Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Rhode Island Tradition

If you're ever in the vicinity of Lincoln, Rhode Island, take a few minutes to stop at Hartley's Original Pork Pies on Smithfield Avenue.  The shop may look small and unassuming, but I promise you won't be disappointed.  For over 110 years, they've been creating pork, beef, meat and potato, chicken and salmon pies in traditional British style and quite frankly, walking in feels a bit like a time warp.  The collection of articles on the walls, the wood panneling, everything looks exactly as it did when I was five years old picking up pies with my grandfather.  Heck, in the last 25 years, the price of pies has gone up about a dollar which in my opinion, makes them one of the best value foodie finds out there.

The pies themselves are thick-crusted, buttery and lightly crisp with hot, steamy centers.  they're inherently English in style and it's quite obvious that the recipe hasn't changed in over a century.  Each pie is a perfectly portioned, individual treat.   

There's a white board on the counter listing what types of pies they have that day, but get there early or call in your order ahead of time.  They go fast and if you haven't tried them before, I recommend getting a "sampler" of each flavor to figure out which is your favorite.  Personally, I prefer the meat and potato but the chicken is a close second.  Also, they only accept cash so make sure to stop at the ATM first.  The pies are available frozen, but I think fresh is the only way to go if you have the option.  When I drive down from New Hampshire, I pack a freezer bag with ice packs to ensure they make it home safely. 

If you want to eat your pie like a true Rhode Islander (which in my opinion is the only way), drench it in ketchup and dig in.  

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