Rhode Island may be small, but it’s got a lot to give its visitors. From beautiful beachside sights to heart-stopping food, the state gives guests (and natives!) a run for their money.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best places in Rhode Island.
Flo’s Drive-In – Portsmouth, Rhode Island
If you’ve got a craving for clams, make a stop into Flo’s. Flo’s has been open and dishing up fried clams since 1936 when Flo Helger and her husband transferred a chicken coop from their farm to the beachfront. The coop-food stand was demolished in a hurricane in 1938, only to be moved, rebuilt and slightly expanded by Flo and her team. After two more devastating hurricanes, Flo sold her business to its current owner, Komes Rozes.
Rozes opened another location in Middletown, but the location at Island Beach Park in Portsmouth is the original. If you’re planning to stop by any of their stands, there are a few things you should know to order like a local:
Definitely order the “stuffies” – quahog clams baked and stuffed with spicy seafood stuffing. And you can’t go to Flo’s without ordering their famous crab cakes. Since opening the doors in 1936, Flo’s has served over 40 million crab cakes. Grab an order and walk around the neighborhood! They’re perfect for sharing.
Olneyville New York System – Providence and Cranston, Rhode Island
If you’re looking for a hot dog, you’ll have to look elsewhere. When visiting Rhode Island, you can’t leave without having a “hot wiener” and there’s nowhere better to grab one than Olneyville New York System. Opened in the late 1930s by a Greek immigrant father-son duo, Anthony and Nicholas Stevens began serving “hot wieners” and a few other lunch-worthy dishes. Still owned and operated by the Stevens family and now with two locations, Olneyville’s has become a Rhode Island “hot” spot.
Stop into Olneyville’s and order up a famous hot wiener and coffee milk. What sets the Olneyville wiener apart from others? The Olneyville’s steamed bun, fresh onions, and their famous “wiener sauce.” You’re in for a show: grill masters at Olneyville’s line up wieners on their arm and dress them in quick motions with their free hand. You’re sure to be mesmerized by their speedy craftsmanship.
Newport Creamery – multiple locations
Chances are, you won’t have to drive far to find a Newport Creamery location. The restaurant has a rich (and creamy!) history. Established in 1928 by Samuel Rector, a man in the milk trade, the business first began as a milk distribution company. In 1940, the family opened what they called a “milk bar,” serving modern-day milkshakes to the masses. Over the years, the business has grown and expanded, now serving customers in over 13 locations.
So what should you order when you visit one of Newport Creamery’s many locations? The Awful, Awful, of course! What’s an Awful, Awful? If you’re a milkshake lover, you’ll love the Awful. It’s an icy combination of whole milk, flavored syrup, and “secret” frozen milk. Order one in a traditional flavor like chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, mint, coffee, or mocha; or try an Outrageous Awful Awful. With flavors like Cappuccino Crunch & Choc O' Nutter, you’re sure to be satisfied!
If you’re ever in the neighborhood of any of these local Rhode Island eateries, be sure to make a pit stop. Each offers its own unique fare to its customers and has established itself as a local tradition – all for good reason! These gems remind us that despite its small size, Rhode Island has big tastes to offer hungry visitors.