As the sun sets over Providence, Haven Brothers drives to the city center and plugs into a lamp post for electricity. No ordinary food truck, this is a real restaurant on wheels, featuring a half-dozen stools around a narrow counter at one end of the truck’s interior. Of course, many customers choose to order Murder Burgers and coffee milk directly from the sidewalk and eat their meals seated on the steps of City Hall. From dusk to dawn, there is always a handful of regulars, inside and out, who keep up a continuous conversation with each other, with new customers, or – if no one will listen – with the voices inside their own heads.
The menu includes sandwiches, including pretty good lobster rolls and steak and cheese sandwich on toast, but most orders are for hot dogs or hamburgers. The dogs are plump and pink, served in soft steamed buns, available with chili and all the usual condiments. The hamburgers are modest-size patties, available from plain to deluxe (lettuce, tomato, mayo, etc.) but devotees of great junk food will have nothing but the Haven Brothers Murder Burger, which is a double topped with every condiment in the house plus bacon and mushrooms. Side a Murder Burger with cheese-glopped French fries and you have a seriously satisfying sidewalk feast.
The most popular beverage at Haven Brothers is coffee milk – like chocolate milk, but flavored with coffee instead. Or you can get a freshly made frappe (the Rhode Island word for a milk shake). Because power from the lamp post into which the diner gets plugged is limited, cabinets are made with a battery-operated mixer!