When I moved to Rhode Island five years ago, I felt like a misplaced transplant from the Land of Diners. During my teenage years in northern New Jersey, my friends and I ended countless late nights at 24-hour diners. College in central Jersey meant more late nights and the occasional diner study session. These weren’t “new retro” chains like Denny’s Diners or Johnny Rockets, but family-owned restaurants, each with their own character.

The first Providence-area diner I discovered was the Modern Diner, which deserves a post of its own, but unfortunately isn’t open past 3pm. I still needed a place to share milkshakes with dates and fries with friends. Imagine my excitement when I found Stanley’s, a short drive away in Central Falls. While it’s not open 24 hours, you can grab dinner there until 9 or 10 (and I’m no longer a teenager, so this will suffice). Stanley’s is the real thing – unlike some of the new “retro” diner chains, it’s actually been around since 1932.

Burgers and Fries at Stanley’s
Chili fries and poutine (credit: Jeremy May) and the inside of a bacon burger

I first heard about Stanley’s when lapetiteamericaine told me they served an Americanized version of poutine. I tried these and their chili fries, which are excellent. They serve up the perfect diner-burger: flat, tender and topped with caramelized onions. Add a frothy milkshake and you have the classic diner experience.

If you’re a Stanley’s fan, I have great news – they’re busy constructing a second location in Providence’s Jewelry District. If we’re lucky, maybe it’ll have later hours to keep the area nightlife fed.

Map Marker 535 Dexter St., Central Falls, RI

4 thoughts on “Stanley’s”

  1. They’ve actually been constructing that Jewelry District Stanley’s for awhile now. I heard that work stopped because of a dispute with neighboring Jake’s (which shares a retaining wall with Stanley’s). Here’s hoping it gets resolved soon.

  2. It’s too bad you missed the halcyon days of the Silver Top. It was a real, authentic diner from the ’30s, open from midnight to dawn only. Terrific grilled cheese and home fries.

    Unfortunately the mall forced it out. Havens Bros. in Kennedy Plaza isn’t bad, though.

  3. Andrea: That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that! I wonder if they’ve ever opened a franchise before?

    Amy: I have heard a bit about the Silver Top and I’m sad I missed it. Believe it or not, I’ve only had a hot chocolate at Haven Brothers, though I’ve walked by many a time. I’ll have to stop in again!

  4. Cool, I’m glad you found Stanley’s, I’ve been meaning to post a bunch of my Stanley’s photos to flickr.

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