It may seem odd to feature a high street burger chain on this site but whisper the word ‘Wimpy’ and pang of nostalgia will be felt by a whole generation.
In 1954 the first Wimpy Bar opened in Coventry Street in London’s West End and launched a peculiarly British take on American fast food. Instead of quickly moving queues and paper wrappers they had uniformed waiters, burgers presented on china plates and proper metal cutlery. And nearly 60 years later nothing has changed.
At its peak in the early 1970s Wimpy had over 1000 restaurants in 23 countries but just a sad scattering now remain – and only 4 in London. A few years ago there was a half-hearted attempt at modernisation but to walk into the Clapham Junction Wimpy is to step into a 1970s time warp.
Rather like those weird fish that are occasionally found by scientists in sealed off underwater caves, Wimpy’s burgers seem to have evolved oblivious to the changes in the outside world. And those flat, slightly chewy burgers – along with sausages, baked potatoes and fried fish – are proudly advertised in brightly coloured photos on the plastic laminated menus.
On our visit the other customers, mainly elderly couples and odd looking families having a weekend lunch, seemed a world away from the Clapham stereotype of yummy mummys and just-out-of-uni rugby players. And people weren’t just having a quick bite but were happily chatting away to neighbouring tables and to the remarkably cheerful staff.
You’re not going to come here for the food but for an old school British diner experience in the heart of trendy Clapham Junction it can’t be beaten.
313 Lavender Hill, London SW11 1LN
Tel: 020 7924 1684
Nearest station : Clapham Junction
The antithesis of……..
Everyone’s favourite new burger chain. ‘Proper hamburgers’ are served simply and without embellishment – Wimpy’s ‘bender in a bun’ would stand out a mile on Byron’s fashionably pared-down menu. And it goes without saying they have a whole range of craft beers to wash it all down.