Rhode Island’s Best Diners

Thursday, April 18, 2013


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We, the Martinis, were recently commissioned to write a book about the history and evolution of Rhode Island food (available next Summer). As we began our research, we were reminded that the humble diner was “invented” here, which led us to thoughts of pancakes and waffles and other things “diner-esque.” So we’re sharing our top five diner picks this week…lucky you!

Modern Diner, Pawtucket

Grits. Just the word conjures up images of, oh, you know…grit. What’s to like about them, really? We’re thinking someone at the classic Rhode Island diner might have asked themselves the same question at one point. Our evidence is all the other tasty delights they add to their grits, such as lobster and bacon and jalapenos, oh my. And we figure any place that can get grits right will do okay at the rest of the stuff a diner should serve, too. We tasted to be sure, and yes, from challah French toast to the giant selection of omelets, the Modern is doing right by Rhode Island. 364 East Ave, 726-8390.

The Blue Plate Diner, Middletown

The unassuming name of this “finer diner” doesn’t let you in on how progressive they approach their food or just how darn good that food is. With a commitment to using local ingredients (from seafood to eggs) and a nod to the creative, the Blue Plate gets high marks for serving gourmet food at diner prices. And that list of food is endless…everything from gyros and souvlaki to Black Angus burgers and

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killer grilled cheese to good old omelets and fisherman platters, everything here is fresh, big, and delish. Okay, if we have to choose a favorite, we’re going with the New York Deli Reuben. Or the Classic Philly Cheesesteak. Or the burgers. The burgers are stellar. Or…. 665 West Main Rd, 848-9500, www.blueplatedinerri.com

Patriots Diner, Woonsocket

They proudly call themselves all American, and the image that conjures up is exactly what you get from this urban diner. Good food, good prices, no pretension, lots of timely coffee refills, and next-door-neighbor-type service. The menu is lengthy and has all the basics done well and always served hot and fresh. Go old school and order the sausage with gravy, biscuits and two eggs and homefries, keep it simple with some waffles or pancakes, or make your own omelet from a big ‘ol list of things to fill it with. At lunch time, the big burgers and long list of wraps will keep you getting bored for a long, long time, which is how long we’ll be coming here. 65 Founders Dr, 765-6900, www.patriotsdiner.com.

Cindy's Diner, North Scituate

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We first found Cindy's when we attended the Scituate Arts festival and were wandering around looking for some delicious, "stick to your ribs" kind of food. We generally trust busy diners and Cindy's fit the bill. Teems of locals were there, each, seemingly, knowing every staff member and the staff knowing just what everyone likes. It was a little later in the day so we opted for lunch items and our default choice was meatloaf. There is something about a good diner meatloaf and this was it. Flavorful beef and spices baked and then topped with brown gravy and served with mashed potatoes was just what the doctor ordered. Not too heavy, it warmed our bones after walking the festival. We finished with a piece of homemade pie that knocked our socks off. It was flaky and full of seasonal flavor. The scoop of vanilla didn't hurt too much either! 46 Hartford Ave. 934-2449, www.facebook.com/CindysDinerRI

The Sea Plane Diner, Providence

The Sea Plane holds a special place in our guy’s heart. In his college and club days he used to enjoy late night meals with his brother here. The brother has long since transplanted to California but the food at Sea Plane remains as consistent as ever. The late nights used to consist of an unplanned floor show by local drag queens and some of the best diner food he could recall. We visited recently and found the day time crowd a little less fun but incredibly friendly. We grabbed a booth and were treated some good, down-home cooking. We tried the french toast and found it to be well prepared and pretty delicious. An omelet brimmed with ham, spinach and cheddar cheese. Perfect. We also tried an apple crisp for dessert that was very well All in all it is a fun place to experience local comfort food at it's best. 307 Allens Ave. 941-9547.


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