For a small place, Rhode Island is jam-packed with culinary traditions. Like the state itself, our signature foods are quirky, fun and sure to please.
One of the easiest ways to pinpoint a native Rhode Islander is to have them say this word: "quahog." A type of hard-shelled clam, the quahog is Rhode Island's unofficial mascot. Unlike our tight-jawed brethren to the north, who pronounce it "ko-hog," Rhode Islanders say "kwah-hog." No matter how you say it, quahogs are delicious in a variety of ways: shucked and served straight from the sea, added to red sauce and served over spaghetti, or chopped, mixed with stuffing and put back into the half shell — affectionately known as the "stuffie."
Providence is the birthplace of the diner, dating back to 1872. The most beloved of all local diners is Haven Brothers, a trailer on wheels that parks nightly next to Providence City Hall. From blue collars to bluebloods, everyone stops at Haven Brothers, which serves burgers and other treats from the grill until the wee small hours. Another local tradition is Olneyville New York System, which has been serving their signature wieners since the 1930s. Those in the know order them "all the way," which means slathered in onions, mustard, celery salt and their top secret spicy meat sauce.
How do you wash down these delicious delicacies? With one of two of Rhode Island's favorite beverages. Del's Lemonade is the taste of summer sunshine. Based on a classic Neapolitan recipe, the frozen, sweet/tart beverage features real hunks of lemon. Long before coffee became trendy, Rhode Islanders were crazy for coffee milk. In fact, it has been named the official state beverage of Rhode Island. Similar to chocolate milk, milk is mixed with a coffee-flavored syrup. There are two different types of coffee syrup — Autocrat and Eclipse. Both have die-hard devotees.