#41, Asheville, North Carolina
Planes, trains, and buses aren't known for their mouth-watering culinary offerings. If for any reason you need more evidence to brown bag it on your next trip, read this brilliantly bewildered missive to Virgin Airways, a complaint letter so detailed and full of suspense it is raised to the level of literature. Most of us, though, know from first-hand experience not to expect to be anything but jostled from a journey by plane, rail or bus. Finding food and fuel was foremost on my mind on that June day when I first stepped into the streets of Asheville. I was fresh from a four-hour drive in a cargo van. I had eaten nothing for days but trail mix and cheese grits. So when I noticed that a bright red British double decker bus had somehow made its way, intact, across the Atlantic and claimed to be serving food right there in Asheville, North Carolina, I had to suspend my disbelief and give it a closer look.
The Double Decker Coffee Company is exactly what it sounds like: a coffee shop housed inside a double decker bus. The bus, a Route 41 gone horribly astray in its journey from Trafalgar Square to Tottenham Hale Station, is now permanently parked at 41 Biltmore Avenue. You can climb on board any time the door's open and stay as long as you like. It won't take you anywhere near Trafalgar Square, but it will serve you a good strong cup of coffee and a slice of pumpkin bread. Downstairs, the interior has had a few alterations, but you may need to mind your head as you prop yourself up on a stool. It's fun to think of a permanently parked bus as architecture, even though it looks like it might yet break through the wrought iron fence and go galumphing off into that good night. Can buildings be buildings if they're also on wheels? This bus blurs the line, and unlike the red booths outside Telephone Bar & Grill in Manhattan, you can actually enjoy your bit of Brit kitsch from the inside. Brill.