"THE ORIGINAL FOOD TRUCK,"
HAVEN BROTHERS: LEGACY OF THE AMERICAN DINER
Feature length documentary 74:39;06
Featuring an all Rhode Island music sampler soundtrack.
Director: Jeff Toste (Directorial Debut)
"The Original Food Truck," Haven Brothers: Legacy of the American Diner tells the story of Haven Bros. Diner, the oldest operating diner on wheels. The original fast food, the first food truck owned by woman, this late night lunch cart has served patrons for over 120 years.
Located in the birthplace of the American diner, Providence, RI, the documentary centers around the fact that Haven Bros. was almost lost to the modernizing of Providence. The diner was moved from its reserved parking spot next to Providence City Hall, and this was considered blasphemy to its loyal followers.
In the words of lifelong Providence resident and founder of artists’ collaborative AS220, Umberto Crenca, “It’s not just the physical reality of it being here, but the conceptual reality of it being not here. What would be missed?”
The story of Haven Brothers is the story of the American Dream, the American diet, and what it is to be a success.
Initially, I wanted to tell the story of a local landmark and symbol of Rhode Island culture. But I soon learned the significance of the diner transcended local folklore, and it was also a story of American folklore. I discovered that Haven Brothers is the oldest operating diner on wheels, and the first food truck owned by a woman.
What food(s) are more synonymous with the American diet than the burger and fries? And Haven Bros. is the last continually operating survivor of the legacy that BEGAN the fast food, and now, the food truck cultural phenomenon. The original diners were all on wheels, and they were the original food trucks. So in many ways, the American food culture has returned to its roots, if only to redefine them.
During the three years it took to make this film, the value of the small, and the local, began to re-emerge in American culture. Unlike the giant fast food companies that have overtaken the United States, the Haven Bros. food truck never franchised. It has remained as authentic and unique as the locals who support it.
Part of what was revealed to me those many nights spent at the diner, was the idea of the American Dream--what it was, what it has become. What is the authentic American dream? For Haven Bros. it seems it is the simple idea of hard work, consistency, and character. The diner itself is a symbol and a reminder of that authentic American dream, as are its owners, past and present.