Interview

A Beacon of Taste

Meet the men behind one of South County's favorite diners

Posted

How would you describe The Olde Lighthouse Diner?
It’s a quaint, casual establishment with a comfortable nautical feel. We have expanded breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, each with diner fare plus additional offerings you wouldn’t necessarily expect. We serve huge omelets and burgers but also lobster Benedict and sesame ahi tuna over rice and surrounded by Asian vegetables with sliced almonds, teriyaki glaze and a honey wasabi.

I hear you draw a crowd.

Our guests are very loyal and range from URI students, tourists and day-trippers to many long time residents from Narragansett and all over South County. More and more we are seeing people travel from all over just to eat here after having heard about us.

What makes the diner unique?
The relationships we have with our guests. We spend as much time as we can thanking them for choosing us, getting to know them and building a relationship with them. We feel it is important to put a face to the food coming out of the kitchen.

How long have you both been working in the kitchen?
We have a combined 40 years of experience in the restaurant business. We have worked together as a team for 18 years and started the Olde Lighthouse Diner almost three years ago. This long friendship and partnership between the two of us enables us to combine as one fine-tuned team, ensuring we always have the same goal in mind: using the best local high quality ingredients, prepared with love and served with pride.

Can you walk me through the process for creating a new menu item?
Everything is taken into account, from the texture, aroma, taste and presentation on the plate. Sometimes it means taking a classic dish and putting our own personal touch on it by changing a few key ingredients – a wine, different spices or even the method of cooking. When creating a signature dish, it will become a labor of love; our chefs and wait staff will sample new creations giving valuable input. Then when perfected, we let our guests enjoy.

What dish would you recommend everyone try?
For breakfast we would suggest our lobster Benedict (scrambled eggs instead of poached, infused with fresh basil, fresh lobster and mozzarella cheese, served on a toasted English muffin and topped with Hollandaise sauce). For lunch, our awesome Steak Bomb sandwich with sliced sirloin steak, caramelized onions, sauteĢed mushrooms, fire roasted red peppers, hot peppers, garlic and mozzarella cheese on a buttered toasted torpedo roll. Dinner is even tougher to choose, maybe our Black Jack Sirloin – choice sirloin pressed and seared with cracked black pepper then broiled to perfection, sliced on a bias and served on seasoned toasted Italian and topped with a Jack Daniels Bourbon demi glace with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and red Bermuda onion slices. For starters, we would definitely suggest our Rocky Point Style Clam Cakes or our award-winning Jumbo Stuffed Clams.

Any upcoming specials for fall?
We have a lot of new ideas for our autumn menu. To name a few: pumpkin pancakes with a sweet butter frosting, apple walnut stuffed pork roast, slow-cooked Yankee pot roast, meatloaf of course and absolutely the best Roast Turkey Dinner anywhere, or so we’ve been told.

What is the best thing about living and working in South County?
The people here are real, friendly and very community-oriented, which is exactly what we strive to be: A neighbor, not just a diner.

William Crossen owns the Olde Lighthouse Diner and Neil White is the head chef. 120 Knowlesway Extension, Narragansett. 284-3883.