Diner’s Update

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

By Jamie Coelho, Samantha Labrecque and Stephanie Morales

September–October 2017

Through 10/21

Luxe Burger Bar, 5 Memorial Blvd. in Providence, hosted the seventh annual Build Your Own Burger contest. More than 500 participants submitted their burger recipes to enter for a chance to win $1,000 in prizes and have their recipe featured on the menu. The entries were reviewed and the top five finalists are featured on the Luxe menu through October 20. The top five burgers include: El Hefe, TB12 Burger, BAM, the Figgy Piggy Burger and the Dirty Pilgrim. The finalists will then be invited to the final showdown on Sat., October 21 at 2 p.m., where the best burgers will be presented to a panel of culinary and celebrity judges who will evaluate each submission’s creativity, taste, edibility, overall composition and the burger’s name. Final scoring will be based on votes on Facebook, votes on luxeburgerbar.com/contest, sales of the burger from September 22 through October 21 and the votes of the judges. Judges this year include Will Gilbert and Brendan Kirby from “The Rhode Show,” and Bekah Berger from Hot 106. For more information about the finalists, visit luxeburgerbar.com.

10/18

Enjoy a delicious dinner and craft beer pairing at Westerly’s Weekapaug Inn special Brewmaster’s Social. Local Narragansett Brewery will be the featured brewmaster for this three-course, family-style meal. The evening includes a reception complete with hors d’oeuvres, a backstage tour of the inn’s kitchen, three specialty crafted courses from the culinary team and a beer paired with each course. The dinner will take place from 6:30­– 9 p.m. and costs $75 per person. For reservations call 401-565-5023 or click here for more information.

10/19

Join The East End in Providence for a beer dinner with Hugh Sisson, founder and managing partner of Heavy Seas Brewery of Baltimore, Maryland. Expect a family-style dinner, lots of Heavy Seas beer and talking like a pirate. Prices TBD. Call 401-433-9770 for reservations.

10/19

Sharpen your culinary skills or take them to the next level with the Ocean House Culinary Boot Camp taking place from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21.You will work in the stunning, 3,000-square-foot Center for Wine and Culinary Arts in Watch Hill’s beautiful Ocean House resort. During this intensive three-day workshop, you will learn about knife safety and sharpening, preparing canapés and hors d’oeuvres, wine pairings, how to select seasonal ingredients and more from Ocean House’s elite culinary team. Enjoy a special opportunity to tour local farms and pick your own ingredients. Accommodations are available to guests of the boot camp at a discounted rate. At the end of the weekend, take home an Ocean House apron and a Center for Wine and Culinary Arts gift. Spots are available for $495 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

10/19

Massimo Ristorante and Gasbarro’s Wines are hosting the Sassicaia Wine Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. Renowned Bordeaux-style Super Tuscan Wines of the Tenuta San Guido Winery will be served to accompany each course. The wine dinner will take place at Massimo Ristorante in Providence.  The cost is $95 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity). For more information, call 401-273-0650 or visit massimori.com.

10/20

Join George’s of Galilee in Narragansett for a four-course autumn wine dinner, featuring both national and international wines. The main courses will focus on seafood accompanied by vegetable sides that bring together the flavors of the fall. The wine dinner costs $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and it will start at 6 p.m. For reservations or more information, visit the website or call 401-783-2306.

10/20-10/22

Join Castle Hill Inn in Newport for fall cooking school, where you will have the chance to sharpen your culinary skills under the direction of the inn’s renowned executive chef Lou Rossi. The focus of this autumn class will be Bacon and Brine. Guests will take part in a two-day cooking class with chef Lou, followed by dinner. Overnight packages start at $545 based on double occupancy, plus tax. The culinary school, without accommodations, costs $275 per person, plus tax. For more information, visit castlehillinn.com.

10/20

Beervana Fest is a bounty of fermented riches with the brewmasters, owners and distributors of sixty breweries (from Rhode Island, the United States and worldwide) pouring more than 250 rare, exclusive and simply divine beers on both levels at the resplendent venue, Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. And you can enhance your sipping with seminars presented by beer industry legends, including Heavy Seas founder Hugh Sisson and Jeremy Danner, ambassador brewer at Boulevard Brewing Company. This year’s fest is on October 20 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. — treat yourself to a night of beer heaven. Tickets for those who are twenty-one-plus are $55 per person. Buy tickets and check out the full list of brewers here.

10/21

The Museum of Work and Culture in Woonsocket is hosting its third annual American Girl baking workshop at Wright’s Dairy Farm and Bakery. Bakers will receive a chef’s hat and pink apron and will be able to watch a demonstration by Wright’s Bakery’s pastry chef Paul Dulude. Little bakers will fill and glaze eclairs, with all ingredients and baking materials provided by Wright’s. Admission is $25 per baker and $6 per accompanying adult. Admission to the Museum of Work and Culture is included. Space is limited and early registration is strongly encouraged. Tickets are available for purchase at shopmowc.com. For additional information, call 401-769-9675.

10/23

Eating with the Ecosystem is partnering with Eat Drink RI to present a series of educational dinners at local restaurants to promote their mission of creating a place-based approach to sustaining New England’s wild seafood. These upscale, seasonal dinners will be fundraisers for their Scales and Tales Mobile Food Boat program. The third dinner takes place on Monday, October 23 with chef Ashley Vanasse at Easy Entertaining in Providence. The menu includes seasonal and abundant local seafood, followed by an educational component. Each dinner is $90 per guest, all inclusive, and begins at 6 p.m. with a welcome cocktail reception, followed by a multi-course seated dinner with drinks. To purchase tickets, visit eatdrinkri.com/scalesandtales. The Scales and Tales Mobile Food Boat is a skiff (a shallow, flat-bottomed open boat) that the team is converting into a mobile education platform, complete with a cooking demo station to inform consumers about local seafood, fisheries and ecosystems.

10/23

Join The East End in Providence for a tasting some of the bar’s favorite rare, delicious and hidden bottles from their collection from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Old scotch, rare bourbon, fancy cognac, who knows what surprises they’ll uncork? They aim to impress with these secret gems. Five tastes and snacks will be provided. The cost is $50 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Call 401-433-9770 for reservations.

10/24

It is the season of wine dinners and Metacom Kitchen in Warren is jumping in on the fun! From seared scallops to Long Island duck, chef Rick Allaire will be serving up a brilliant and delicious menu of local and seasonal selections, each paired with a distinct wine from Georges Vigouroux. Make your reservation by visiting metacomkitchen.com. The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will cost $75 per person.

10/24

Head to Siena’s Vineyard Room in Smithfield for a fabulous five-course dinner, with each course paired with a wine by Katie Bailey of Folio Wine Importers.  From hors d’oeuvres to a traditional Italian crumb cake for dessert, this special wine dinner will allow you to experience the award-winning Siena’s authentic Tuscan cuisine in a warm, inviting and lively atmosphere. The dinner will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 24 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $85 per person, all inclusive of tax and gratuity. Call 401-349-4111 for reservations.

10/28

Gracie’s executive chef Matthew Varga will lead a group of guests on an adventure for the appetite on the third culinary cruise, Adriatic Rhapsody: Athens to Rome MarinaOn this ten-day voyage, there will be stops in the Greek Islands, Croatia and coastal cities in Italy. There is also the option of a three-night stay in Sicily, where chef Varga will craft a culinary history lesson about one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. For more information, click here or contact Lori Seeley of Innovative Travel Concepts at 941-312-2584 or lori@innovativetravelconcepts.com.

10/29

Child and Family will host the thirty-fourth annual Taste of Newport to benefit its community programs at the Atlantic Resort, 240 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown, from 5 to 8 p.m. Hundreds of Rhode Islanders will enjoy savories, sweets and sips from Newport’s finest restaurants, confectioners, caterers and beverage vendors. There will also be an extensive silent auction. For more information, visit childandfamilyri.org.

10/29

Dress up in your creepiest costume and join the guys and ghouls of Gracie’s for a cocktail hour and three-course dessert tasting, inspired by all things Halloween! Trick or treat yo’self to courses from three of Rhode Island’s most spooktacular pastry chefs, Lori Kettelle of PVDonuts, Jennifer Luxmoore of Sin and Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery. The evening will start with a cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres followed by courses from each chef paired with cocktails. Tickets are $80 per person and the event will take place from 7:30­­–10 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, call 401-272-7811 or click here.

10/29

Join the former owner of Farmstead restaurant and cheese shop in Providence, Matthew Jennings, and Beau Vestal, chef and co-owner of New Rivers, for a multi-course feast and a cookbook signing with Jennings himself. The meal will feature recipes from Matt’s new cookbook, Homegrown, and will cost $110 per person to attend. Tickets also include a signed copy of the book to take home, a special commemorative menu and an Edible Rhody linen tote bag. Call 401-751-0350 for more information or to purchase a ticket.

11/1-11/30

Rhode Island Food Fights’ Lord of the Pies month-long event will determine who has the #BestPizzaRI! They’ll have at least fifteen pizza shops participating, and each shop agrees to offer one free pizza slice to folks who present a coupon from the passport. Some places even offer a full pie. Buy the Passport here for only $20, and it will be mailed to you. For $20, you are able to go to at least fifteen participating pizza shops during the month of November and trade your coupon in for one free slice at each place.

11/3-11/12

Newport Restaurant Week, Nov. 3 to 12, encourages residents and visitors to experience the vast culinary talent in  Newport and Bristol counties at an affordable price. Newport Restaurant Week takes place both in the spring and in the fall with more than fifty participating restaurants offering three-course prix fixe lunches for $16 and three-course prix fixe dinners for $35. Participating restaurants and their Restaurant Week menus will be posted on the website soon. So check back often and make your reservations!

11/4

Bourbon Street Providence is happening Nov. 4 at the Rhode Island Convention Center starting at 2 p.m. Indulge in craft cocktails, spirits and delicious food, and listen to live music and look at fun luxury cars. General admission tickets cost $40. For an additional $20 join the Whiskey Republic VIP Lounge for a craft cocktail sampling expertly paired with a tasty treat. An exclusive Macallan tasting will also be offered for an additional $25. Join Macallan AmbassadorSammy Karachi at 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. for a one-hour educational session and tasting of the Macallan Single Malt Scotch collection. The tasting will include five specially selected Macallan Single Malts, one of which will be paired with a dessert specially crafted by Capital Grille. The event is presented by BMW of Warwick. This is a twenty-one and older event. For more information, visit riconvention.com.

11/23

On Thanksgiving Day, guests are invited to give thanks at Castle Hill Inn in Newport with chef Lou Rossi’s gourmet cooking and a celebration of the fall harvest. The meal will kick off with appetizers such as shrimp cocktail, artisan cheese and antipasto, and both gem and quinoa salads. For the main event, an elaborate buffet and carving stations include herb-roasted Helger’s Farm turkey with sage gravy and cranberry sauce and roasted black angus strip loin with horseradish cream. A selection of traditional pies, pastries and tarts will be served for dessert. Prices start at $78 per person and $28 for children younger than twelve, plus tax and gratuity. Click here for more information.

11/29

The Rhode Island chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will host the Culinary Challenge for a Cause with chefs from healthcare communities coming out to donate their time and talents to produce a culinary extravaganza. The event will feature a panel of celebrity judges, unlimited gourmet food, a silent auction and more. Proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. The Culinary Challenge will take place Wednesday, Nov. 29 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston. Tickets are $45 per person in advance, and $50 at the door. For more information, call 1-800-272-3900 or visit alz.org/ri.

4/24-4/28

Local businesses, The Savory Grape and The Savory Affair have launched a premier Long Island Wine Country tour to cater to inspired traveling wine enthusiasts. Rhode Islanders now have the chance to partake in a personalized, behind-the-scenes gourmet wine experience in Long Island’s coveted North Fork area. Participants of the savory experience in Long Island will encounter a memorable boutique-styled tour during which they will sip, savor and socialize with the area’s elite winemakers, chefs and personal guides, with The Savory Grape and The Savory Affair’s founder and proprietor, Jessica Granatiero, and Food and Wine Educator, Tulay Lawton. This one-of a-kind trip is limited to a maximum of twelve to fourteen guests to maintain intimacy. The trip cost is $1,345 per person, double occupancy before Nov. 1. After Nov. 1, the cost is $1,395. Reservations will be accepted through January 30, 2018. To book a reservation, contact Tulay Lawton at tulay@thesavorygrape.com.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Join Chair 5 at the Break Hotel in Narragansett for specials all week long! Every day from 4–6 p.m., enjoy buck-a-shuck on the rooftop or enjoy appy hour, five appetizers for $5. Wine Wednesdays is available from 6–7 p.m. Enjoy three wines with a common factor (producer, varietal or region) and munch on a small bite to accompany each selected wine. Beginning Oct. 12, celebrate southern cuisine, country music and well-crafted specialty cocktails from Sons of Liberty Spirit Company every Thursday night. Visit dinechair5.com for additional information.

Statesman Tavern, a local American-style restaurant in Bristol is serving brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Enjoy a brunch cocktail and an eggs Benny for a hearty meal to start your day. The brunch menu features locally sourced ingredients with a bit of a southern inspiration. For more information, to make reservations or to view the full menu, visit statesmantavern.com.

At Chez Pascal, Monday is Burger Night! A gourmet burger is available in addition to the regular menu inside the restaurant.

Massimo has new beverage and menu selections on the brunch menu, which is available every Sunday from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Choices range from lobster crepes and pork belly with fontina polenta to brioche French toast with strawberries and mascarpone. Don’t miss the Drag Brunch on the first Sunday of each month in the upstairs dining room from noon–2 p.m.

Trattoria Roma in Providence has launched a new delivery service, available within a five-mile radius from Atwells Avenue. The delivery menu offers pizza, calzones, appetizers, salads, subs, wraps, pastas and desserts. Delivery Service is available Sun.–Thurs. until 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 1 a.m. For more information or to place an order, call 401-331-5000.

At Eating with the Ecosystem’s School of Fish, chefs from all over Rhode Island will teach you the different methods for turning a whole fish straight from the sea into your dinner! This event occurs on select days and is held in a demo kitchen at Hope and Main. Guests will have the opportunity to work with a chef by preparing dinner and then eat it too! Each dinner is served with wine as well. For dates and additional information click here.

Blackbird Farm in Smithfield hosts a local farmers market at its farm stand every Friday evening from 4−7 p.m. where you can purchase local foods, all while supporting the local food economy. The market will run every week through October 27, weather permitting. Vendors in attendance include Blackbird Farm, Harris Farm, Hickory Hill Farm, Open Season, Providence Kettle Corn, Rachyl’s Goat Milk Soap, the Farm in Rhode Island and We Be Jammin’ and Blooming Buddies. A variety of products will also be offered, which include, but are not limited to, beef, pork, eggs, jams and jellies, herbs and plants. Call 401-232-2495 for more information.

PVD Food Truck events hosts Food Truck Fridays at Roger Williams Park Carousel Village in Providence. This weekly occurrence is every Friday from 58 p.m., and it has become uber popular for families and foodies alike who enjoy ordering fare from more than a dozen area food trucks and food carts. Food Truck Fridays are hosted by Roger Williams Park Zoo and Carousel Village.

 

OPENINGS AND LAUNCHES

Farmer Willie’s Craft Ginger Beer has released its first seasonal product with Farmer Willie’s Extra Ginger.  Available through the fall and winter, each batch is made with over two tons of fresh ginger for extra spice during the cool-weather months. The brand was recently selected for the acclaimed Chobani Food Incubator program, and its brewing operations were recently moved to The Guild brewery in Pawtucket. The new seasonal release is naturally gluten free with four times less sugar than other ginger beers. It is currently available in four-packs of twelve-ounce cans for $8.99 and on draft at select restaurants and bars throughout Metro Boston, Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, the South and North Shores of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. For more information, visit thefarmerwillies.com.

Join The District for lunch or dinner and enjoy a wood-fired pizza such as barbecue chicken or tequila thyme. A build-your-own-pizza option is also available, so you can make it just how you like it. The District is open Tues. through Sat. for lunch and dinner and on Sunday for brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and later in the day for Sunday dinner. Evening and weekend complimentary parking is available. For more information call 401-421-0050 or visit the districtri.com.

Tumblesalts Café is a new neighborhood bistro located in “Hopscotch Village” at 2209 Mineral Spring Ave. in Providence. The whimsical menu features more than just coffee, bagels and muffins. Their full kitchen allows them to create gourmet foods including tapas and paninis for guests to enjoy. Whether you sit in the café, tavern or pub, there is something on the menu that everyone in the family can enjoy. Learn more here.

Olivia Culpo’s restaurant, Back 40 in North Kingstown, is now open. The former Miss USA and Miss Universe teamed up with her father Peter Culpo, cousin Joshua Culpo and business partner Justin Dalton-Ameen, both with roots in Rhode Island, who own and operate Lulu’s Allston. Peter Culpo owns several bars and restaurants in Boston, including The Hill Tavern in Beacon Hill, Woody’s Grill and Tap in the Fenway and both Parish Cafes in Boston. Read more here.

Boom! Brick Oven on Main is a new restaurant that just opened at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, offering a wide variety of selections. For more information, visit boom.rest.

Bayberry Beer Hall, a German-style communal restaurant is now open at 381 West Fountain St. in Providence. Get a look inside.

Liberty Donuts opened a storefront at 22 Long Wharf South in Newport. The shop sells state fair-worthy gourmet doughnut creations every day from 6 a.m.–2 p.m., and has an ice cream shop attached to it that is open from 3–8 p.m. The team of doughnut artisans at Liberty Donuts has created an exclusive line of thirteen different specialty donuts, one of the most popular being the Liberty Donut, a vanilla glazed treat with red, white and blue sprinkles. For more information, call 401-847-1320 or click here.

Check out Black Duck Tavern at 31 Warren Ave., in East Providence, a newly opened pub that serves an impressive beer selection. Now open on weekdays starting at 4 p.m. for dinner and open starting at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Click here for more information.

Instacart is a new service available in Rhode Island that makes it easier to get your groceries and everyday essentials delivered right to your door on the same day that you order, maybe even in one hour. Products will be coming from popular local stores including Whole Foods Market, Stop and Shop, PriceRite, BJ’s, CVS and even from Petco for your family pet. For more information or to see if your area will be serviced, check out instacart.com.

 

 

COMING SOON

The Shop at Fox Point owners are working on opening a temporary popup coffee shop called the Shack in the southern portion of Parcel 22 in the Interstate 195 Redevelopment District. According to Providence Business News, construction has already begun on the project that will involve a food concession, event venue and public space in the vacant area until it is permanently developed. The building will also involve Dune Brothers Seafood, landscape architect Design Under Sky and the event and creative marketing company Stay Silent PVD.

Laughing Gorilla Catering has a new bricks and mortar home for its restaurant. Chef Jason Timothy, partner Sean Larkin and crew has moved into the former Bocado space in Olneyville. While they renovate the place, they are hosting occasional popup taco shop and patio events and at the location.

Frisky Fries will soon open a second storefront in downtown Providence on the corner of Washington and Mathewson streets.

 

 

CLOSINGS

Faust German restaurant and beer hall inside the Dean Hotel closed, but something special will replace it. And that special something is north. North is coming soon in fall 2017.

Aurora in downtown Providence will be closing its doors in October. From the Facebook page: “This wonderful space that has previously housed The Black Rep and Roots Cafe has under Aurora’s tenure been a vibrant venue for creative expression and community interactions. It’s provided a destination for live music, DJ’s, up and coming music producers, hip hop, rock n roll, salsa and Latin dance, jazz, film screenings, analytical discussions and panels, a bona fide independent theater company, community organizations, delicious craft cocktails, and even the occasional wedding! We’ve seen Aurora flourish over these past three and a half years because of those who came to share their experiences and talents in the space. We would like to thank all of our incredible patrons, performers and staff for the great energy that they brought into this space. We plan to celebrate each remaining day with our programming partners, friends and family.”

 

 

NOTABLES

Newport Vineyards has won gold and silver from the thirteenth Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. The Vineyards’ 2016 dry rose brought home gold as the best of category for Vinifera Rose Wine and silver was awarded for the 2016 Gewürztraminer in the best of category for Gewürztraminer. Both wines have been top sellers during the 2017 season and have sold out before the end of the season.

Ben and Heidi Sukle’s Oberlin restaurant earned a glowing review from New York Times critic Pete Wells. Read “A Providence Chef Has Connections at the Docks.”

Dine with the family at Wright’s Farm Restaurant, named one of the top mom-and-pop restaurants in the country by the Food Network. Over the past fifty-plus years, the family-style restaurant has served famous chicken dinners, alongside pasta marinara, fresh bread rolls, french fries and salad with housemade tangy Italian dressing. Mission in Newport is also mentioned for its “locally raised beef burgers, hot dogs and falafel,” and “Mission sauce.” To read the article, click here.

Melissa Denmark, executive pastry chef from Gracie’s, earned a spot in Zagat‘s 2017 30 Under 30 list. For the last six years, Zagat’s 30 Under 30 program has honored hundreds of young exceptional hospitality professionals in major markets all over the country. From the article: “At Gracie’s, Denmark works with a small team to create tasting menus consisting of around seven different desserts each night, while at Ellie’s she assists in large-scale productions, churning out laminated doughs, French macarons and more in the wee hours of the night.”

 

Bucktown was named a top 50 finalist in Bon Appetit’s “America’s Best New Restaurants 2017.” The article says, “Chef Ashley Faulkner and her co-owner Adam Mir’s hole-in-the-wall nails those craveable Southern masterpieces—fried shrimp po’boys, hushpuppies with honey butter, banana pudding—in a low-key bar setting.”


 

 

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