, Newburyport, MA


November 23, 2012

Another Fine day

For decades, regulars have relished 'community feel,' hearty fare at local diner


He passed on ownership 10 years ago to his two sons, Michael and Daniel Donahue, after several health scares (”You can’t kill a good Irishman!”), but said he regularly receives offers to sell the 15,000-square-foot lot overlooking the soccer fields and the Merrimack River.

“Why would I want to sell?” he said. “I don’t need the money.”

Rice took over The Finest Kind in 1990. Then he was in his mid-30s, working odd jobs, including some kitchen stints. He adopted the menu and said not much has changed since.

The room holds a half dozen tables on the right, counter stools line up on the left. On permanent display are paintings by local artist Herbert Crooks, whose illustration of eggs and bacon seated around a table amuses diners and is one of a few which belongs to Rice himself. The radio is always tuned to 92.5 The River and a basket holds lollipops for young customers.

“I didn’t realize it would be that much work,” said Rice, who walks back and forth from his apartment down the street. “I don’t know, it’s a job. It is what it is.”

Asked how long he will keep cooking, he replied, “Until something better comes along.”

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