Every now and then, a restaurant is discovered that seems to be completely out of place with its surrounding environs. A good example of this is Rufful's Restaurant, a no-frills greasy-spoon diner that makes its home in the Wayland Square neighborhood of Providence, RI, which is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, if not the entire state. But there it sits, surrounded by high-end clothing and home goods stores that you might find in places such as West Hartford or Greenwich, CT, or perhaps Hingham or Wellesley, MA. Yet in a strange way, Rufful's seems to fit in quite well with the rest of the neighborhood, and indeed attracts a diverse group of people, from wealthy locals to college students to shoppers from out of the area.
Rufful's is a tiny place; it consists of one narrow room that has booths and tables along the left side and counter seating on the right side, with a few more booths in the front. It has the hustle-and-bustle feel of a true diner, with servers running around filling mugs of coffee and bringing plates of food to tables from the grill area in the back. Large groups may have difficulty finding a table to sit at together, but groups of 6 or less should have little problem sitting in one of the larger booths.
The breakfast menu at Rufful's features all the favorites, including eggs, pancakes, French toast, and omeletes, while the lunch menu is a bit more extensive, with such features as hot open roast beef and turkey sandwiches, delmonico steak on a torpedo roll, liverwurst and sliced egg sandwiches, and a number of triple deckers. Both the grilled hot dog and the hot corned beef are delicious here (the corned beef is thinly sliced and tender), while the egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches are equally good (the tuna has relatively little mayo, which allows the flavor of the fish to come out a little more). Salads are also offered at Rufful's, including a Caesar and a Greek. Prices are cheap here, with nearly all items being under $10.
The East Side of Providence has a number of good restaurants (mainly because Brown University and RISD reside in the area), but most of them are situated along Wickenden Street in Fox Point and Thayer Street on College Hill. But Wayland Square, while not as popular with visitors to Providence, does happen to have a few decent dining spots, including this friendly diner that dates all the way back to the late 1950s. It may feel a bit out of place in toney Wayland Square, but don't let that stop you from trying Rufful's Restaurant if you're in the area.
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