The Block Island Times

Order this... Breakfast at Ernie's

Jul 03, 2013
Photo by: Kari Curtis

Every summer morning for the past 12 years, Frank Nicastro has arrived at Ernie’s Restaurant at 6 a.m. to get ready for his breakfast crowd. Among all his tasks, he preps five gallons of batter for pancakes and cracks 20 dozen eggs for scrambled eggs. Frank and his wife, Betty Jean (pictured), and son, Kody, serve their popular breakfasts every day from 6:30 a.m. to noon, and enjoy every minute of it.

Blueberry and chocolate-chip pancakes are some of the favorites, but the breakfast selection called the “Hungry Person” takes first place. The plate is filled with two good-sized pancakes with butter and syrup, two eggs any-style, a choice of ham, bacon or sausage and toast. If you want the Hungry Person with hash browns ask for the “Big E.” It’s the great, big, American breakfast — the perfect preface for a sprint up Spring Street to the Southeast Lighthouse or a bike ride all the way around the Island.

Along with the food, it’s the wide, covered porch overlooking Old Harbor that completes the meal. Enjoying your breakfast with a hot cup of coffee while you watch the flow of boats, ferries, people, gulls, sky, weather and sea will smooth out your day. There’s not much better.

The Nicastros have plenty of friends. Lena has waited tables, and Carlos has cooked ever since Frank and Betty Jean got started. There’s a group of six or eight people — the breakfast club — that gets there early every morning for their favorite table in the corner on the deck. Year-round and summer folks, families with kids, people of all ages (there are only a couple of steps up to the front door) know Ernie’s is a great place to gather to get the day off to a good start.

A hint from Frank: many times if the line is out the door, it’s folks waiting for a seat out on the porch. Usually there are still seats available inside. — Becky Ballard

Ernie’s is located at 212 Water Street. The phone number is 466-2473.

“Order this...” is a weekly column celebrating the delicious food and drink that can be found at restaurants, pubs and hotels on Block Island. If you have a recommendation that you’d like to share with our readers, contact Kari Curtis at or at 466-2222.

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