Olneyville New York System: Hot Wieners Perfected to an Art and
Science in Providence, R.I.
A Rhode Island tradition: wieners, fries and coffee milk.
Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/16/16.
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Olneyville New York System in Providence, R.I., is on a
and we don't mean the hot dog kind.
The James Beard Foundation, a famous proponent of American food
cuisine, recently awarded Olneyville New York System for the 2014
America’s Classics Award. This award honors "regional establishments,
often family-owned, that are treasured for their quality food, local
character, and lasting appeal." The Food Network's Guy Fieri
also featured Olneyville's specialty dish on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
The Daily Meal included Olneyville New York Systems wieners in its
America’s 35 Best Hot Dogs article. Additionally, The Travel
Channel's Man Vs. Food, an American food reality TV series, also
spotlighted Olneyville in a segment where a local rugby player
participated in a hot wiener challenge. The Providence Phoenix has
called Olneyville "Providence's best wiener joint." Add visits from
celebrities ranging from Food Network star Adam Richman to New
England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and you have a restaurant
that is running full steam ahead.
The real story of Olneyville New York System, however, resides in its
delicious wieners, longevity and faithful customers. A fourth
generation family-owned and operated fast food restaurant, co-owner
Greg Stevens estimates up to 90 percent of his customers having dined
there before. Those customers especially love the "All the Way"
signature wiener with ground beef, yellow mustard, onions, celery salt,
special spices and soybean oil on a steamed bun. As part of the
tradition, a delicious coffee milk and tasty fries typically accompany
The restaurant has other delightful quirks, too. Never call a wiener a
hot dog here. The Olneyville version differs as it is a long rope with
a natural casing that is hand-cut daily, according to Stevens.
And using ketchup is strongly discouraged. In fact, you'll see a
sign that states, "It Has Been Said That When You Put Ketchup On A Hot
Wiener, It Is A Sin...Here It Is Against The Law!" And because grillers
have to make the food fast due to crowds and big take-out orders, they
have perfected an "up-the-arm" technique where they balance hot dogs on
their arms while adding toppings in rapid succession. General Manager
Jimmy Saccoccio, a 45-year employee of Olneyville and the nicest guy
you'll ever meet, has perfected the technique...
Olneyville is not just about wieners, however, as they offer many other
dishes including a rib eye sandwich, burgers, grilled cheese, fish and
chips, tuna melts and a Western. Let's just say, though, that it would
be a shame to travel any distance and not order an Olneyville New York
Open until 2 .m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends, customers often
pack the plain but pleasant diner-like restaurant with tile flooring,
counter, and booths with Formica tables in a working class neighborhood
setting that brings in all walks of life. The staff treats its business
as a lifestyle instead of just a place to work, and the customers have
appreciated that through the generations. As a result, Olneyville New
York System is truly an American success story.
In fact, Olneyville's origins date back to the 1920s when Nicholas
Stevens and father Anthony emigrated to the United States from Greece
and settled in Brooklyn, N.Y., where they operated a candy shop. In the
late 1930s, they moved their families to Rhode Island and opened a
small restaurant at 8 Olneyville Square and served hot wieners and a
small lunch menu. Then in 1953, they moved to its current Plainfield
St. location. In 1981, a second location opened at 1012 Reservoir Ave
in Cranston and then a third at 1744 Mineral Spring Avenue in
Providence. To this day, the Stevens family continues to operate the
restaurants. (pictured to the right: owners. Greg Stevens and Stephanie
If there was ever a wiener place that could be labeled "genius,"
Olneyville would be it. That genius comes from knowing a good thing
when they see it, and not straying too far from the original recipe and
overall business model. Sometimes, after all, the best things in life
come from no change at all. Long live this type of American dream!
Olneyville New York System
18 Plainfield Street
Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 2:00 am
Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 3:00 am
Sun: Noon – 2:00 am
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