RI Diners: A Story Of Love, Home Fries, Coffee, And One Cranky Pants Dude

Back in the early 90's, I used to live on the hamburgers from this diner on the East Side of Providence. I think it was called Ruby's? It was on Thayer (Not at the commercial end; it was further down where it's more residential.). It's long gone now* though. I hear Brown bought the owner out and she moved to St. Louis or something. I also don't have any pictures to share because it was the days before smart phones and social media. (Raise your hand if you know what a 'zine is or if you know that there were at least three indie record stores on Thayer at that point.) The good news is that there are still plenty of amazing diners left in the OS. Did your fav make the list? Scroll on down to find out. 

  1. West Side Diner - Before Ogie's and Pizza J, there was the West Side Diner (Loie Fuller's too. but that's another post for another time. I will say I had a lovely brunch there a few Sunday's ago. Bonus points for the working fireplace in the dining room.) on Westminster, or what I like to call the Brooklyn of Rhode Island. When I took an informal poll among people I know recently, lots of them cited WSD. One of my 20-something friends even said she'd go there in sweatpants, which I assure she meant as a huge compliment. It's a popular spot for breakfast or lunch. A 50-ish guy I know said he gets lunch from WSD almost every day. (It's also his pick for top Rhody diner btw.)
  2. Jefferson Diner - I was just at the Jefferson yesterday morning. Besides the autographed pic of Sherman Hemsley on the wall (If you're over 40, you really should get the connection.), I have to give mad props to them for their coffee (Not weak and watered down, like the coffee I've tried at a few other places) and the home fries. True story: I've motored over to diners because they were supposed to have these amazing home fries, only to find undercooked (or burnt) and greasy ones. Not the case here! The staff at the Jefferson was also genuinely friendly and attentive. Before you leave, have someone take your picture in front of the mural on the side, so you can upload it to FB or Instagram. #instaworthy
  3. Jigger's - Another blink and you'll miss it sort of place on Main Street in EG that's been there forevs. Excellent omelettes and binge-worthy pancakes. In terms of atmosphere, think "Cheers", shades of everybody knows your name, only with coffee and water instead of beer. An EG'er I know recommends stopping by Raw Bob's post pancake binge for a juice and then, checking out the quirky Troll Shop nearby. 
  4. Pazi's - Retro 50's vibe, with antique model careers and black & white photos of stars of yesteryear everywhere. The food and service are top shelf. If you're in the mood for some classic American diner culture and you're sick and tired of all the chain restaurants on Pawtucket Ave, check it out. (I even wrote another blog about it last year. Click here to see it.)

Hall Of Fame

  • Modern Diner -  Unless you've been stranded with your friend Wilson on a desert island for the past year, you probably already know that their Custard French Toast was voted Best In America by The Food Network's "Top 5 Restaurants". One of many reasons to get yourself over there. Not to mention that it's pretty much set the standard by which all other RI diners are judged. 
  • Seaplane - That guy, the one who's a big fan of the West Side Diner, kept yelling "Seaplane! Seaplane! What about Seaplane!?!" at me during our chat, so I'm guessing I'd be remiss in not including it here. #hesalwaysyelling #insidejoke
  • Beacon - Back in the day I dated one of the cooks there. He was the Jax Taylor of his day (before reality shows like Vanderpump Rules and the Bravo network, probably when the real Jax was busy chugging juice boxes and watching Rugrats on Nickelodeon), but in all fairness, he made a mean omelette.

*I'd also like to add that I still have NOT gotten over the loss of The College Hill Bookstore on Thayer.

Ciao For Now,

Patty J


Photo Credits: Thumbnail photo courtesy of Getty Images; all others courtesy of the PattyJDotCom Instagram