Tucked away in North Richland Hills, From Across the Pond is a piece of England – in Texas. A true pub inside, the walls are adorned with Arsenal memorabilia and Beatles posters, while tunes by Paul and Ringo play in the background.
Owner and general manager, Lee Herdman met with us to bring the art and necessity of British cuisine to life. The Brit has a keen familiarity with this food and an association with Sweeney Todd that marries the two perfectly.
Growing up in London on Abbey Road, yes, THE Abbey Road, Herdman started out as a football player and even had his hair cut on Fleet Street. After moving to the states, Herdman decided to bring the meals he loved as a child to his restaurant here in Texas. During our time together, he imagined just what British culture was like during Sweeney’s time and explained what it’s like today – covering topics all the way from Black Cabs to the newspaper industry. Take a glimpse at some of our interview:
C: “Can you describe to us what Fleet Street is like?”
H: “Fleet Street was the center of the newspaper industry and it probably was back during those times as well. News printing is dying, you know so much of it is produced offsite. So, when I was there it had become much more of a banking hub. I owned a finance brokerage near Rothschilds. We were with these kinds of hoity-toity people going out to expensive business lunches – so I’m sure it wasn’t like that back in those days.”
C: “Tell us a little about meat pies and their history.”
H: “If you look back at the why’s of pies – it’s cost. That’s what it comes down to. 90% of the food was cost-effective. [But] much of our food is about sustenance, so we have these things called Cornish Pasties, and they’re like a pie in an empanada form. They were made by miners. It was literally dinner in a handkerchief; they would wrap it in one and kind of put it in their pocket. It gave them their meat and protein and carbs from the pastry. That’s really what a lot of these things are – Scotch eggs are the same. There are things you didn’t need a knife and fork to eat. They are things to get you through the workday. They’re pies; they’re literally something you can take out and munch away.”
C: “What specifics of British cuisine did you decide to bring over to the states?”
H: “When we opened, we only introduced initially like four staples and it was fish & chips, which by the way we won an award for – “Best Fish and Chips in Texas”, Shepherd’s Pie which technically isn’t Shepherd’s pie because we use beef and it should be lamb, beef stew and bangers and mash, which is sausages and mashed potatoes. That was it. Then I decided to kind of delve back into my background and what I liked, and so that’s where the Bubble and Squeak came from. We do a huge amount of gluten free food. Our whole menu is gluten-free, [because] I have Celiac’s disease.”
C: “Any final words?”
H: “I have an affinity for people in this area. It’s not a restaurant – it’s much more than that. I’ve got kids working for me now that came in and dined here 10 years ago and told me they were going to work here. I would say Steak and Ale is definitely the most popular pie – and you can hide people easily in them!”
From Across the Pond is located at 8000 Bedford Euless Rd, N Richland Hills, TX 76180. There is even a new location coming soon! For more information, please visit: http://www.fromacrossthepondnrh.com.
Interested in cooking up a pie of your own? Check out these Mrs. Lovett approved recipes: