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PHOTO: OLNEYVILLE NEW YORK SYSTEM


one of the original thirteen colonies, and the land that was to become Providence was deeded to Williams by the Native American Narragansetts. He cofounded the first Baptist church in North America, and the Meeting House of the First Baptist Church in America still stands at 75 North Main Street, in the College Hill area near RISD. The Roger Williams National Memorial stands on four and a half acres on the city’s East Side between Canal and North Main Streets and affords a fine view of the state house. The green space of the national memorial, managed by the National Park Service, is often dotted with college students from the nearby schools, who lounge with books and sketchpads or brown bag lunches. And if it is lunchtime, you are likely to need a bite of something yourself, maybe something tasty and filling but not entirely healthy.


“New York System wieners,” a policeman tells you when you tap him for a suggestion. “Olneyville.” The officer is a man of few words, but these five, as cryptic as they sound at first, hold the answer to your stomach’s call. They look like hot dogs at first glance, but they are not. And don’t you dare call them that. They’re wieners, sausage-like, meat-filled casements cut at the ends to look squared— instead of tied—off. The professionals, those sturdy-handed food preparers who serve you at Olneyville, line a row of wiener-stuffed buns balanced on an arm—fingertips to elbow, or some- times even a bicep—and transform these barren sandwiches into some- thing heartier. Mustard, meat sauce, onions and celery salt make this local favorite messy, filling, and, if you go for this sort of thing, yummy. Immigrants to Providence are essential to the makeup of the city, particularly through culture and food. Federal Hill, just west of Interstate 95 and west of downtown, is a thriving Italian neighborhood rich with food and atmosphere. The area claims to be bigger than New York City’s Little Italy, and the main street, Atwells Avenue, bustles with visitors and locals alike. It’s a pretty place, with buildings from days gone by, and


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u Preparing New York System wieners—not hot dogs—requires real skill as well as good balance, but the results are most satisfying.


benches and planters line the side- walks. The smells of good cooking and coffee and baked goods fill the air. Stop in Scialo Brothers Bakery, owned and operated since 1916 by members of the Scialo family, and load up on Italian cookies and pastries. The Blue Grotto and Al Forno are just a couple of the long-standing favorite restaurants in the area.


On Federal Street you can find upscale dining or family friendly menus and prices, and even a couple of Chinese restaurants. Of particular note is another Providence specialty, the wood-grilled pizza.


This special pizza is made with dough that has been pressed thin, like a flatbread, and turned carefully over a wood fire on a grill. The toppings are


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