Four new-found friends from the US came for the now world-famous Binley Mega Chippy experience – and left complete with the t-shirts.
Ryan Holder, 19, of Illinois, Chicago, Sebastian Hopper, 20, of Orlando, Florida, Taylee Norman, 19, of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Jay Allen, 20, of New York, made Coventry’s viral sensation their first port of call.
They queued for an hour, ordered the bulky portions at the counter and made sure they bought some memorabilia from a fast-food phenomenon that has amassed nearly 350 million views on TikTok alone.
The group, who are staying in Birmingham before moving on to London, all smiled as they experienced a quirk of British life, eating under a tree in a nearby grassy verge.
Suburban Chippy’s viral fame largely stems from an admiring video from a fan of the diner with a folksy jingle repeating his name that got its start on TikTok. Influencers, social media users, celebrities and fast-food fans descended on it from across the UK and abroad, with hundreds pouring into the fast-food mecca on Thursday night.
As the line snaked out of the parking lot, the foursome, who met on the Discord travel server, chatted and patiently awaited the defining moment of their journey across the Atlantic.
“We saw it on TikTok and just thought we had to come,” Ryan said.
“It was just the randomness of the videos and the dance moves and the fact that you can’t get something like that in America where they don’t have fish and chips. We just had to see it for ourselves.”
The friends arrive in the UK on Wednesday, spending two nights in Birmingham and two in London. Binley was the catalyst for the trip and their fan base reached to the point where they immediately donned the t-shirts after buying the souvenirs over the counter.
Taylee said: “We met on the Discord website and we all had plans to come to England anyway, so Binley Mega Chippy seemed like the perfect reason for the trip.
“When we saw it on TikTok, we loved the videos and it just all came together.”
Among the portion sizes at the fast-food mecca, the £4.99 Morbius meal is a standout, consisting of fish and chips, mushy peas and a can of pop. The brand combination was hotly sought after as Americans’ craze for the trendy Chippy arrived and showed no signs of slowing down.
Sebastian, who had a cheeseburger and fries, said: “We all enjoyed the food and the staff were very friendly despite having to serve so many people. It was fun to see how excited others were to play music and show up with nice cars and make videos.
“It was a fun experience for all of us.”
Since the video became trending last week, people from Australia, Portugal and France have flocked to the Binley Road corner stop.
On TikTok, videos titled Binley Mega Chippy have accumulated 348 million views to date. A user’s recording alone with the caption “best experience of my life” was viewed 562,000 times. Gordon Ramsay is among the celebrities who have appeared in front of the distinctive red and yellow facade to give his verdict on the fare, declaring it ‘delicious’.
Current management bought the unlikely tourist attraction last year, but it was founded more than a decade ago.
Owner Kamal Gandhi said he initially had no idea why it had become so popular as people flocked to it, including a group who had traveled in a minibus from Dundee.
But his team has risen to the challenge, ordering extra shipments of potatoes to ensure stocks last, with 10 staff visible behind the counter on Thursday.
Speaking to the Guardian, Kamal said: “We know it could fizzle out at any moment, but we hope it continues.”
Despite being credited as the main driver behind Chippy’s viral launch, the identity of the TikToker who posted the video from the binleymegachippyfan53 account remains a mystery.
He is only known as a 20-year-old student named Alex, who admitted to student newspaper The Tab that he never visited the object of his musical affection.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/04/friends-from-four-us-states-make-4000-mile-trip-to-binley-mega-chippy-16763274/ Four-state friends make a 4,000-mile trip to Binley Mega Chippy