James Beard Foundation: America’s Classics
February 28, 2014
We’re proud to announce that Olneyville New York System restaurant is a recipient of the James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award for 2014. You can read the whole article here, and here’s an excerpt from the award announcement:
"Olneyville New York System, despite its name, serves food that is distinctive to Rhode Island. Slathered with mustard, topped with meat sauce, sprinkled with celery salt and onions, and served in a steamed bun, the hot wiener is signature as are the salt and vinegar French fries. The preferred drink is coffee milk, made in Rhode Island by flavoring milk with a sweetened coffee concentrate called coffee syrup.
Olneyville has been a family affair since Anthony Stavrianakos, a Greek immigrant, opened the diner in 1946 with his son, Nicholas. (Nicholas later anglicized the family name to Stevens.) Nicholas’ son Peter took over from him. Peter’s son Greg started as a dishwasher at age thirteen. Now he and his sister Stephanie are fourth generation owners.
Olneyville was once the favored lunch spot of workers employed by local jewelry manufacturers. Now, nearly 70 years later, “the System” has become a multigenerational family spot, the late night haunt of college students, and the first stop from the airport for returning natives.