Order this... Breakfast at Ernie’s
We sat down with Fred Betts, head chef of Ernie’s, and Maureen Quackenbush, its manager, for both a history lesson and cooking secrets. It was a perfect way to start the day on Block Island.
We learned that Ernie Sherman, Fred’s grandfather, opened Ernie’s, now a Block Island institution, in the 1950s in a shack in Old Harbor. In the 1970s Ernie’s moved into its current building which was built in the 1800s and was originally the Block Island Post Office.
With that move Ernie’s became and continues to be a “breakfast only” restaurant.
We were served a delicious breakfast combination of a fluffy western omelette with corned beef hash (back on the menu for the first time in a number of years) and home fries, each with special ingredients.
Fred explained that the fluff of the omelette comes from the addition of half and half, that the home fries are Fred’s recipe and are made with real butter and browned until crisp, and that the hash of corned beef, peppers, and onions is Ernie’s original recipe, which Fred has modified by replacing cubed potatoes with shredded potatoes.
Our interview ended with Fred sharing the following — pancake choices of chocolate chip, banana, and blueberry can be mixed and customers can order less than a full pancake order; the largest omelette that he has made was a seven-egg omelette; and his position at Ernie’s is the fulfillment of his dream.
Ernie’s is located on Water Street and is open seven days a week until Halloween.
Hours are 6:30 a.m. until noon.
The phone number is (401) 466-2473. — Becky Ballard and Ruth Perfido