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Are jonny cakes only legend?

  • o

I'm a big pancake fan and I'd love to try these but I've never heard of a place that serves them. Course I haven't asked around much. Can anyone recommend a place for this Rhode Island specialty? Thanks


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    Loren Mitchel

    Not at all. Not even close.

    I don't know a place, but someone will. Betcha it'll turn out to be in either Wakefield or Tiverton. Possibly Wickford or Narragansett.

    Here and there you can buy jonnycake flour if you wanna make 'em yourself. The only place I know of that mills the flour is in Adamsville, forget the name.

    Hope this half-information helps lead you somewhere good. If I find more, I'll bring it in.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Loren Mitchel

      I found this recipe attached to a cannister of Morgan Mills white flint cornmeal in my pantry: (I always put flour in a jar, then put the label and recipe on the jar before storing it.)

      To quote from the email I received back after requesting permission to post the recipe here:

      "If you are talking Jonnycake, ours is made from traditional Rhode Island white flint corn, true to the southern New England tradition, and is most often used to pepare unleavened pancakes.
      "Much of the johnnycake usually served with baked beans is cornbread made from modern yellow dent corn. A world of difference. Both are good, but flint corn is for the discriminating 'chowhound'."

      Rhode Island Jo'nnycakes

      For 12 to 15 (three servings) Jonny Cakes
      Combine in a bowl:
      1 cup white flint corn meal
      ½ teaspoon salt
      1 tablespoon butter/margarine
      1 tablespoon sweetener, optional
      Add (approximately 2 cups) boiling water, stir to porridge texture, thin with water or milk as corn swells. Spoon drop onto a well greased 380F griddle, cook 6 minutes 'til edges color. Turn, flatten. Ready when cake won't sizzle when pressed.

      Morgan Mills can be reached at info@griffles.com.

      1. re: Loren Mitchel

        The mill that grinds corn meal for jonny cakes is Gray's Grist Mill, 638 Adamsville Rd in Adamsville RI. They also make a great multi-grain pancake/waffle mix.

      2. The Sterns recommend the 4th Street Diner in Newport, and Common's Lunch in Little Compton.

        Link: http://www.roadfood.com

        Image: http://www.roadfood.com/Photos/595.jpg

        2 Replies
        1. re: AHR

          Common's is the place. You can also get a nice bowl of Indian Pudding there.

          And while you're there, you can marvel at what a great name for a town "Little Compton" is.

          1. re: Bob W.

            Yep Common's is it, in Little Compton

        2. Johnny Cakes are quite a bit different from pancakes... but if you're looking for them... there's a small shop (name escapes me at the moment) in Mystic Village that sells the mix. We get some every time we're in town.

          1. I've had them at Jigger Diner
            145 Main Street, East Greenwich
            (401) 884-5388
            I thought they were interesting, but I've only had them once, so I have nothing to compare them with...

            3 Replies
            1. re: breakfastfan

              If you really want to know about jonny cakes, prepare for a road trip and go to the best source...Carpenter's Grist Mill in Perryville, RI, close to South Kingstown. My fiance and I had experienced jonny cakes out a few times; no encounter was that exciting of an experience. We came across the sweet couple of Carpenter's at the Saunderstown Farmer's Market one Saturday morning back in the summer of 2008. The Carpenter's folks were there griddling and selling their jonny cakes for a buck a piece. Oh, what sheer bliss was that first bite of a true, authentic jonny cake! We left with a bag of their jonny cake mix and became huge fans of Carpenters and the jonny cake. There is a west bay version of the jonny cake, resembling a corn pancake, and an east bay version, which is closer to that of a corn crepe. We prefer the west bay cousin.

              If you visit the Carpenter's grist mill, they will be more than happy to tell you all about the history of the white flint corn grown in RI as well as the labor and unique methods utilized to grind this fabulous corn, which makes the delectable jonny cake.

              We did also visit Gray's grist mill in Adamsville. The gentleman that runs this one is also extremely pleasant and sociable and provided more history and humor to the mix. We also purchased a bag of his jonny cake mix. (For the record, we did the same with Kenyon's.) However, there is no comparison to Carpenter's. They have the only product worthy of the jonny cake.

              1. re: sophiecat

                Hi, Any idea of the operating hours here?

                1. re: sophiecat


                  I couldn't agree with you more.... Have used Kenyons... have some Gray's in the freezer i was given some Carpenter's meal a few years ago.. Last summer I tracked down more.... No offense to the others which are better than lots of other but the flavor of Carpenter's is truly amazing... to this East Bay jonnycake maker.

              2. I haven't been there in almost a year, but they used to serve them at the Towne Diner in Watertown, MA.


                1. Kenyon's Grist Mill sells their mix in many stores -- health food stores, grocery stores, etc. Go to their website (http://www.kenyonsgristmill.com/home....), they are having an "End of Summer" event on Aug 29&30 (FREE johnny cakes!) Enjoy!

                  1. Shelter Harbor Inn on Route 1, east side of Westerly makes great jonnycakes!

                    1. Here is a list of places that I have had Johnny cakes in the past. These are posted in no particular order but I would have to say Spoonum's and/or Jigger's are the best.

                      J.P. Spoonum's in Cranston
                      Jigger's Diner, East Greenwich
                      Beacon Diner, East Greenwich
                      Bishop's 4th Street Diner, Newport
                      Station House Restaurant, West Kingston, South Kingstown
                      The Barn, Adamsville, Little Compton
                      The last weekend in August, Kenyon's Grist Mill has their end of summer event. Free Johnny Cakes

                      1 Reply
                      1. The Sterns recommend Jigger's for jonnycakes and pancakes of all kinds.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: meatme

                          Yes Jigger's Diner--they maker the thicker version of the cakes ( and try their homemade sausage patties too).

                        2. Over the years two varieties of jonnycakes have evolved. East bay is more like a pancake often served at breakfast. West bay is more like a fritter and more likely to be served with baked beans at dinner. There is no stigma attached to putting maple syrup on an east bay jonnycake but a west bay purist would never put maple syrup on theirs.

                          I'm a 13th generation Rhode Islander with ties to both sides of the bay so I love them both. Jiggers for west bay and Commons Lunch in Little Compton for east bay and Kenyons cornmeal when I make 'em at home.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: RI Swampyankee

                            "There is no stigma attached to putting maple syrup on an east bay jonnycake but a west bay purist would never put maple syrup on theirs."

                            I definitely am not a purist, I LOVE maple syrup on JIgger's jonnycakes.

                          2. Gray's Mill -- and the General Store -- in Adamsville sell the flour...and cornmeal, and more! Although I've never been, The Commons in Little Compton I hear makes amazing johnnycakes. I've had them at The Barn in Adamsville for breakfast. YUMMY!!!!


                            1. Yeah, I am a native Rhode Islander through and through (albeit living in The Berkshires)...Johnny Cakes are NOT an urband legend...they are for real and always have been; when I was a kid (mid fifties), there was a restaurant called The Grist Mill...had them for real...but...trust everyone who HAS posted about them...it is all true...and Rhode Island is like no other place.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: AikiLou

                                I made it to Jigger's Diner in East Greenwich RI today, specifically to have jonnycakes for the first time. Got maple syrup and a side of bacon. And you know what? I kept thinking I'd much rather have the blueberry pancakes from Jordan's in Bar Harbor. I didn't care for the texture very much and didn't find much flavor. But, at least, now I know what everybody's talking about. My RI day also included RI clam chowder and a clam strip roll at Evelyn's in Tiverton and then on to Gray's Ice Cream, also in Tiverton, for one of those hot fudge things!! Have to agree with the Sterns that their hot fudge sauce is exceptional. Found out Aunt Carrie's is closed on Tuesdays (too bad!) and the traffic on Route 138 near Tiverton was a nightmare--exit closed but at least the next one was very near. I love my GPS more and more!

                                1. re: philbkr

                                  Oh...Jordan's in Bah Habah (Bar Harbor). Brings back good memories. I next door to Tiverton, and think Gray's is a waste of time, ice cream wise. Go to Daily Scoop in Bristol. YUM!!!