Food ~Wieners

When we first moved to Providence and were learning about the state, one intriguing thing we heard was, Rhode Island hot dogs are not hot dogs, they're weiners. And they are unique.

For one thing, they're flat-ended, a result of being cut from a long (sometimes 30') sausage, rather than being twisted.

Also, they're made with pork and veal rather than beef. "All the way" means "with everything," and "everything" is mustard, meat sauce (recipes vary), onions, celery salt.

Restaurants compete not only over who is the best, but who is the original. And they argue over how to spell "wiener" (or "weiner"). Alternately, you can call them belly busters or gaggas ("gaggiz").

In some places, in some cases, wieners are prepared "upd'ahm," which is, the cook lines the buns up his forearm, then fills them with wieners, meat sauce, etc. According to a article, that can happen pretty fast, and upwards of 15 wieners at a time.

There is some debate as to who was the first, and the genesis of hot weiner restaurants in Rhode Island was traced in some detail by Edible Rhody's Christopher Martin back in 2007 (the pdf of the article is here, via Wikipedia).

The best wiener restaurant is a matter of such intense debate that Rhode Island Monthly, which does an annual Best Of list, has stopped including wieners as a category. 

It appears that loyalty is usually based on what you grew up with. Since Bear and I are newcomers, we can go unprejudiced by our childhoods,  try a few different ones, and pick our favorite.


  1. Here in the East Bay we always vote for Rod's Grill on Washington Street in Warren as the Best Wieners. It's traditional to have a glass of coffee milk with them. If you are ever in Warren, you should give Rod's a try. (Be sure to check out the very faded white sign on the corner of Washington and Main St - next to the bank - that marks the spot where George Washington attended a meeting at some point before the Revolutionary War).

  2. Pam, thanks for the tip! I'll definitely check out both the historic site and Rod's.


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