The Dish: Diner's Update

The latest Rhode Island food, drink, restaurant and dining news.

By Rachel Bimonte and Jamie Coelho

 

January–February 2017

1/1–1/31

Participate in RI Food Fights' fourth annual Lord of the Wings competition. Buy a 'Passport' for $20, and use coupons to get at least six wings from each restaurant. You have from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31 to use your coupons, and you can vote online for your favorites. The entire list of competitors includes reigning champs Boneheads Wing Bar, Pizza J, Tomaselli's at Rosario, Rick's Roadhouse, Thirsty Beaver Cranston / Thirsty Beaver Smithfield, Cook and Dagger, Rocco's Pub and Grub, 84 Tavern on Canal, the Office Kitchen and Bar, Rooftop at Providence G, Providence G Pub, Biergarten, Wings on 5, SoulFull Fried Chicken, Timmy's Legendary Grilled Pizza, Federal Taphouse and Kitchen, the Fire Brick Oven Pizza and Bar, the Rosendale, BrewMasters Neighborhood Tavern, the Tilted Tavern, the Village and Wings on 5! Passports are available now at rifoodfights.com.

1/15-1/28

Take a bite out of winter and enjoy January Providence Restaurant Weeks. The weeks feature special menus from nearly 100 restaurants. Enjoy three-course lunches at $14.95 and three-course dinners at $29.95 or $34.95, as well as two-for-one specials. Keep checking the site as restaurants are added daily!

1/19

Fortnight Wine Bar celebrates its grand opening! All are welcome to join on Thurs., Jan. 19 beginning at 7:30 p.m. for snacks and tastings. The spot is a new workers' cooperative wine bar, located at the corner of Dorrance and Weybosset streets in downtown Providence.

1/19

Narragansett Beer is releasing its next installation of the Lovecraft series. This time, the Unnamable Black Lager earns the spotlight. Join Narragansett Beer, Rogue Island, New Harvest and Lovecraft Arts and Sciences for free samples at this release party at 6:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but you must be twenty-one and older for samples. More info can be found on Facebook here.

1/21

Attend DeWolf Tavern's annual Robbie Burns dinner to learn about the life, works and spirit of Robert Burns. The evening includes bagpipes, kilts, Scottish music, dinner with scotch pairings and more (maybe even some haggis!). The cost is $75 per person. Cocktails at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m. Call 401-254-2005 for reservations.

1/22

The Arcade's indoor farmers market returns this winter on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brought to you in partnership with New Harvest Coffee Roasters and New Harvest Coffee and Spirits, this market features a rotating lineup of local farmers, food vendors and more. View the facebook page for more details. There is free parking downtown on Sundays.

1/23, 2/6, 3/6, 3/27

Chef Joe Simone of Simone’s, 275 Child St., Warren, released his fall and winter cooking classes. With chef Joe’s Mediterranean cooking style, students of the cooking classes will get a new perspective on dishes while still keeping them classic. On Jan. 23, cue the freezing weather but also hot, fresh soups; chef Joe teaches you how to make Simone’s soups with handmade stocks. Don’t stress about Valentine’s Day because chef Joe has you covered: On Feb. 6, learn how to make a romantic dinner for two. Instead of getting brunch out, learn to make it yourself on March 6, Mediterranean style. Lastly, on March 27, go seafood crazy and learn to craft a pasta dish with mussels and clams. Every event is held on Monday nights at at 6:30 p.m. Each class is $60 per person; to reserve a seat, call 401-247-1200 or email hello@simonesri.com.

1/23

Eating with the Ecosystem is running a dinner workshop series called "School of Fish" where local chefs educate participants on how to turn whole fish, straight from the sea, into several different recipes for delicious meals they can prepare at home. The chefs will focus on plentiful, local species of fish (scup, herring, whitefish, skate, dogfish, sea robins) that people might not be familiar with eating, but are delicious when prepared correctly. After learning how to prepare the fish, participants sit down and enjoy the meal. The workshops take place from 6–8 p.m. and are $50 per person. The Jan. 23 chef is Brandon Read of Celestial Cafe. Find out more here.

1/24

Enjoy a special wine dinner at Siena in East Greenwich at 6:30 p.m. The five-course dinner will be paired with wines from Allegrini and Renato Ratti vineyards, selected by the Savory Grape staff. Selections will include beef tartare, grilled octopus, roasted duck breast, panna cotta and more. The cost is $85 per person, including tax and gratuity. Call 401-885-8850 for reservations.

1/26

Newport Vineyards is hosting Chez Pascal chef Matt Genusso for the Eat and Drink Local Chef Series starting at 7 p.m.. Set in the Meadow Room adorned with rustic barn-wood walls, chef Gennuso will walk guests through a menu crafted just for this event, paired with Newport Vineyards wines explained by Newport Vineyards winemaker George Chelf. Tickets are available through Newport Vineyards on newportvineyards.com or call 401-848-5161×2 to make reservations and pay the night of. The cost is $80 per person, plus tax and gratuity. View the complete menu here.

1/26

Tickets to Chapel Grille's Moet and Chandon's Champagne Dinner are available. Enjoy a special five-course wine dinner with Champagne pairings, starting at 6:30 p.m. View the menu here. Seats are limited. Click here to purchase tickets or call 401-944-4900 for reservations.

1/26

On January 26 at 5:30 p.m., the Newport Historical Society Resource Center at 82 Touro St. in Newport will host writer Sarah Schumann, who will discuss her book, Rhode Island’s Shellfish Heritage: An Ecological History. The book covers the history of Rhode Island’s iconic oysters, quahogs and the well-known and lesser-known species in between, which she will highlight during her talk. She will offer the perspectives of those who catch, grow and sell shellfish, as well as of those who produce wampum, sculpture and books with shellfish — particularly quahogs — as their medium or inspiration. General admission costs $5 per person, $1 for Newport Historical Society members along with active duty and retired military. Reservations suggested as space is limited; please RSVP online at newporthistory.org or call 401-841-8770.

1/28

Taste the best wine and food the East Bay has to offer at the Taste of the East Bay on Jan. 28 from 58 p.m. at Hope and Main in Warren. The fundraiser help families most in need in our community. In the event of a weather related cancelation, the date is February 4. All proceeds benefit East Bay Coalition for the Homeless. Tickets are $25 each for general admission at 6 p.m. and $40 per person for premier entry at 5 p.m.

1/29

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will offer a wild game cooking class with chef Andy Lussier of Culinary Connections and Addieville East Farm on Jan. 29 at noon. The lesson takes place at the DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife Education Center at 1-B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place in Exeter. Chef Lussier will share tips and techniques designed to help participants prepare several recipes during the class, and participants will be able to sample each dish. Guests will also learn how to process and store wild game, along with special handling and cooking techniques. Space is limited and registration is required. The cost for the class is $30 per person. A registration form is available on DEM's website; send completed registration forms and $30 check/money order per person payable to Culinary Connections to DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife Education Center, 1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place, Exeter, RI 02822. For more information, contact Jessica Pena at jessica.pena@dem.ri.gov.

1/30

Chez Pascal in Providence is hosting special Monthly Mondays dinners. The New England Culinary Heritage Dinner on Jan. 30 will borrow from the dishes of our heritage and spice them up with a modern flare. The three-course dinners are $49 per person not including tax, gratuity or beverages. Some menu items include frizzled beef with johnny cakes, parsnip stew with codfish cakes, a New England boiled dinner, brown bread crusted pork cutlet with baked beans and pickled cabbage, clam and sunchoke chowder and apple pandowdy. Make reservations at chez-pascal.com or call the restaurant at 401-421-4422.

1/31

Join Laughing Gorilla and Revival Brewing for an intimate night with chef Jason Timothy and brewmaster Sean Larkin as they walk you through three food and beer pairings. JT will prepare thoughtful dishes while Sean discusses the brewing process and flavor profiles he creates. Enjoy three courses with beer pairings for $60 per person. There are two seatings at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Menu to follow in January. Get your tickets here.

2/1–2/28

We can’t decide what is more important: a United States Passport or a #BestDonutsRI Passport? We’ll let you decide. Click here to get a RI Food Fights passport for only $15. Grab your doughnut-loving friends and travel around Rhode Island from Feb. 1–28 to receive a complimentary doughnut from participating bakeries and doughnut shops.  

2/4

Bill Harley and Keith Munslow (pictured, right) are teaming up for Sing Away Hunger to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank on Sat., Feb. 4 at Ocean State Theatre in Warwick. The concert is part of the theater’s Family Fun Fest series. Tickets for each of the two shows (11 a.m. and 2 p.m.) are $10 and can be purchased directly from the theater.

2/9

Join New Rivers in Providence on Thurs., Feb. 9 for a fun night of Burgers and Barolo. Guests will enjoy pours from a carefully curated magnum of barolo while feasting on the famous New Rivers burger all dressed with some special Italian condiments; think gooey tallegio, truffle ragout, gorgonzola dolce and on and on. There will also be some special small plates and pastas all inspired by the chef's love for all things Piedmontese. The $35 per person price includes a pour out of the magnum and the burger. All the small plates are available a la carte as is the full regular menu. Call 401-751-0350 for reservations.

2/17

The Coast Guard House in Narragansett is hosting the Virginia is for Wine Lovers dinner at 6:30 p.m. Five courses will be paired with wines from Virginia, and the selections include shellfish ceviche, Virginia baked oysters, potato agnolotti, beef two ways and cheese pie all paired with various Barboursville wines. Reservations are required. The price is $59 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Call 401-789-0700 for reservations.

2/18, 2/19, 2/25, 2/26

Newport Storm Brewery and Narragansett Creamery are teaming up to bring you the best of local flavor. Experience a local beer and cheese pairing with five locally brewed beers and five locally made cheeses. These events start promptly, please plan to arrive fifteen minutes before the event. Tickets are $15 each ($12 per person with a Newport Winter Festival  bracelet) and are available in the tickets/seasonal section of Newport Storm's website. The Feb. 18, 19 and 25 events will take place from 6:30–7:30 p.m. and the Feb. 26 event takes place from 5:30–6:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased at the Newport Storm Visitors Center during normal hours.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Tio Mateo's in East Greenwich is offering several weekday dining deals, including three tacos and a craft beer for $13 on Taco Tuesdays, and a bottle of wine and fajitas for two for $30 on Wine and Dine Wednesdays.

22 Bowen’s Wine Bar and Grille in Newport is offering a three-course prix fixe Tavern Tasting Menu for $35 per person, available Sun.–Fri. Options include a field greens salad, Caesar salad or clam chowder for a starter; redfish, tagliatelle Bolognese, pork tenderloin or New York sirloin ($15 extra) for entree; and apple spice cake or German chocolate cake for dessert. Add a bottle of wine for $25. For more information or reservations, call 401-841-8884 or visit 22bowens.com.

Each month, a family recipe will be featured as a special for the month at Sardella's in Newport. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to the King Center of Newport. The recipe will be featured on the menu for an entire month, on Facebook and at sardellas.com.

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar in Newport is offering two off-season specials including a Half-Price Raw Bar and Paella for Two. Wednesdays from Nov. 16 through March 29, enjoy oysters, littlenecks, shrimp, lobster and more for half price. On Thursdays from Nov. 17 through March 30, enjoy old-world style paella with a whole lobster, clams, mussels, chicken, shrimp, calamari, rice, sausage and saffron-garlic sofrito all day for $49 or for $65 with a pitcher of house-made sangria.

The Boat House, 227 Schooner Dr., Tiverton, is offering half-price appetizers, Sun.–Thurs. from 4–6 p.m., now through May 24. With appetizers in the $6–$8 range, you can enjoy a number of healthy, light choices. Some of the dishes include: Bolognese, octopus and potato salad, truffle linguini, littleneck clams and more.

Join Ella’s Fine Food and Drink for Whimsical Weekdays. Tues.–Fri. from 4–6 p.m. in the lounge and 5–6 p.m. in the dining room, guests can enjoy Ella’s entire menu for half off. Head over to Ella’s, located at 2 Tower St., Westerly, for this special deal.

Matunuck Oyster Bar is now taking reservations online here. The waterfront oyster bar, located at 629 Succotash Rd., South Kingstown, is open to online reservations, but also has a dedicated area of the restaurant for walk-in guests. Monday through Thursday from 4–6 p.m. guests can purchase Matunuck’s own oysters for $1 each.

Trio restaurant, located at 15 Kingston Rd., Narragansett, is bringing back its prix-fixe Pier menu. From that menu, customers can order an entree, dessert and draft beer or house wine for $24.95 on Monday through Thursday nights from 4–9 p.m. The full Trio menu, however, is still available during this special. Trio is also offering half-price appetizers and pizzas Monday through Friday from 4–6 p.m. To check out the prix-fixe Pier menu and the full menu, visit Trio’s website.

Chair 5, located within the Break Hotel at 1208 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, launched its new Wine Wednesdays series, every Wednesday at 6 p.m. For $15 per person, guests will receive three wine tastings, appetizers prepared by chef Basil Yu and experience a question and answer session with the Chair 5 team. For more details, call 401-363-9820.

Greenvale Vineyards is open seven days a week in winter for wine tastings and tours. January through March, the hours are Mon. through Sat. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sun. noon–4 p.m. with vineyard tours at 2 p.m. (weather permitting).

 

OPENINGS AND LAUNCHES

Sydney, an Australia-inspired cafe and coffee shop, is now open in the Waterplace complex at the corner of Exchange and Stillman streets in Providence. Specialties include the avocado smash toast, sandwiches, seasonal salads, lattes and more.

Renowned Newport bartender Jason Kindness has moved on from Revolving Door to open the new Kai Bar on Main Street in East Greenwich.

The new Knead Doughnuts shop is now open in downtown Providence at 32 Custom House St. The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and boasts three styles of doughnuts: cake, old fashioned and brioche. Read more here.

Tilly's Cheesesteaks is open at 3711 Kingstown Rd. in West Kingston, serving Philly cheeseteak sandwiches.

Tom's BaoBao in Providence is now serving breakfast buns.

Bob and Timmy's Grilled Pizza has returned to Federal Hill and reopened as Timmy's Legendary Grilled Pizza. Follow @Timmyspizzari for updates.

Fortnight is new a casual, experimental wine bar located at the corner of Dorrance and Weybosset Streets in Providence, in the space formerly occupied by Aruba Steve’s. Wines come from makers who use minimal chemical or technological interference, and owners Elizabeth McDonnell, Mike da Cruz and Chris Norris-LeBlanc have designed the project as a workers’ cooperative. The food program is also designed to eliminate waste by including items that get better with time, such as pickles and brines, braises, rillettes, smokes and cures.

Drift is a new restaurant from the owners of Milk Money and the Thirsty Beaver, inside the renovated Hilton Garden Inn at India Point Park in Providence. It's a seafood-focused restaurant using local, seasonal and sustainable foods prepared by chef Antonio Wormley of Milk Money.

GottaQ Smokehouse BBQ opened its second Cumberland location in the Shell Fuel Stop at 4120 Mendon Rd. The main restaurant is located at 2000 Mendon Rd. In addition to dining in and takeout at both locations, GottaQ also offers catering and food truck and barbecue trailer service. GottaQ also plans to put a second food truck on the road in the spring.

Durk’s Bar-B-Q has opened, serving Texas-style barbecue on Thayer Street in Providence. The restaurant was opened by chef consultant Jake Rojas of Tallulah’s Taqueria and Tallulah on Thames and general manager Jay Carr of the Eddy. Read more here.

The owners of Tavolo Wine Bar and Restaurant in Smithfield opened a new restaurant, Tavolo Wine Bar and Tuscan Grille, at 289 Atwells Avenue on Federal Hill.

Coming soon to Providence is a pasta joint called Pastaio where pasta meets New England cuisine. The restaurant will be located on Parade Street. Follow it on Instagram and Facebook to stay in touch for grand opening details.

A Greek restaurant, KLEOS, from the owners of Rosalina, will open this spring in Providence.

The owners of Den Den Cafe Asiana are opening Den Den Korean Fried Chicken restaurant at 182 Angell St. in Providence in February.

Newport Distilling Company has been on an eight-year-long journey to craft its newest product. Sea Fog: An AmeRIcan Whiskey is a mixture between American and Scottish traditions and radiates flavors of peat, vanilla, caramel and oak. Distribution of only 150 cases will be made available across many states including Rhode Island. For more information on the new item, visit the Newport Distilling Company’s website.

Newport Storm Brewery also launched its annual release, '16, a marriage of chocolate and beer made with milk sugar, vanilla, chocolate malt and cocoa nibs from Ecuador and Ghana. It is inspired by adult hot cocoa (served cold, of course!). Roughly 3,000 bottles were produced and will be distributed in RI and PA.

Sardella’s Italian Restaurant in Newport has launched Pronto, a new to-go menu and catering selections. The entire  menu is available for takeout with only a phone call. The Sardella’s staff will pack up orders to be picked up "pronto."

 

CLOSINGS

Preppy Pig BBQ closed its doors in both Warren and Jamestown for relocation “in search of a bigger and better spot for their acclaimed barbecue cuisine.” The Pink Pig takes over the spots, but it not the same as the Preppy Pig. Read more here.

 

NOTABLES

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that $380,000 is available to help grow Rhode Island farm and food businesses and increase the competitiveness of local products in the marketplace. The funding is part of the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) and Farm Viability grant programs – which combined have invested nearly $3 million to accelerate growth of Rhode Island’s green economy and support small businesses. For more information on the LASA program or to apply, visit dem.ri.gov/agriculture.  Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on March 1.  Awards will be announced as part of Rhode Island’s Ag Day celebration in the spring.   

The Weekapaug Inn's sommelier/senior restaurant manager, Ryan Robinson, has been selected to participate in the Food and Wine Pebble Beach event taking place April 20-23, 2017. There are only under 1,200 advanced sommeliers in the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, and Ryan happens to be the only one in Rhode Island who has been chosen.

The Dean Hotel and Faust restaurant have been recognized by Architectural Digest in "The 8 Best Hotels for Beer Lovers."

was featured in the Travel Channel's "50 States of Donuts" for Rhode Island.

 

TRANSITIONS

The owners of Stoneacre Pantry, Christopher Bender and David Crowell, have signed a multi-year lease for the former Yesterday's space in Newport. After forty-two years in business, Yesterday's closed in September 2015. The new owners will open a brasserie-style restaurant called Stoneacre in late spring or early summer 2017.

​The owners of Stoneacre Pantry are keeping the Thames Street space and have changed up the dining concept to a Basque-style restaurant featuring pinxtos, or small plates. The revamped La Vasca is now open.

Laughing Gorilla Catering has taken over the popular breakfast spot Kitchen's space in Providence for the fall and winter seasons. Lunch and dinner is served inside the intimate restaurant.