans in particular, and for my English friends who have visited us several times in Iowa. Did I mention the sandwiches are delicious? It is easy to see why they are doing well, given the quality of the food and their friendly Yank personalities. They are getting married soon in Grinnell and are determined to ride Ragbrai next summer, which I have been trying to convince my English friends to do for years. Word has it Richmond is home to the most Americans in London, but the customers I saw there were Brits.
On a crisp sunny day, we walked along narrow lanes lined with hearty flowers spilling over old brick walls to Barnes, which feels very much like a country village at times. we bought spelt flour, duck eggs, homemade hummus, crumpets and Florentines at the small outdoor Saturday market, then walked back up along the Thames to Mortlake Common where the local school was putting on a little fair. Then I feel asleep on a chair in my friends’ peaceful garden.
Later we went to an excellent Nepalese restaurant with an amusing name, The Greedy Buddha, in my old stomping ground of Fulham with my former neighbors from 34 years ago on Sullivan Road in Parsons Green, providing a little reminder of who I once was.
6 responses to “Iowa girl done good in London! Pickle & Rye American sandwich shop”
Betsy! Thank you so much for sharing this. You and your friends have such a good story, reminded us a lot of our story! Hope to see you again soon!
Tnx Val. Enjoyed meeting you! All the best from my latest location: gdansk, Betsy
This Grinnell native loved reading this story. Now live in London 50% (other half on Cape Cod) and I stumbled upon Pickle & Rye when visiting a friend in Sheen. Seeing the Iowa mugs struck up a conversation with Alex and soon the coincidence was revealed. But RAGBRAI did not come up! I rode it for several years when still living in Iowa so urge Alex and Val to do it! And yes, the sandwiches, and the soy lattes, and the wi-fi, are great.
Thanks for writing! Glad you enjoyEd and found Pickle & Rye!
Thanks for posting this story! I’m a current Grinnell resident, and it’s great to hear about Iowans doing cool things around the globe. Very nice travel blog you’ve got here too!
You’re welcome. Thanks for your kind words and for reading!