Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, but some proud locals (me) may argue that Rhode Island has the best food in the world. Here are ten odd cravings that Rhode Islanders, like myself, will always have a soft spot for in their heart (and stomach).

1. Coffee Milk

While some children grow up with the classic chocolate milk at school lunches, I had the privilege, along with other children in Rhode Island, to be provided with coffee milk in my young years of life. Coffee milk is a unique flavor of milk almost exclusively offered in Rhode Island, not to mention it is the official state drink.

This delicacy consists of regular milk mixed with sweet coffee syrup… kind of like the drink version of coffee ice cream, and it is to die for. To be completely honest I don't think I’ll ever be impressed with real coffee.

2. Dels Lemonade

Del's frozen lemonade is one of the first things that comes to mind when picturing Rhode Island cuisine. This Rhody classic is essentially a slushy, but at the same time SO much more.

Their slogan, “stop at the sign of the lemon” hits home for those of us who grew up biking the East Bay bike path. With the Dels shack as our final destination, that sign of the lemon was always the best sight after a few miles of biking in the summer heat.

Del's comes in several flavors including watermelon, blueberry, lemon, and peach-mango. And what’s a Del's without a big fat pretzel rod right in the middle?? For me, a medium watermelon/peach-mango mix with a pretzel rod is the last thing I had before leaving for college and it will certainly be the first thing I have when I get home. 

3. Hot Wieners All the Way

Rod’s Grill in Warren, RI, is the home to another classic Rhode Island meal. A true Rhode Islander will order “three all the way… and a coffee milk”. These “three all the way” are traditional New York System wieners that are made of veal and pork, placed in a steamed bun, and topped with meat sauce, onions, mustard, and celery salt. 

4. Al Forno

For the nights that you're feeling like spoiling yourself, Al Forno is certainly the go-to restaurant for amazing food. If you're looking for a classic meal I have to recommend the famous margarita pizza to start, all the ingredients are so fresh and delicious and it's the perfect starter to share.

shrimp, cheese, chicken, cream, pasta, sauce
Lucy Tortolani

The five cheese baked pasta as an entrée is a must, and always my go-to choice. Plus it makes fantastic leftovers. 

Finally the apple tart would be my recommended dessert. All of Al Forno's desserts are made to order so the apple is always fresh, and to be completely honest I don't know what they put in that cream sauce but it's addictive. 

Aside from this classic meal, if you want to sound like a true local, you should order their "Dirty Steak". This steak is not written on the official menu but is a secret entrée, and arguably the best kept secret in Providence. 

5. Clam Cakes and Clam Chowder… or basically anything from the Clam Shack

Are you even a real Rhode Islander if you’ve never been to a Clam Shack?? Clam cakes. Clam Chowdah. That’s all. 

6. Allie’s Donuts

Allie’s Donuts are hard to explain… they are simply the best donuts in the world. No exceptions. End of story. The frosting literally melts in your mouth, I can’t make it up. Not to mention how great their famous donut cakes are, often with intricate pictures and messages. 

7. Bakery Pizza Strips

Personally, I grew up feeding on the bakery strips from Vienna Bakery. It came as a huge shock to me when I reached college to learn that bakery pizza is not a widely known phenomenon. Bakery pizza is thick crusted, rectangular pizza with sauce, and minimal cheese, typically served cold. While this may sound unappetizing it is, in fact, WONDERFUL. 

8. Awful Awful

For those of you who are not familiar with Newport Creamery, an Awful Awful is your classic Rhode Island milkshake. No one is really quite sure what magical ingredient they put in these milkshakes, but they truly are one of a kind. Not to mention, Mondays in the summer are BOGO for Awful Awfuls, and it's extremely dangerous for addicts like me. 

9. Johnny Cakes

Most people have vaguely heard of johnny cakes in a song or a rhyme, but few have ever tried them. Johnny cakes are somewhat similar to pancakes, however, they are typically smaller, less sweet, and a bit more gooey.

Also, johnny cakes are not exclusively eaten for breakfast, as pancakes usually are, they can be eaten with various toppings, including oysters, as shown above. This may sound unappetizing but speaking from experience, they taste great, and after you’ve eaten them once, I can assure that you will crave them again. 

10. Stuffed Quahogs

Finally, stuffed quahogs, often referred to as stuffies, are VERY Rhode Island. They are made by baking quahogs with breadcrumbs, olive oil, and various herbs and spices in the shell of the quahog. There’s no better place to have a stuffie than in Rhode Island, as the quahog was most likely caught right in Narragansett Bay.

Now that you know all the best eats in Rhode Island you can determine if you are, in fact, a true Rhode Islander. Also, if you're not from Rhode Island now you know where to go, and what to get, when you visit.