In a world where sandwiches are held together with drink umbrellas and OJ flows straight from the fruit to the glass, bacon-heads and health freaks alike can live and dine together in harmony.
Liberty Elm Diner’s brunch-utopia pulls in more regulars than Sunday mass. What it exactly keeps people coming back is debatable . . . the warm welcoming service . . . the locally grown ingredients you ask? Do patrons come for the feel of a renovated 1936 dining car, or to shoot the breeze with the tattoo-covered bus boys? Whatever it may be, one thing is certain — once you try one of the Liberty’s fresh-squeezed juices, you’ll find yourself spending more time on Elmwood Ave in Providence.
After my recent visit to the Liberty Elm, I can personally verify this fact (not opinion). I sat down with Diane, AKA Tink,Liberty’s counter queen and sweetheart on a Wednesday afternoon to get the dish on the Omega — the machine behind the legendary juice menu.
“I’ve got a twist for you,” Tink began between sips of coffee, “our Omega is broken.”
My heart began to sink but was rehabilitated with a hopeful, “But…” preceded by a heavy gulp of coffee.
The machine was recently and generously replaced by a pair of concerned regulars. After catching wind that the Omega faltered, they donated a Jack LaLanne to the diner. If the name seems familiar, you probably spend time on the QVC channel. The act of charity was brought about by both love and addiction. Kinda the way a hooked drug user might do favors for their dealer. And their habits are well fed with options such as cranberry-apple-pineapple, carrot-apple-beet with parsley, liquadas and lemon-lime juice ranging from only $1.50 to $5.
The moment had finally arrived—it was time to see what all the talk was really about. Overwhelmed by options, I settled with a recommendation from the staff, their most popular, “the combo.” The mix of beets, carrots, an apple and ginger, invented by owner Carol (AKA Kip), is “the prettiest,” according to Tink.
“And, it’s so good for you” chimed in a voice from the kitchen. As she casually tossed a whole apple into the juicer, I got the low-down.
“The staff favorite right now is apple ginger,” Tink said. “And by staff, I mean myself.”
When my juice was done, it was more than apparent why it was considered the prettiest. The hypnotic swirls of pink and deep orange appropriately enough formed to the shape of a heart at the top of the glass — made with love, of course.
It was the deliciousness of a chocolate cake with the healthiness of a bowl of steamed brussel sprouts. I felt the way Popeye might after gulping down a can of spinach.
Tink graciously transferred my drink into a biodegradable plastic cup for the ride home.
I can confidently say that I’ll be back for more, especially after seeing entrée after entrée ready in the kitchen window.