Dining on two floors – British buses turned into restaurants and cafes in the United States

The red double-decker bus is one of England’s most iconic symbols. Routemaster double-decker buses have plied the streets of London for almost 50 years, and modern versions still roam London today. Other versions of the double-decker bus were also used in London and across the country.

Over the years, many former Routemasters and their descendants have made their way to the United States, where they have been turned into tour buses, decorative items for pubs, food trucks and cafes. This column highlights seven places in the United States where you can enjoy food and drink served on some of these authentic English double-decker buses.

The Savannah College of Art and Design bus when it was used to transport students (photo courtesy of SCAD)

Arts Cafe

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) campus in Savannah, Georgia, comprises nearly 70 buildings across the city, many in the beautiful downtown historic district. SCAD’s authentic double-decker bus originally plied the streets of London before the school bought it to transport students to campus.

Today the bus has been transformed into Art’s Café. You’ll find it in the old Scottish Rite building at 345 Bull Street in Madison Square. The first level of the bus serves as the kitchen at the cafe. You can enjoy your food and drinks in the seating area on the upper deck or at the tables on the floor in front of the bus. Art’s menu focuses on salads and paninis, take-out snacks, coffee drinks, and fruit smoothies. Cafe opening hours fluctuated during the pandemic, so check it out the website for the latest information.

Double decker bus Double Ds Coffee
The Double D bus is in a small yard in downtown Asheville, NC (photo courtesy of Warren LeMay via Wikimedia Commons)

Double D coffee and desserts

The Double D’s Coffee & Desserts double-decker bus has become a well-known landmark in Asheville, NC since it started serving its delicious treats in 1999. The Bristol Lodekka Bus from 1963 is permanently parked at 41 Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville. It is originally from Bristol, England where it was in service in the 60s and 70s. It was shipped to Georgia in the 1970s and then moved to Asheville, where it was made into Double D’s.

The menu includes organic coffee from the famous Notorious Coffee Roasting Company, as well as tea, smoothies and milkshakes. You can satisfy your sweet tooth with a range of freshly made muffins, cookies and brownies, as well as ice cream. The upper level of the bus can accommodate 25 passengers, although the seating area may be closed, depending on local COVID requirements. There are also tables in the small courtyard, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the bus while eating your treats. Double D’s is open year round, but hours vary depending on the season. Check their Facebook page for updates, and make sure you bring cash as they don’t accept debit or credit cards.

Double-decker expresso bus
Dustin and Angie Mori’s bus serves the Treasure Valley area in southwest Idaho (photo courtesy of Angie Mori)

Double decker espresso

Dustin and Angie Mori have never been to England, but they loved the idea of ​​opening a mobile cafe on an English double-decker bus. So in 2018, they bought a 1989 Leyland Olympian bus and had it shipped from England to the United States. He arrived in Idaho in September 2018, and the couple quickly got to work creating their mobile coffee bar. They did some of the work themselves and contracted a local company to design an electrical system that could provide enough juice to power their luxury espresso machine. The upper level seating area is furnished with some of the original seating from the bus.

The bus made its maiden exit at a local Christmas parade in December of that year, and has been operating in the Treasure Valley area of ​​southwestern Idaho ever since. The menu focuses on coffee drinks, as well as tea, smoothies, hot chocolate, and Italian cream sodas. The bus shows up at local businesses, community sites, festivals and events. The schedule varies considerably from week to week, so check their Facebook page for the latest information.

Angie and Dustin loved their double decker cafe so much that they bought a second bus, painted it a casual shade of green, and turned it into a Two-story hideout. The cozy retreat has a small kitchen, dining area, living room, master bedroom and bathroom. You can book it through Airbnb.

Customers eat on the Johnny Monarch double-decker bus
You’ll find Johnny Monarch’s double-decker bus in Marshall, Virginia (photo courtesy of Brian Lochorowic)

Johnny monarch

Many places in this article serve coffee and light fare, but Johnny Monarch’s in Marshall, VA has a full menu of fresh, hearty farm-to-table food. You will find deals such as marinated grilled chicken sandwiches, tomato pie, grated prime rib sandwiches, vegetarian meatball subs, meatloaf, veggie burgoo, Johnny cakes. and whoopie pies.

It’s all served from a 1962 British Leyland double-decker bus that owners Brian Lochorowic and Lorrie Addison bought in Krakow, Poland. Brian comes from a family of restaurateurs and his grandfather opened his first restaurant in Krakow. The bus was orange when it was on a long-haul service through England, but Brian and Lorrie repainted it in classic red.

You will find Johnny Monarch’s at 8374 W. Main Street in Marshall, about an hour from Washington, DC. It sits in a grassy square filled with tables for alfresco dining. The first floor of the bus serves as the kitchen and you can enjoy your food on the second floor (seats are allocated on a first come, first served basis) or at one of the outside tables, which accept dogs. It is generally open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner year round. To verify the website for the most recent information on opening hours and special events.

Junction cafe

Nick and Lori Bollinger started Junction Coffee on a British double-decker bus nicknamed Maebelle in 2015. The 1974 bus spent 20 years in service in England before arriving in the United States. It was owned by a series of collectors before Nick and Lori moved it. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and renovated it into a mobile coffee bar. The menu includes flavored coffee drinks with homemade syrups, tea, hot chocolate and an assortment of take-out. They also sell Maebelle t-shirts. The kitchen is on the ground floor of the bus and there is seating on the upper level.

Junction Coffee typically sets up at various locations around Oklahoma City Wednesday through Saturday. They are often parked near the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens on Saturdays. Maebelle also shows up at local community and charity events and can be booked for private events. Days and hours of operation have fluctuated since the start of the pandemic, so check their Facebook page for the latest schedule. The mobile shop is closed from mid-June to early September each year. Nick and Lori recently opened a second coffee bar called the Alley Shop, located in a century-old historic building at 611 N. Broadway in Oklahoma City.

English Double Decker Red Bus Cupcakes
Miss Kitty, the gorgeous English double-decker cupcake bus (photo courtesy of Jennifer Phillips)

Red Bus Cupcakes

Red Bus Cupcakes is the brainchild of extraordinary pastry chef and professional pastry chef Jennifer Phillips. The company is housed in an authentic 1981 Bristol double-decker bus which has been refurbished to serve as a traveling food bus. Phillips affectionately nicknamed the Miss Kitty bus and says it’s the only double-decker bus in the United States that specializes in cupcakes and ice cream. The company celebrated its first anniversary in June 2021.

The cheerful red bus adorned with a splash mural appears at special events, fairs and festivals in Northeast Texas. The menu features iconic Phillips cupcakes, offered in flavors such as red velvet, rich chocolate, Italian cream, salted caramel, cup of peanut butter, strawberry and lemon, as well as ice cream. and ice cream cups with cupcakes. There are also seasonal offerings such as the Cobbler and Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls. You can enjoy your treats in the air-conditioned lounge area on the upper deck of Miss Kitty. Follow Red Bus Cupcakes on Facebook Where Instagram for updates on where it will show up next.

Cafe TŌV

Cafe TŌV at 3207 SE Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon, serves Egyptian coffee and tea on a red double-decker English bus. Owner Joe Nazir describes it as the only Egyptian cafe on a double-decker bus, and it definitely stands out in Portland’s crowded cafe scene. Joe left Egypt for the United States at the age of 14 and moved to Portland after college. Before the TŌV bus arrived in Portland, it served as a tourist bus in San Diego, California.

TŌV serves Turkish coffee and tea, sahlep, karkadeh (hibiscus tea), espresso, cappuccino, and chai from the cafe bar on the lower level of the bus. The drinks are flavored with tasty homemade syrups. Guests are encouraged to linger over their drinks in the comfortable second-level seating area, which is adorned with furniture imported from Egypt. Unlike the other buses in this article, the upper level is open to the sky, but there is a canopy to protect customers from the elements. The TŌV is typically open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, but the hours have fluctuated during the pandemic, so Joe advises customers to check Yelp for their current hours.

Follow this bus

These seven double-decker buses are great places to dine in a setting with a unique British touch. Have you come across other two-story dining options in the United States? I encourage you to share your findings in the comments section so other Anglotopia readers can check them out as well.


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