South County Feature
- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Long before European explorers arrived in the New World, Native Americans had been using ground corn for cooking. The Narragansett Indians are said to have shown Rhode Island's colonists how to make johnnycakes (sometimes spelled jonnycake). Essentially an unleavened cornmeal pancake, the johnnycake enjoys a special place among the state's distinctive cuisine. Many local restaurants offer them on their menus, typically for breakfast. They can be thin or thick and served with maple syrup, honey, fruit, or powdered sugar. To sample fresh-made johnnycakes, your best bet is to head to down-home diners.
Kenyon's Grist Mill. The West Kingston-area Kenyon's Grist Mill on the banks of the Queen's River is the oldest manufacturing business in Rhode Island and still grinds cornmeal for johnnycakes the old-fashioned way, with enormous granite millstones quarried from Westerly. Private group tours approximately 1 to 1½ hours can be arranged. The mill hosts an annual johnnycake festival every October. 21 Glen Rock Rd., Usquepaugh, RI, 02892. 401/783–4054 or 800/753–6966. www.kenyonsgristmill.com. Tour $6. April–Dec. Mon.–Fri. 9–4, Sat. and Sun. 11–4.
Commons Lunch. In the sleepy coastal village of Little Compton, Commons Lunch has long served lacy-edged johnnycakes. 48 Commons Way, Little Compton, RI, 02837. 401/635–4388.
Bishop's 4th Street Diner. On the Newport Rotary close to Naval Station Newport, savor johnnycakes for breakfast at the stainless-steel-clad Bishop's 4th Street Diner. 184 Admiral Kalbfus Rd., Newport, RI, 02840. 401/847–2069.
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