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A carvery is a restaurant where cooked meat is freshly sliced to order for customers, sometimes offering unlimited servings of side dishes such as potatoes & vegetables for a fixed price. The term is most commonly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, and Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia, but it is also found in the United States.
Carveries are often found in pubs and hotels, and are particularly commonly held at weekends, when they offer traditional Sunday roasts to a potentially large number of people. The meat is usually accompanied by a choice of potatoes (generally at least boiled, mashed and roasted) also stuffing followed by other vegetables (commonly including carrots, parsnips, peas and other traditional British vegetables), with gravy and a sauce considered a traditional accompaniment to the various meats (for example, mint sauce to accompany roast lamb, apple sauce to accompany roast pork and so on).
Carverys existed as early as 1956 in London, in two of Lyons Corner Houses. One of the restaurants, in each of the Strand and the Tottenham Court Road Lyons, was a carvery. They provided a three course meal with beverage, but all but the carvery items were served by a Nippy (waitress). Even the carvery table had an employee to help those having difficulty in the actual carving. The price at this time was five shillings.
In the 1970s and later, many more carverys appeared in London. One well known carvery was situated in the Regent Palace Hotel. The restaurant there was on the ground floor, the Art Deco ceiling of which has been reassembled in the new Air W1 building.
Carveries are also commonly offered by many local pubs.
Some restaurants in the US use the term or concept, and it is a staple at some buffets. Examples include:
- The House of Prime Rib, a prime rib carvery in San Francisco, California
- Lawry's may be described as a carvery (serving almost exclusively roast beef), and uses the term for one branch: Lawry's Carvery
- The Sign of the Beefcarver, a carvery chain in Michigan
Most California-style hofbrau restaurants may also be considered carveries.
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