2012 Top 10 New York System Weiner Challenge

Rhode Island's Beloved NY System!

Let’s just proclaim, “No two wieners are the same” (insert joke here!), therefore, no two NY Systems are the same. The components must include a weiner, meat sauce, onions, mustard, celery salt and a bun. It’s the preparation and care of ingredients that create the real NY System. Last year I wrote that the one bite taste represents the sum of all components coming together, and I still believe that to be true this year.

Since all tastes vary from judge to judge, the best way to consider NY System excellence is to first consider the quality of the components:

The meat sauce might be the single greatest component that keeps customers returning day after day. Variations in recipes, spices, simmering time, consistency and heat can be most appealing for some, while others might favor the weiner quality, taste, snap and grill time above all.

Chopped onions are a tricky component because freshness is an absolute necessity. When onions are old, they turn yellow, taste bitter and smell overly strong. Old onions can overpower the taste and overshadow all the other ingredients. Fresh onions that are finely chopped allow for a balanced texture and a welcomed flavor enhancement.

Classic yellow mustard is generally expected on the NY System. Yellow mustard is the ugly stepchild in the mustard family lineage, and a shirt-stain at best. Spicy mustard considerably enhances the flavor; however, I do understand tradition and gladly accepted whichever mustard was used.

Buns should be freshly steamed, but some establishments lack a proper steamer and may resort to using a microwave, or some other method of non-moist bun warming. Personally, steaming buns makes the NY System experience a greater success. Microwaves heat unevenly and often harden bread ends. Traditional ovens dry out the buns and suggest a stale product.

Celery-salt is standard spice that is applied to the system as a final condiment. Depending upon where on the “arm” the NY System is being dressed, the final product might be over or under in the sodium department.

In the spirit of trying to maintain objective standards while judging wieners with mouthfuls of subjectivity, Fork in the Rhode’s RhodeCrew and forty-eight additional judges visited 50 restaurants statewide with judging sheets in hand.

The following are the 10 locations that maintained the highest overall scores in standard categories (Appearance, Steamed Bun, Weiner Texture, Meat Sauce, Onions, and Overall One-Bite taste):

In Alphabetic Order   

Restaurant Street City
Ben’s Chili Dogs 158 Broadway Newport
Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners 1141 Post Rd Warwick Warwick
Ferrucci’s Original New York System  1246 Main Street, Arctic West Warwick
Nick’s New York System 280 Cowessett Ave West Warwick
Olneyville N.Y. System 18 Plainfield Street Providence
Rod’s Grill  6 Washington Street Warren
Sam’s New York System 6 Freeborn Street /Sandy Lane Warwick
Santoro’s Pizza 687 Tiogue Ave Coventry
Timmy’s Restaurant 644 W Shore Rd Warwick
Wein-O-Rama 1009 Oaklawn Avenue Cranston

Feel free to sample and judge NY System Wieners in all of the following locations as we did. Again, we “double-dog-dare” you!

Restaurant Street City
Athens Pizza House 1 Austin Ave Greenville
Barbara’s Place 77 North Main St. Woonsocket
Bucci’s Café 37 Main Street Lincoln
Chepachet Deli 842 Putnam Pike Chepachet
Connie and Nikki’s 526 Pawtucket Ave. Pawtucket
Dot’s Dairy Bar & Grille 1476 Newport Ave Pawtucket
George’s Grill New York System 716 Reservoir Avenue Cranston
George’s Pizza ‘N Pub 60 Pascoag Main St Burrillville
Indigo Pizza Lounge 599 Tiogue Ave Coventry
Jesse’s N.Y. System 710 Main Street West Warwick
John’s New York System 827 Park Ave. Cranston
John’s New York Systems 326 Cranston Street Providence
Kingston Pizza 1283 Kingstown Road Peacedale
Kip’s Restaurant 826 Newport Ave Pawtucket
Liberty Lunch 732 Central Ave Pawtucket
Little Rhody Brand Frankfurts 5 Day Street Johnston
Lumber-Jacks-Pizza ‘n Wieners Main St. and Victory Hwy N. Smithfield
M & M New York System 361 Waterman Ave East Providence
Moonlight House of Weiners 32 Rathburn Street Woonsocket
New York Lunch 8 Main St Woonsocket
North Kingstown House of Pizza 6170 Post Rd N. Kingstown
Oak St. B&B 87 Oak Street Westerly
Oatley’s Family Restaurant 171 Ten Rod Road North Kingstown
Original New York System 424 Smith Street Providence
Papa John’s New York Systems 326 Cranston Street Providence
Peter’s Coney Island System 2298 West Shore Rd. Warwick
Plouffe’s Cup n Saucer 267 Main St Pawtucket
Poppy’s Family Restaurant 3344 Mendon Road Cumberland
Quick Rick’s 58 High St Wakefield
Right Spot Diner 200 South Bend St. Pawtucket
Riverside Kitchen 467 Willett Ave East Providence
Royal Lunch 1179 Westminster St Providence
Sam’s New York System 1031 Mineral Spring Ave N. Providence
Silver Lake Pizza 1146 Main Street Coventry
Snoopy’s Diner 4001 Quaker Lane N. Kingstown
Sparkys’ 548 Dexter St. Central Falls
Sparky’s Coney Island System 122 Taunton Avenue East Providence
Stykee’s New York System 1617 Elmwood Avenue Cranston
Taso’s N.Y. System 1500 Atwood Avenue Johnston
Weiner Genie 80 Higginson Avenue Lincoln

Note: On behalf of the RhodeCrew, we would like to offer our sincerest thanks to the volunteer judges who helped make the 2012 NY System Weiner Challenge a success!

Jack A, John A, Rich B, Mathew B, Richard B, Scott, F, Beth F, Jordan F, Ed M, Eddy M, Peter M,  Dave B, Jimmy B, Gary B, Mary B, Jim D, Rich E, Andy G, Chris D, Mark H, Johanna H, Don L, Tammy L, Julie M, Vinny L, Michelle M, Lou M, Lou M Jr., Erik, M, Mark O, Liz O, Vinny O, Todd O, Annie O, Amanda P, Jeni P, Krysten R, Justin R, Manny S, David T, Rob T, Bill G, Steven T.


2011 Top 10 New York System Weiner Challenge!

What is it about Rhode Island’s love affair with New York System Hot Weiners that keeps them in the spotlight year after year? Locals affectionately refer to them as  Hot Weenies, Belly Busters, Gaggers, Gaggas, Systems and my newly created favorite – “Colon Blowers.”

Wien-O-Rama - Cranston

One of the most comprehensive explanations regarding the history of the N.Y. System was from Christopher Martins “Whence Came The First New York System?”

Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners - Warwick

According to the article, the origins of the “New York System” can be traced back to Greek immigrants whose first experience in America was based largely in the Buroughs of NYC – namely Brooklyn’s Coney Island.

Sparkey's Coney Island System - East Providence

Although speculation surrounding the “Original”  N.Y. System/Coney Island location in Rhode Island will continue to be debated, the benefactors of this culinary pariah continue consuming them without a major concern.

Original New York System - Providence

Rod's Grill - Warren

The RhodeCrew (along with help from 30+ “N. Y. System loving”  judges with iron stomachs ) set out to find the best of the best “Hot Wiener in the Rhode” – ordered “all the way” (meat sauce, chopped onion, mustard and celery salt).

M & M New York System Restaurant - East Providence

The ForkintheRhode.com judges based their results on the following scoring categories: Appearance, Steamed Bun, Wiener Texture, Meat Sauce, Onions and Overall One-Bite Taste.

Lumber-Jacks-Pizza 'n Wieners - North Smithfield

Having sampled over 200 hot wieners from over 37 different locations statewide, we can honestly conclude that the  existing love affair may not merely be the System’s individual components, but the sum of its parts.

North Kingstown House of Pizza

The overall One-Bite Taste is where everything about the product works together for a very unique and addictive experience.

Olneyville New York System - Providence

We can tell you that many of these community based establishments have been around for years and their multi-generational customer base are fiercely loyal. The atmosphere in these restaurants is just as their customers have come to expect – familiar, uncomplicated and friendly. The menu prices affordable.

Ferrucci's Original New York System - West Warwick

The bar stool counters encourage talking to your neighbors, and are still as popular today as they were years ago.

Any good Rhode Islander knows how to order – “2 all-the-way with fries and a large coffee milk!” In that moment, life doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

In alphabetical order, here are the top 10 locations where the Hot Wieners were scored the highest:

  • Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners
  • Ferrucci’s Original New York System
  • Lumber-Jacks-Pizza ‘n Wieners
  • M & M New York System Restaurant
  • North Kingstown House of Pizza
  • Olneyville New York System
  • Original New York System
  • Rod’s Grill
  • Sparky’s Coney Island System
  • Wein-O-Rama

Feel free to sample and judge N.Y. Systems Wieners in the following locations as we did. We “double-dog-dare” you!

  • A&W Restaurant                                                              Greenville
  • Barbara’s Place                                                                 Woonsocket
  • Bucci’s                                                                                  Lincoln
  • Connie and Nikki’s Restaurant and Creamery     Pawtucket
  • Cosmic Steak, Pizza & Weiners                                   Warwick
  • Dot’s Dairy Bar & Grille                                                 Pawtucket
  • Ferrucci’s Original New York System                     West Warwick
  • Fidas Restaurant                                                              Providence
  • George’s Grill New York System                                Cranston
  • George’s Pizza ‘N Pub                                                      Burrillville
  • Harry’s New York System                                            Warwick
  • Hoxie New York System                                               Warwick
  • Jesse’s New York System II                                         West Warwick
  • John’s New York Systems                                             Providence
  • Kip’s Restaurant                                                                Pawtucket
  • Lumber-Jacks-Pizza ‘n Wieners                                  North Smithfield
  • M & M New York System Restaurant                       East Providence
  • Moonlight House of Weiners                                       Woonsocket
  • New York Lunch                                                               Woonsocket
  • Nick’s New York System                                                West Warwick
  • North Kingstown House of Pizza                                North Kingstown
  • Oatley’s Family Restaurant                                          North Kingstown
  • Olneyville N.Y. System                                                 Providence
  • Original New York System                                           Providence
  • Peter’s Coney Island                                                       Warwick
  • Plouffe’s Cup n Saucer                                                    Pawtucket
  • Right Spot Diner                                                               Pawtucket
  • Riverside Kitchen New York System                       East Providence
  • Rod’s Grill                                                                            Warren
  • Sam’s New York System                                                North Providence
  • Santoro’s Pizza                                                                   Coventry
  • Snoopy’s Diner                                                                   North Kingstown
  • Sparky’s Coney Island System                                    East Providence
  • Stykee’s                                                                                Warwick
  • Taso’s N.Y. System                                                          Johnston
  • Weiner Genie                                                                     Lincoln
  • Wein-O-Rama                                                                    Cranston

Note: On behalf of  the RhodeCrew, we would like to offer our sincerest thanks to the volunteer judges who helped make this N.Y. System Weiner Challenge a success!

  • Andy, Beth, Bill W, Chris F, Don L, Ed M, Eddy M, Erik M, Gary B, Jeannie M, Jerry D, Jimmy B, John A, Jack A, Jordan F, Krysten R, Lisa C, Lou M Jr & Sr, Mike D, Natalie F, Nick V, Claire P, Rae C, Rich B, Rich E, Richard C, Rob T, Roberta N, Rosie W, Ryan D, Tammy L, Tom M, Vin O, Vinny L, and YQ.

Los Andes

Dave’s Review

Peru may offer some of the most exciting cuisine in Latin America. The gastronomy claims its good fortune thanks to some significantly important factors: supportive climate conducive for flourishing vegetation, geographic location relative to the mountains and ocean, and the country’s willingness to meld contemporary cookery from a diverse immigrant influence of Spanish, African, Asian and European into their ancient Peruvian ones.

The staples of Peruvian and Bolivian (as well as much of South America) cuisine are corn, potatoes and beans. Although similar in staples, regional cuisine does vary from country to country and city to city because the preparation of ingredients, variations in spices, and cooking techniques are influenced by four continents of culture and 200 years of colonization.

La bienvenida a Los Andes Restaurante! Bolivian born, second-generation Brothers Cesin and Omar Curi are carrying on a family restaurant tradition in a delicious manner!

Ceviche! Cerviche! I liked it so intimately I had to write it twice. Los Andes packs a martini glass  with Tilapia, squid, shrimp, mussels in a citrus, cilantro, red onion, garlic marinade.  A fresh, flavorful and perfectly balanced appetizer well worth the trip alone.

On a more adventurous note, Cesin insisted we try a classic Peruvian and Bolivian street food – Anticucho de Corazon (small pieces of grilled skewered meat marinated in garlic, onion, cilantro chopped, vinegar, lemon juice – I believe) served over roasted potatoes with a creamy mint and goat cheese sauce. Classically, the meat is beef heart. In this case it was beef heart. Now before you fade away into obscurity, try to put this into perspective. The heart is a muscular organ that shares the  similar textures and mild taste of all the other muscles. If you think your beloved steak is not a muscle, think again.  Also, lets not be hypocritical regarding the foods we are willingly eat. For example, common hot dogs and/or lunch meat ingredients include meat by-products, fat, sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite. Beef heart ingredient; beef heart. By the way, the Anticucho de Corazon was terrific.

An additional standout appetizer was the homemade Saltenas (Bolivian chicken pie) made from a sweet corn pastry dough and stuffed with chicken, peas, olives and potatoes.  Served with spicy pico – jalapenos and garlic relish. This flawlessly prepared baked “pot pie” is exciting enough to make you forget that you just ate beef heart!

As if the appetizer courses were not enough, Cesin brought out a sampling of all four Bolivian soups on the menu: Fricasé – pork and hominy in a spicy broth, Sopa de Mani – peanut soup with beef, Locro – Chicken, rice, plantains and/or potatoes, and Chairo –beef and barley with vegetables.  Although the broth in all samples was one-note in flavor, they were all bountiful and had a good taste.

Of course there were entrees; the pieza de resistencia!  The Pique a lo macho – steak and chorizo with tomato, onion and pepper in a spicy wine sauce served over thick cut french fries. This hearty dish was quite good. Including sautéed tomato was an excellent way to help cut the heaviness of this dish. The sauce was a bit over-salted, especially in light of using chorizo.

Parillada a Los Andes – ‘grilled’ meats – rib eye, beef short rib, chicken thigh, sausage, served with yucca, cheesy rice and ensalada rusa (potato salad) – diced potatoes, vegetables (peas and carrots), and red onion. This dish was brought out with a side table and a portable burner to keep warm. I’d be willing to bet that this could have fed a family of four! The meats were simply grilled and perfectly spiced.

The Pescado a lo macho (fried tilapia, shrimp, squid, mussels and clams in a beer based broth with tomato and a side of rice) was a clear favorite. The fish was fresh and flawlessly prepared. Regardless of where you dine, the freshness of the fish and the attention paid to properly cooking it should never be compromised.

Los Andes is a winner because the quality of the fish was superb, the Curi’s hospitality was sincere, and the prices were enviable.

Chris’s Review

Quite often, the places you wouldn’t hang after dark have some of the most authentic and unique food.  When Rhode Crew founding member David e-mailed me of our next review spot, I thought this would be an opportunity to head to a part of Providence that I would not normally frequent and savor some of the local grub.

Bolivian and Peruvian restaurant, Los Andes on Chalkstone Ave. would provide me with a meal fit for a Bolivian King.   We didn’t pretend to know anything about the cuisine choosing to utilize the friendly and knowledgeable staff to educate us on the menu and the different offerings.

As an avid TV viewer of all things food, one of my favorite TV takes is Food Networks’ “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” It is a show that highlights certain celebrity chefs’ favorite bites across this great land.  I recently experienced one of those moments at Los Andes.  Repeat after me “salteñas”!! I know it sounds like a Spanish term for a soup cracker, but it is something special and Los Andes restaurant is the purveyor of these gems.  A salteña is a Bolivian version of a chicken pot pie, but with a twist.  The dough is a cross between a corn muffin and a pie crust resulting in a sweetness that is a wonderful contrast to the spicy chicken filling. They were the first thing we tried and for $2 it took all my power not to order 6 of them for my meal and nothing else.  They only thing that kept me from following through was my desire to try other ethnic dishes and the fact that we ordered a tremendous amount of food.

The next offering was a sampling of all of the soups that Los Andes offers. I would order each one of them, but for the sake of time and space I would recommend the Fricase.  This soup contains slow cooked pork butt in a spicy broth with hominy.  It was delicious.  I was not in a seafood mood initially, but the Ceviche’ Martini quickly changed my thought process.  An exotic combination of seafood, citrus and cilantro, this refreshing appetizer and traditional South American staple was well represented here.  Following my sudden change of heart and newfound seafood craving, the entrée that I enjoyed the most was a dish called “Pescado a lo macho”.  This was a potpourri of seafood including fried tilapia, squid, mussels, and clam in a spiced beer and tomato broth was outstanding.  All I can say is don’t be intimidated by the location.  Broaden your horizons and palate by venturing out to Los Andes.

903 Chalkstone Ave Providence RI 02908 (401) 649-4911