Athens Diner, North Providence, RI

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ray  We’re Back!!! After several weeks off, we finally go to go out and talk baseball, football, finances, as always what is now ailing on one of us. Mike won this weeks prize with the biggest pain in the car. As I was driving through East Providence this morning not remembering that this was not the best route to take to 195/95, I said to Mike that we have had a pretty long run of average or below average breakfasts of late. He warned me of the jinx. However, this was not one of those times. The Athens Diner, 1449 Mineral Springs Ave. North Providence, has the decorations and name not hiding that it was a Greek restaurant. Nicely laid out interior with a few counter spaces while all of the seats were booths. Our great waitress was quick to tell us that, “no we don’t serve Greek food for breakfast”. Damn, I was really looking forward to an international breakfast. I bet they serve some fantastic Greek dishes for lunch and dinner, have to try it sometime. Ok, start with the coffee, which I would describe as good, and above average. Worth the refill. I’ve started a very low carb diet so I only sampled the home fries. That one bite almost did me in. Beautiful crust and excellent flavor which had butter but something else I could not identify. A wonderfully fresh veggie omelet was prepared just the way I like it. Cooked veggies ( the small broccoli florets we actually crisp on one side ) and all of the vegetables were fresh, including the mushrooms which are the first thing I look at to see if they came from a can. It was a four egg omelet, which was beyond what I could eat even on a good day. Very good morning, Coffee, 7; home fries, 8; meal, 8; Overall, an 8. Check it out.

 

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mike  Ray and I don’t know who to thank but a huge shout-out to the person who recommended Athens Diner. Bravo! Ironically, on the ride to the restaurant we had discussed if this would be the next “wow” experience. It had been awhile, not since Our Place II earlier this year. And though Athens Diner didn’t quite make it to “wow” I was very glad we went. So. Easy to find. Lots of parking. Cool interior. Comfortable (and you never notice comfortable until you experience it) seating. Simple menu. Fun waitress. What a great start! The coffee was above average and served hot. Nice! I ordered the Irish Benny. Check out the picture of this meal! Huge portion of amazingly crisped homefries. Very nice! They had such a nice flavor no additional spices were needed. They were pretty awesome on their own. And hands down that crispness was the best! The benny was real good as well. Homemade hash, I believe, with a nice hollandaise and eggs properly (not overly) cooked. So good! This one is easy to rate. Coffee 7.5, homefries 8 and the meal 8 for an overall score of 7.7, or something close to that. It was such a nice meal and we had had another pleasant, great conversation ride to the dinner that I thought, too soon, it turned out, that we had made it through another meal without a “senior moment” from Ray. Alas. Right before we left he called the waitress over and asked, and I’m not making this up, “Do you know where I can buy grape leaves”. She and I exchanged that knowing look and I quickly ushered Ray out the door. I suppose that was a “wow” moment. Like, “Wow, Ray. Really?” Often, when I run into Barbara she just comes over, gives me a hug, and says, “Thank you” very quietly so no one else can hear. And I say, just as quietly, “You’re not paying me enough.”

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Rod’s, Warren, RI

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mike The breakfast boys went to Warren this morning. I like Warren. Memories of going to Jamiel’s or buying bait to go fishing come to mind. Weird combination of memories to be sure but there you are. Ended up at Rod’s on 6 Washington St which is a little side road off the main drag. It’s in a pretty cool little New England type of waterfront neighborhood. Nice. Rod’s is clean and bright and has a very open dining area with a 60’s chrome and black and white sort of thing going on. It doesn’t have a very big menu, which is fine. First off, LOVED the waitress and shame on us for not getting her name. She understood that someone Ray’s age isn’t “all there” and the two of us kept our comments about him to a minimum, though she did observe that Barbara must be an amazing, understanding woman. So, the coffee was pretty good. We both liked it. Not bitter and no aftertaste with a very strong flavor. I’ve use “bold” before, and that would apply here, but let’s go with “strong” to describe this in a good way. We were stoked! Anticipation rose when we were offered two types of homefries; spiced or deep fried. Well! Never had that option before! We each got a chourico omelet but selected different styles of homefries to try them out. Unfortunately, {and when we use that word you know what that means…something bad is coming}, the homefries, both kinds, AND the omelets, were disappointing. For lack of a better word the homefries were pedestrian. Whether from the griddle or fryer they were bland and tasteless…the “spice” did not come through and there was no crisp on either variety. Matter of fact, they were interchangeable. Chourico, at least in my book, is rarely bad, and this was pretty good chourico. Unfortunately, {ominous music chord}, the egg part of the omelet was overdone and despite having cheese added, dry. Chourico is not a juicy type of sausage so the whole effect was a let down. It was nice to have good coffee with which to wash it down. Bottom line about the breakfast was, “meh”. I will give the coffee a 7 1/2 but the homefries only get a 5 and the meal, overall, gets a 4 1/2. That comes to about 5 1/2. Though, if you throw in the waitress for consideration, I would add a whole lot of points to the review.

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ray  Talk of Red Sox home opener, the Masters, local politics, and the great banter that goes with a morning with Mike made for a terrific start. Mike’s choice was Rod’s in Warren. Right off of Main street this looks to be a local favorite. Counter with swivel stools, a nice roomy seating area and a very friendly waitress willing to give and take with great fun. Other than a sign indicating Home Made Chourico hash, there were no specials. Simple menu easy to make choices. Sometimes I like the simple menu rather than the 12 specials and 2 page breakfast menu. The waitress did offer us a choice of spiced home fries or deep fried so we each took a different one. Start with the coffee. Nice size cup, fit the hand very comfortably. To top it off, the coffee was quite good. We were offered refills a couple of times which is always welcome with the good coffee shops. Mike and I had the same breakfast, a rarity, the chourico omelet. This was chock full of chourico, although both Mike and I felt, since we are both Portagees  that it was actually linguica as there was very little in the way of spiciness to it. No complaint about the flavor. Now for the home fries. I had the deep fried. Totally flavorless even with salt. This was disappointing, and I am pretty sure Mike was equally unimpressed with his , but that is his story. So the breakfast itself was ok, but those home fries really brought the number down. Coffee, 7; Home fries, 3; meal 5. Overall, 5.