The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland.com, the travel site for New England.



Modern Diner in Pawtucket, R.I., Appeals to All Crowds

At first, I though the name the “Modern Diner” was just a ridiculously inaccurate moniker for this Pawtucket, R.I. dining spot.

The classic cable dining car seemed to have more to do with the remote past than recent times. How can you call something modern that dates back to the FDR days?

The history is certainly fascinating. This customized and factory built 1941 “streamliner” dining car was actually the first diner in the United States to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. Once called the Ocean State Diner, they also sued Disney and won after finding out they used the diner’s image, according to Roadside America. So, this was never a “Mickey Mouse” operation, as one can plainly see!

But I digress. After having eaten at the Modern Diner, however, I can now understand why the diner’s name is actually relevant. They appeal to the fickle hipster crowd as well as working class America with unusual dishes like lobster eggs Benedict, challah stuffed brie French toast, jalapeno bacon grits with eggs and custard French Toast and the typical like burgers, club sandwiches, and bacon and eggs. I saw some Johnson and Wales culinary school students (could tell from their loud conversation) seeming to enjoy the food just as much as some construction workers (could also tell from their loud conversation). That speaks volumes about the Modern Diner — a place that  knows it traditional roots and 21st century appeal.

The Modern Diner also has a newer dining area, but I like the old cable dining car best for the authentic diner feel. Also, it should be noted that the Modern Diner only accepts cash, not credit cards. That’s fine; maybe that’s why the prices are so low.

What did I have? A delicious tuna melt and it was good enough to warrant making the 20-mile trip back for more dining experiences at this old but very new diner.

Modern Diner is located at 364 East Ave. in Pawtucket, RI. Tel. (401) 726-8390

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