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Hancock’s American Restaurant and Bar

A fully immersive Stateside experience

Serving the all-American classics while giving back to disadvantaged children

Mary-Jo Devlin, interviewed by Zoe Schoon

You have a varied and (to my untrained eye!) very authentic American menu.  What are the main inspirations behind your menu?

America, by the very nature of it's people and their rich heritage, it offers a unique and diverse range of dishes not seen anywhere else in the world. Fajitas, gumbo, hotdogs and pizza, they are mainstays in the USA but they all originate from different countries. At Hancock’s that gives us a brilliant opportunity to explore and celebrate the rich culture of the American kitchen!


What is your favourite dish on the menu and why?

It’s got to be Hancock’s mac 'n' cheese; it's just like my Nan used to make! In fact, I hadn't eaten mac 'n' cheese in 5 years since my Nan passed away until I got to eat some of ours, and I just loved it!  It's always been one of my favourite dishes; simple, home cooked and delicious. Plus, we serve it with fries because I‘d hate for anyone to miss out on the chance to enjoy our fries!


Where did the original idea for Hancock’s come from?

Together with my Co-Directors, we operated a food franchise for many years and we were keen to establish our own brand. We researched the casual dining market and recognised that no-one was offering the eclectic mix of dishes that represents a true taste of America.

You currently have 3 restaurants in Surrey and Kent.  Any plans to expand elsewhere?

Absolutely! In the immediate term we will continue to focus on the South East of England, but we aim to expand further afield over the course of the next couple of years.


You are one of only 7 restaurants in the UK currently participating in the One Feeds Two campaign.  Can you explain what made Hancock’s join this movement and why it is important to you?

There are very many worthy causes which are supported by our colleagues in the industry, however as operators dealing with food, we feel One Feeds Two is the right choice for us. We are a family owned business in the fortunate position to give something back to some of the most disadvantaged children in the world, and we would encourage others to support them too.


I know you have only just started doing this, but do you know roughly how many free meals you have provided to disadvantaged children?

It’s certainly in the thousands, however to make a difference to just one child means the world to us.

What do customers tell you is their favourite thing about Hancocks?

Aside from the wide-ranging food and drinks menu (which includes over 50 cocktails), our customers love the friendly service, the relaxed atmosphere and the bright interiors. The fact that our app allows them to choose the music that plays while they dine is also a huge hit!


Which other current restaurant brand are you most excited about and why?

The brand I'd most love to come to the UK (but isn't currently here) is In N Out Burger. I wish they'd come over! I also find Greek food delicious, so I'm very interested to see if Sizzled, which has just opened at Bluewater, can expand.


How has the fast / casual dining revolution in the UK affected your business?

We're still a relatively young business catering for all age groups from the youngest to the young at heart. However, given our offering, the fact that millennials are now more inclined than their parents or grandparents to dine out regularly, is a huge plus for a brand like Hancock’s American Kitchen and Bar.