Boston Restaurant Blog -- August, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
For those of you who have been to the beautiful FarmCoast section of Rhode Island, you're probably familiar with a decades-old roadside eatery on Route 77 in Tiverton called Evelyn's Drive-In. Well, after countless times driving past it (and wondering about the place each time), I was finally able to try it with a few others earlier this month, and looking back, I feel like kicking myself for never having stopped in earlier.
Evelyn's is located in a particularly gorgeous section of the FarmCoast region, tucked into a cozy area where low wooded hills meet Nanaquaket Pond (not the nearby Narragansett Bay, which it could easily be mistaken for). The restaurant looks more like a seafood shack than a drive-in, though it is a little of both (more on that in a bit), and it has both indoor and outdoor dining, with the outdoor seats having terrific views of the water. The patio (and windows inside) generally face westward, which makes this a great spot to catch a sunset. If you decide to dine indoors, options include both tables and counter seating.
As implied earlier, Evelyn's Drive-In seems like a mix of a drive-in and a seafood shack, and the menu certainly reflects this, with classic American dishes sharing space with local seafood favorites. We mixed it up, going with such items as calamari, chicken pot pie, fried clams, a chow mein sandwich, and crab cakes. Everything was outstanding, with the fried calamari being tender and coming with slightly hot banana peppers (the way it is traditionally done in Rhode Island), the chicken pot pie being overstuffed with meat and veggies, the fried clams coming deep-fried in a smooth batter, and the crab cakes being sweet and seasoned nicely. And then there was the chow mein sandwich; what, pray tell, is a chow mein sandwich? Well, it is another regional dish, with crispy noodles mixed with brown gravy and veggies, and placed in a hamburger bun, but it is not meant to be eaten like a sandwich because it is much too messy. The version we tried came with lean strips of beef, and while it was rather decadent and filling, it was absolutely marvelous and made me wonder why other parts of New England don't serve this dish. Service was friendly, prices were mostly reasonable, and the views--yes, the views need to be mentioned again--were unforgettable.
It's tough to consider a restaurant that has been featured on Guy Fieri's "Divers, Drive-Ins, and Dives" to be a hidden gem (although he has hit a few places we've featured), and this does seem to be quite a popular place--at least among locals--but whether it is an under-the-radar spot or not, Evelyn's is definitely something special, and one that is well worth the road trip from the Boston area, especially since there is so much to see in this little sliver of the state.
The address for Evelyn's is: Evelyn's Drive-In, 2335 Main Road (Route 77), Tiverton, RI, 02878.
Several of us returned to Evelyn's recently, ordering the calamari (a bit undercooked, and not quite as good as last time), the fried clam strips (very tasty, and not rubbery at all), fried whole-belly clams (outstanding once again), and crab cakes (also excellent once again). Even though it was a nice day out, the place wasn't very crowded--especially for a weekend at lunch--and service was excellent overall.
Posted on 7/22/14
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