Memorable | One of the Best
Review by: Michael Stern
As the sun sets over Providence, Haven Brothers drives to the city center and plugs into a lamp post for electricity. No ordinary food truck, this is a real restaurant on wheels, featuring a half-dozen stools around a narrow counter at one end of the truck’s interior. Of course, many customers choose to order Murder Burgers and coffee milk directly from the sidewalk and eat their meals seated on the steps of City Hall. From dusk to dawn, there is always a handful of regulars, inside and out, who keep up a continuous conversation with each other, with new customers, or – if no one will listen – with the voices inside their own heads.
The menu includes sandwiches, including pretty good lobster rolls and steak and cheese sandwich on toast, but most orders are for hot dogs or hamburgers. The dogs are plump and pink, served in soft steamed buns, available with chili and all the usual condiments. The hamburgers are modest-size patties, available from plain to deluxe (lettuce, tomato, mayo, etc.) but devotees of great junk food will have nothing but the Haven Brothers Murder Burger, which is a double topped with every condiment in the house plus bacon and mushrooms. Side a Murder Burger with cheese-glopped French fries and you have a seriously satisfying sidewalk feast.
The most popular beverage at Haven Brothers is coffee milk – like chocolate milk, but flavored with coffee instead. Or you can get a freshly made frappe (the Rhode Island word for a milk shake). Because power from the lamp post into which the diner gets plugged is limited, cabinets are made with a battery-operated mixer!
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Late Night|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|
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What To Eat
Haven Brothers Recipes
What do you think of Haven Brothers?
One Response to “Haven Brothers”
September 13th, 2008
I heard about Haven Bros. diner when the truck made an appearance on the NBC Today Show in New York. It may have been the only “road trip” the diner has ever taken. I’m a big fan of hot dog joints, with some great hometown favorites in Connecticut, and will go out of my way when I have that particular “urge.”
My visit may have gotten off on the wrong foot, and may account for my “less than excited” opinion. On this occasion, I got my directions from a Google search, but they were wrong. Providence streets are not easy to navigate, especially at night, and we wound up in a great section for restaurants, their Little Italy. Once we made it through the winding streets, unmarked roads, missing road signs, etc., what we found was a large white catering type truck with “Haven Brothers” painted on the side, parked in a lot one block off the main drag, and not open. I have no idea what is was, or why it was there. Having taken an hour of our one night stay in town, and taken our grandkids away from the pool at the hotel, we made a quick stop at a pizza place for some takeout, and got back to the hotel about 9 pm. Talking to the waitress at the poolside bar, I found out where the “real” truck was parked, and about 11:30 pm decided to check it out. As luck would have it, it was two blocks from the pizza joint, and quite close to the Providence Civic Center, now known as the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Fired up again for hot dogs, I bought one each for me and my wife. I ordered a plain yellow mustard and relish for her, and I asked the waitress for what the locals like, expecting what some in town call the New York System. It came with brown mustard and I forget what else, recalling only that I wasn’t crazy about it, and it wasn’t chopped cucumber or coleslaw. The dogs are plump and good tasting, but nothing special in our opinions. They certainly are not worth what we went through, but not many dogs would be.
The atmosphere of course is unique, but also does not live up to any of the reviews I’ve read. It was very quiet at midnight, no “characters:” a single woman and one couple were ahead of me, nobody was sitting inside, and a couple of policemen arrived as I was leaving. I got a little nervous when they commented about the camera I was holding following a quick “photo op.” I was afraid I might get a ticket from the quick stop I made in the meter zone!
The bottom line is I need to visit again under different circumstances, though as it stands I don’t think my opinion will change much. I certainly will not go out of my way to go to Haven Brothers, but would not shy away from it either.