Chicken Family-style in
Blackstone River Valley -
Signature dish of Rhode Island’s Blackstone River Valley
Chicken family-style is an all-you-can-eat meal
of roasted chicken, salad, pasta, potato, and rolls, arguably unique to the
Blackstone River Valley.
Born at the home of Italian immigrants in
Woonsocket in 1930s, this inexpensive meal of roasted chicken is the solution
for family and friends, who’d love to get together, drink homemade wine and play
Italian lawn bowling game of bocce during the Depression years. Originally, the
meal includes roasted chicken with olive old and fresh rosemary. Pasta, salad
and roasted potato were added and the meal became a tradition.
Today, only Blackstone River Valley offer
exclusives, original traditional meal that is prepared, configured and presented
in a particular way.
In January 1990, Yankee magazine ran an article
about the meal that was noted “Nine out of ten weddings in northen Rhode Island
feature chicken family-style”.
A proper chicken family-style dinner is served
at the table. The meal starts with fresh bread and butter, then with
“huge-bowl-salad”. Every restaurant have their own dressing, which usually is a
variation on Italian or plain oil and vinegar. Then comes a bowl of pasta with
herbed tomato sauce, and roasted potatoes. Just like the dressing, each
restaurant offers their unique type of pasta.
Finally, the poultry parts come in bowls; the legs, thighs, and breasts are
seasoned and roasted until the meat is falling-apart tender. Diners serve
themselves, and if they run out, they can ask for more at no additional cost.
Since the meal was originally come up as an
inexpensive dish, it remains its legacy until today. Per person, meals usually
run about nine or ten bucks (as of 2004), and kids are even cheaper to feed. For
a little more than the price of a typical fast-food meal, anyone can afford a
Restaurants Serving Family