In November 2010, Narragansett welcomed its newest eatery to town — the Boon Street Diner, located at 148 Boon St., next to Steve Babcock’s Karate and directly across the street from the popular Boon Street Playground.
There’s something comforting, maybe even nostalgic, about visiting a local diner. Not only can you grab a great cup of coffee or dig into the fluffiest omelet you may have ever tasted, you can sneak into a little corner of the world that is welcoming and familiar — a temporary respite from life’s harried pace.
Scott Babcock, a fisherman in Galilee for over 30 years, was ready for a change of speed from the rigorous life of fishing but not quite sure what that change would be. When he heard that the owner of the building, his brother Steve Babcock of Babcock’s Karate, had space available, he seriously entertained the thought of opening a restaurant — someplace that served delicious, homemade food at prices families could afford.
He shared the idea with his daughter, Rebecca, and soon after everything started to come together.
With a plan laid out, Babcock took over the space that was previously Dad’s Place and opened the Boon Street Diner. Rebecca is managing it.
His vision for a great family restaurant with reasonable prices is the foundation of the business, but what many people may not know is that this is no ordinary diner — not only do they serve up tasty diner food like mouth-watering eggs benedict, bacon and home fries, because of Babcock’s fishing history they also offer fresh seafood entrees for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“When my father gets our fish and seafood, it’s fresh off the boat and many times filleted right on the dock while he waits,” Rebecca said, adding that they are quickly becoming known for not only their breakfast menu but their dinner specials. They offer fish and chips made with their light, crunchy batter, fried scallops and shrimp, and fish sandwiches.
Just as Boon Street Diner was beginning to be recognized as one of Narragansett’s new hidden gems, they were sidetracked by what could’ve been a real tragedy — a kitchen fire that started after hours in early April.
“The fire department responded quickly and put out the fire in a relatively short period of time," Rebecca said "Thankfully, there was no real structural damage. Smoke damage was the culprit."
Though the fire temporarily made it too hot to stay in the kitchen, it did not deter the Babcock’s from spending a month and a half, and a lot of elbow grease, in doing the necessary clean up so they could reopen in mid May.
The open and airy atmosphere of the diner makes for a very relaxed feel no matter where you sit and eat. You’ll find the walls painted in cheerful shades of deep yellow and a rich, striking red. There is interesting sports memorabilia displayed and also many ocean paintings and photographs that are showcased, including one of Babcock’s former 80+ foot fishing boat, The Rebecca Mary. Several hand painted nautical murals bring the tranquil beauty of the nearby ocean right into the restaurant.
The classic booths that line the many windows are not only comfy but perfect for families. There is also spacious counter seating available with a flat screen TV for catching the big game or for following the latest news. In addition there is a cozy nook with a large table that is a bit removed from the rest of the diner if you’re looking for a bit of privacy. Overall, there is comfortable seating for about 50 people.
So what else makes this diner so special to our seaside community?
The people who prepare the quality food as well as the friendly staff who serve it are a significant reason that their regulars are steadily increasing.
Scott and Rebecca both stressed how important good customer service is.
“We are really lucky to have such great employees that care about our business and customers as much as we do,” Rebecca said.
Their local customers agree and also appreciate the high quality of the food served.
Narragansett resident Greg Page said, “I had the best chicken BLT here. When I mentioned it to the owner, his response was, 'This is the food we eat.'"
If you’re a lover of all things breakfast on your plate regardless of the time of day, the Boon Street Diner has a wide variety to taunt your taste buds with, such as nine different two-egg combination plates, which include choices of sausage, bacon, steak, hash browns, home fries, and of course, toast.
Some of their most popular breakfast choices are their homemade fish cakes, huevos rancheros served on a tortilla with melted cheese, salsa and black beans, and a big favorite — omelets made any way you like. Also well-liked are the silver dollar pancakes and stuffed French toast.
Breakfast Chef Jimmy Paola has already made a name for himself with the regulars for his perfect omelets.
“We get a lot of orders for our veggie and other omelets," he said. "People seem really satisfied with the serving size that they’re getting for the price.”
He said that one of the best things about working at the diner is the people he works with.
“It’s family owned and very laid back. We have a lot of fun when we work.”
In agreement is Julio Oliva, the dinner chef at Boon Street.
“This place is a really nice environment to work in," he said.
Breakfast hours start at 6 a.m. and that is usually the busiest time of day for the restaurant, but they have a full lunch menu as well.
There are a variety of hearty sandwiches, such as the chicken parm, the tuna melt, and steak and cheese. Juicy burgers are also available, as well as a variety of hot dogs, salads, and homemade clam cakes and chowder.
Presently, dinner is served on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and for the summer, Sundays as well. There are new dinner specials every week and you can always order off the breakfast or lunch menu for dinner as well. Rebecca notes that you get a free cup of chowder with any entrée off the dinner menu (for dine in only).
Not to be forgotten is the scrumptious assortment of homemade muffins made daily by Babcock’s wife and Rebecca’s mother, Lois.
“We make all our muffins and pastry from scratch,” she shared as she brought a tray of warm banana streusel muffins to the front of the diner.
Babcock recently sold the Rebecca Mary but just can’t let go yet of owning his own fishing vessel and as of next week he’ll have picked up his new boat, a 50-footer named after his lovely wife, Lois Virginia.
“Once he gets back to fishing he’ll probably be catching our seafood himself,” Lois said, chuckling.
The diner is wi-fi accessible, has an ATM machine, accepts all credit cards except American Express, offers take-out and a special menu featuring Mickey Mouse cakes just for kids. It is also available for special occasions such as showers, rehearsal dinners, birthday celebrations and even custom catering. And don’t forget to bring your favorite bottle of wine or ice cold beer because this is also a B.Y.O.B. establishment.
A hearty breakfast never goes out of style and neither does top-notch quality food and services at reasonable prices. The next time you’re hankering for some good-old fashioned comfort food with a seaside twist, stop in at Boon Street Diner and enjoy some delicious, wholesome food in a relaxing space. Not only will you have an authentic diner experience, if you live here in Gansett it’s waiting for you in your own backyard!