Everybody knows Haven Brothers. It’s the place you go after the bars close in Providence. Or you take the kids for a hot wiener and fries after a trip to the big city. Or maybe you just know it because it’s been sitting in the same spot for, well, a LONG time.
It’s been part of the downtown Providence landscape since the late 1890s actually.
Documentary filmmaker Jeff Toste decided to explore just how Haven Brothers became an icon and his film – “Haven Brothers: Legacy of an American Diner” – is being shown at the Odeum for a special one-night engagement Saturday night.
“I was just interested in telling a Rhode Island story that I really felt had interest beyond Rhode Island,” said Toste. “It’s not just a story about an American icon, it’s a story about the American dream.”
Toste spent three years on the documentary, which meant A LOT of time inside the diner. He was there when Man vs. Food came to shoot a segment, and when the BBC showed up. Toste is a vegetarian, so he was NOT eating The Murder Burger when he was there. Grilled cheese and fries filled the bill just fine.
Toste said he really wanted to find out how Haven Brothers has managed to survive all these years, while so many other places have fallen by the wayside.
“It’s transcended success – it’s become culture. How does that happen?” he said. With a lot of hard work, he found out.
“It’s practically a 24-hour operation,” said Toste. The closing shift leaves and the morning shift shows up soon after. “It’s a story of work. It’s a story of commitment and dedication.”
So, too, it seems, is Toste’s documentary.
Toste will be at the showing Saturday, as will a food truck (ok, NOT Haven Brothers – that food truck does not move). Here’s a link for ticket information.