A fixture of East Greenwich’s Main Street since 1950, Jigger’s is a handsome vintage diner manufactured by the Worcester Dining Car Company. As roadside archeology, it is a treasure: gleaming blue enamel siding, a gently curving roof like a railroad dining car, chrome-banded counter stools and unupholstered wooden booths. It has had its ups and downs since Jane and I first wrote about it in a column for Gourmet magazine in the mid-1990s. At that time, it had been closed for a decade, finally reopened with brio in 1992 by Carol Shriner. But after Carol moved away eight years later, it went through a few owners and finally was padlocked once again in 2011. Diner lovers wept. Then, early the next year, it was brought back to life, this time as Jigger’s Hill and Harbour Diner (because it is in the Hill and Harbour district of East Greenwich). Today, it is back to being simply Jigger’s; and the menu is a roster of diner fare with a twist of style.
Several kinds of eggs Benedict are featured on the breakfast menu. Rhode Island native and Roadfood traveler extraordinaire Dale Fine (aka Wanderingjew) likes a frequent special that is a great pile-up of chili and cornbread with poached eggs and hollandaise on top. Of course, there are omelets galore and breakfast sandwiches, and this being Rhode Island, jonnycakes are a featured attraction (here listed as Johnny Cakes). They’re medium thick, made from stone-ground cornmeal, sold by twos or fours.
When we wrote about Jigger’s two decades ago, Carol Shriner shared her recipe for gingerbread pancakes; and they still are a featured attraction on the menu. In addition to the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger you might expect, Carol’s recipe features a full cup of coffee. They come topped with a dollop of butter-textured sweet cream and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
For those in search of an only-in-Rhode Island experience, the right thing to drink is coffee milk (the official state beverage), which is like chocolate milk (also available), but coffee flavored. And by the way, that category of beverages on the menu titled cabinets is what much of the rest of the world knows as milk shakes, made with ice cream, milk, and flavoring. Coffee cabinets are a local favorite.
We’ve always considered Jigger’s a breakfast place, but it has an extensive lunch menu of salads, sandwiches, wraps, grilled paninis, chili, chowder, and burgers. Gluten free rolls are available.