Arts & Culture

Burgers, fries and expanding waistlines at Haven Bros. Diner

The ‘Murder Burger,’ a patty with bacon and mushrooms, is among the specialties offered

By
Features Editor
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Haven Brothers Diner serves its finest fried selections from a revamped food truck, hailing its origins as a “lunch wagon.”

This article is part of the series Restaurant Week, Fall 2013

Haven Brothers Diner may not break the bank, but it could certainly break your belt.

While the famous institution serves an impressive variety of fried foods — from diner classics to gluttonous innovations — none of its entrees are for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.

Housed in an old-school food truck, the diner’s decor both reflects its historic roots and showcases its modern fame. On one side of the truck’s metallic interior is an informational page explaining Haven Bros’ founding as a “lunch wagon” in 1888. The other walls are littered with pictures of the diner on popular TV shows including Man vs. Food, the Today Show and Family Guy.

This smattering of pictures, the open kitchen space and a three-chair seating area create a unique ambiance that is at once alluring and uninviting. The service is friendly and quick, but with no real place to sit, it is impossible to enjoy the environment for longer than it takes to put the food in take-out boxes.

And though the truck exudes an aura of 1950s diner chic, the mood quickly fades when customers must exit the premises to sicken themselves with comfort food destined to cause discomfort.

Highlights of Haven Bros’ inexpensive but filling menu include the “Dirty Blonde,” a 9-inch sub filled with two chicken tenders, two mozzarella sticks, fries and cheese sauce; the “Mad Dog,” a hot dog with mustard, relish, onion, ketchup, chili, cheese and celery salt and the “Murder Burger,” a burger with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, bacon, grilled onions and grilled mushrooms. Burgers are available with single, double or triple meat patties, and daring diners may attempt the dish consumed by the host of Man vs. Food when he visited Haven Bros on the show — a triple “Murder Burger” with a fried egg on top.

But diners be warned — the excess grease on the mozzarella sticks and burgers weighed down already superfluously rich dishes.

Simpler diner fare also abounds with chicken tenders to rival Brown’s on-campus Friday favorite, though fans of crunchier coated pieces may be disappointed. The fries are soft and perfectly salted, pairing neatly with milkshakes that come in a variety of unique  flavors, including strawberry Oreo.

If you’re looking for a light meal, this isn’t your destination. But for the more health-conscious, the most nutritious option on the menu is a turkey sandwich with thickly cut meat that looks and tastes delicious, if a bit dry.

Haven Bros is open until 3 a.m. most nights and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It is inadvisable to eat Haven Bros’ greasy masterpieces for dinner without leaving at least a few hours for digestion. But the diner is a perfect destination for less-than-sober patrons seeking to satisfy late-night cravings after a downtown social event. The regret of a greasy late-night snack can be tempered with the satisfaction of having visited a historical monument in old Providence.

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