1. You’re confused why your new friends poke fun at you.
Rhode Islanders, along with the rest of the Northeast, don’t have much of a filter– they just tell it like it is. No beating around the bush, just brutal honesty. It’s difficult for newcomers to understand, and many are intimidated and confused by it. Some even mistake it for being rude, but it’s not. It’s a show of love. So when a new friend pokes fun at your shirt or the way you cut your hair, take it as a compliment. It means they like you. And if you can dish it back, you will be lifelong friends.
2. You ask for Starbucks.
Rhode Island runs on Dunkin’ and mom and pop coffee shops, not Starbucks. There are approximately 124 Dunkin’ Donuts in Rhode Island compared to the approximate 20 Starbucks. Rhode Islanders love their Dunkin’ Donuts and order their coffees regular, which means with cream and sugar, not black.
3. You give directions by exit numbers.
Rhode Islanders do not know exit numbers or even route numbers. They explain directions by landmarks like, “take the exit after the big car dealership and look for the old church on the left, go-slow, and then turn right at the Elementary School road. If you have reached the Dunkin’ Donuts, you’ve gone too far.”
4. You don’t know what a Quahog is.
Quahog is another name for a hard-shell clam. Some people use the term only to describe the largest of hard-shell clams used for chowder, and others use it to refer to any hard-shell clam. Quahogs have specific names according to their size. There are “littlenecks” which are the smallest and best to eat raw. “Cherrystones,” slighter larger and can also be eaten raw or sautéed in sauces. Then there are chowder clams and “topnecks” which are best used to make chowder, clam cakes, and “stuffies” (minced clam stuffing baked in a quahog shell).
5. Cheese-less cold pizza freaks you out.
Referred to as either “party pizza,” “bakery pizza,” or “pizza strips,” the cheese-less and cold Rhode Island-style pizza is a hard concept for newcomers to wrap their heads around, but they are so delicious. To enjoy the best pizza strips in Rhode Island, head to D’Palmieri’s bakery in Johnston, Calvitto’s Bakery in Cranston and Caserta Pizzeria in Providence (their “plain” pizza pie is like a cousin to the pizza strip, but still very Rhode Island and a must-try).
6. You mispronounce town names.
Even if you are pronouncing the name correctly, you are not saying it like a Rhode Islander. For example, Warwick is pronounced “Waw-wick,” not “War-wick.” Then there are the town names that originate from Native Americans, like Matunuck, pronounced “Mah-toon-ick” not “Mat-uh-nuck.”
7. You are confused why a piece of furniture is on a restaurant menu.
A “cabinet” in Rhode Island is not just furniture. It is also another name for a milkshake.
8. You enthusiastically drive 45 minutes for dinner.
Rhode Islanders hate driving more than 30 minutes. With a state that takes 45 minutes to cross, driving across a state for dinner seems insane. The more local you become, the less distance you drive.
9. Your baseball hat does not have a “B” or a “P” on it.
Yes, there are Yankee fans in Rhode Island, but the majority root for the Boston Red Sox. Those who have serious little Rhody pride will rock the Pawsock “P” hat, which is the minor league baseball team in Rhode Island.
10. You drink your Del’s Lemonade with a straw.
You can’t sip Del’s Frozen Lemonade through a straw, so if you try, you will just look silly to any Rhode Islander.