One of my newest RI girlfriends, Angie, is a woman after my own heart- always on the lookout for some great food and adventure. When she heard on Food Network that one of the best diner dishes in America was within a half hour drive, we decided to turn a mundane Monday morning into an adventure and see for ourselves. We jumped into her car after sending the kids off to school and playing some tennis and headed to Modern Diner in Pawtucket, RI. The diner is located on a nondescript street in northern Rhode Island in one of only two “Sterling Streamliner” diner cars still in service. It was opened in 1940 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
We came at 10 am and were seated right away. We were told this is the ideal time to come as there may be waits on weekends or at normal meal times. Our waiter was very friendly, helpful and attentive.
There is ample parking on the side of the restaurant, which is where you are meant to enter from. Somehow we entered through the front door and missed the menu board. We were sat promptly in a booth and handed a laminated menu- a very ordinary diner menu.
The waiter then pointed out that the really exciting stuff, the kind of things the world has been talking about is on the menu cards hanging in the front hall.
This lobster and grits was not the item Food Network featured, but it was my favorite thing I ate. It was rich, buttery and spicy, with an ample amount of lobster. I brought some home to my husband and, even reheated, he said it was one of the best things he had ever eaten.
I am not a sausage fan, but this Linguiça hash seemed too unique to pass up. Linguiça is a smoke cured garlic and pork sausage. Rhode Island has a fairly large Portuguese population, so I have gotten to sample some pretty good Portuguese food and this did not disappoint, as it made for an extra-flavorful hash.
Last, we speak of the dish that has garnered all the attention- fried egg bread over a rum spiked custard with fresh fruit and glazed pecans. This was not your normal diner meal, although the retro packaging made it seem so and added to the charm. It was definitely an adventure worth driving for!
Be sure to check out A Local’s Guide to Rhode Island for more tips on eating and adventuring in my home state!