Sunday, March 30, 2014

Documentary Celebrates Beloved Providence Food Truck

In July 2006, NPR reporter Debbie Elliott profiled a "Providence [Rhode Island] tradition since 1888" for All Things Considered.

This longest-lasting "original food truck", a.k.a. the The Havens Brothers Diner, will be getting a whole bunch more media attention once Haven Brothers: Legacy of the American Diner premieres later this year and starts making the rounds. It's set to debut locally June 7th at Columbus Theatre.


The documentary is the debut effort of Jeff Toste. He started out as a graphic artist, doing work that appeared in publications like Time and the London Times. From there, he moved on to a long and continuing career as a musician, scoring various TV commercials and films.

The documentary revisits the temporary moving of the Haven Brothers truck in the 1980s away from its customary parking spot next to Providence City Hall. It was part of a foolhardy effort by a local politician that has long since been eradicated.

The Haven Brothers operation is not quite the originator of the diner/food truck phenomenon. Per The American Diner Museum in nearby Lincoln, that honor belongs to another local individual:

The origins of the diner can be traced to Walter Scott, a part-time pressman and type compositor in Providence. Around 1858 when Scott was 17-years-old, he supplemented his income by selling sandwiches and coffee from a basket to newspaper night workers and patrons of men's club rooms.
By 1872 business became so lucrative that Scott quit his printing work and began to sell food at night from a horse-drawn covered express wagon parked outside the Providence Journal newspaper office. In doing so, Scott unknowingly inspired the birth of what would become one of America's most recognized icons - the diner.

[Have Brothers: Legacy of the American Diner]

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