Tasting Americana in Paris
Who would travel all the way to Paris to eat American fare?! For expats, however, there are moments when a warm baguette and baked camembert just won’t cut it. The only solution is BBQ, STAT. Sourcing your favorite American food can be a game of trial and error. Despite advertising “American” cuisine, most places add a dose of (occasionally unwelcome) French flair. Here are some of my personal favorite spots to get my fix:
Kraft Hot Dog
If you call Paris home, you may have noticed the abomination that the French call a hot dog. Spoiler alert—that boiled meat stick stuffed in a baguette and covered in pre-baked cheese is not a hot dog. Situated in the heart of the Marais, Kraft serves up gourmet hot dogs—both the familiar classic hot dog and brand new topping combinations—with options for coleslaw or nachos sides at prices that won’t make you loose your lunch. Try their classic for 3.50 euros, the Avocado (guacamole, coleslaw, honey mustard) for 4.50 euros, or the rotating special for 5 euros. While Kraft hasn’t quite gotten the hang of an American bun, their dogs are good enough to make up for it. They even have Dr. Pepper and Budweiser for a taste of home.
Kraft Hot Dog 15 Rue des Archives, 75004 Paris
The Grilled Cheese Factory
As a picky eater, the grilled cheese was the old stand-by throughout my childhood. The Grilled Cheese Factory, a stone’s throw from Place de la Bastille, offers the traditional sandwich alongside creative variations such as the Veggie (mozzarella, peppers, tomato confit pesto), Mac & Cheese (Mac & Cheese, caramelized onions, cheddar, mozzarella), and Saumon (cream cheese, smoked salmon). You might not find tomato soup for handy dipping, but that’s never been my jam.
The Grilled Cheese Factory 9 Rue Jacques Cœur, 75004 Paris
Normally I wouldn’t trust a Parisian incarnation of American BBQ, but The Beast’s Thomas Abramowicz knows his stuff. After a year working his way through some of the best BBQ joints in Texas and training with a third-generation pit master in Taylor, Texas, The Beast was born. Specializing in central Texan style BBQ, the focus is on smoked beef with a salt and pepper dry rub, though you can also opt for chicken or pulled pork. Everything—from the sides to the bourbon and rye—builds a cohesive, authentic taste without the slightest hint of “Wild West” kitsch that other European restaurants often fall prey to when adapting BBQ recipes. My go-tos tend to be a plate of pulled pork, BBQ baked beans, grits, and their tangy BBQ sauce, bien sûr. You’ll leave full, and enveloped in the oaky smoke from the bundles of wood that feed The Beast’s smoker 24 hours a day.
The Beast 27 Rue Meslay, 75003 Paris
Bob’s Bake Shop
Marc Grossman’s (aka Bob) mission to bring American food staples like bagels, pies, and fresh, healthy juice has certainly succeeded. With Bob’s Juice Bar, Bob’s Food, Bob’s Kitchen, Bob’s Bakeshop, and a recent collaboration with Shakespeare & Co Café, there’s a bevy of options. However, Bob’s Bakeshop is my favorite—hands down. Tucked away on Esplanade Nathalie Sarraute in the 18th arrondissement, there are no tourists here. The atmosphere is bustling and reminiscent of a 1950s cafeteria, though the food options are modern, fresh, and mainly healthy. While their bagel sandwiches can feel pricey, the taste is unparalleled.
Bob’s Food Etc Halle Pajol, 12 Espl. Nathalie Sarraute, 75018 Paris
Despite being in the heart of Paris, a slice from Nick’s Pizza can transport you back to The Big Apple. While pizza isn’t strictly American food, I’ve discovered there’s a difference between the American and European approach that goes beyond whether you eat a slice with your hands or a knife and fork. The variety of toppings and prices are unbeatable by Parisian standards. Some of my favorite slices are the Chevre Miel, BBQ Chicken, and Mushroom Truffle, while the Pepperoni, Hawaiian, and Margherita are classic standbys. The atmosphere is friendly to both les français and anglophones alike but plan to take your pizza to go if you’re dining in a large group. If you’re passing by Grands Boulevards, sneak in for their combos—two slices of your choice, 2 garlic knots, and a bottomless soda for 7-9 euros, depending on which slices strike your fancy.
Nick’s Pizza 24 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris
Friendly American-Irish couple Amanda Bankert and Louis Scott have been baking fluffy handmade doughnuts in Paris since 2013. Their variety of flavors add depth to a traditionally simple confection—there’s more than colorful frosting and rainbow sprinkles here. With about 4-5 varieties on any given day, you could sample their pomegranate lime, salted caramel, peanut butter chocolate, beer, maple bacon, and more. If you’re thirsty, snag a cup of their filter coffee or tart, summery lemonade. While seating is limited, snag a stool at the counter where their friendly pup might keep you company, or opt to take your doughnut to go. Jardin du Palais Royal can be a nice alternative for a sunny day. Don’t forget your cash—though there are a number of ATMs within a five-minute walk.
Boneshaker Doughnuts, 77 Rue d’Aboukir, 75002 Paris
I don’t know about you, but I’m craving a doughnut right about now…on y va?