To those who aren't aware, Londoners love Pret A Manger more than Americans love Starbucks. If you get the chance to go to London, you will find a bright red star located on every single street corner (no exaggeration). When walking around, I would see all these businessmen and locals with white bags with what appeared to be a bear on them. I was confused. I had never heard of Pret A Manger before, what they shorten and call "Pret", and I was instantly intrigued. Let me tell you, there is a reason the obsession runs deep within every Londoner of that beautiful city. If I had to describe Pret to any fellow American, I would describe it as "Panera meets Starbucks". It is affordable. It is fast. It is fresh. The first item I tried was a chocolate hazelnut croissant. Since then, my world has been rocked and I don't think any croissant I'll have in the states will ever compare from now on. As the first week continued, my friends and I found ourselves with very little time for lunch. We were forced to embrace the fast pace, "hustle and bustle" city life that makes London what it is. We would finish morning discussion and would need to be at our afternoon tour in an hour/sometimes less. Taking into account time on the tube, my friends and I finally came to terms with the reason for this delicious place on every street...it was just so convenient.
It would be embarrassing to say how many times I ate at Pret while abroad. Whether it was the croissants or the baguette sandwiches, every single time was better than the first. In a city with grocery stores of little variety and more pubs than one could name, it was refreshing to have fruit and fresh sandwiches every day. I even took my lunch on top of the London Eye. To say that I was "thriving" as I ate Pret and looked out onto the city that had slowly taken my heart would be an understatement. There are just some places and moments you have abroad that when you try to tell others about, it's just not the same as really being there.
As I sit here back in the states, with a craving for Pret once again, I am sad. It pains me to think about the fact that only New York, Chicago, Philly, Boston and D.C. get to experience this beauty. There are only a couple places in the entire United States. My question is why? Coming from a campus with a lack of food variety, I can't see why a Pret wouldn't do amazing on a college campus let alone more cities in America, especially the Midwest- why are we always excluded? It might take a while for me to get used to not taking the tube and being at a location in five to ten minutes, the city life, or the wonderful British history that surrounded me at every site; but I'll still miss you Pret. I'll come find you in Chicago at some point. Until then, I guess you're just a place that only people in London or who have been to London will be able to understand. I'll only be looking a little crazy back in the states now when I talk about you.