Diner’s Update

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

By Jamie Coelho, Samantha Labrecque and Amanda Levenson

July–August 2017


Throughout July and August, experience Cocktail Wars at various locations in Newport. Sip your way around the city at competitions every Sunday from noon to 2 p.m., at locations like Christie’s, Hotel Viking, the Grace Vanderbilt Hotel and more.  For additional information, visit cocktailwarsnewport.com.

Through 9/15

Luxe Burger Bar, 5 Memorial Blvd. in Providence, is hosting the seventh annual Build Your Own Burger contest. Participants can submit their burger recipe idea through Sept. 15 to enter for a chance to win $1,000 in prizes and have their recipe featured on the menu. For more information and to enter, visit luxeburgerbar.com.

8/20, 8/21, 9/29

Ella’s in Westerly is hosting exclusive dinners on Aug. 20 and 21, as well as Sept. 29, during which food and wine pairings will be served. Aug. 20 and 21 will feature the William Cole Wine Dinner with William Ballentine of William Cole Vineyard. A four-course dinner will be created by chef Jeanie Roland, and will be paired with the Cole Vineyard wines. On Sept. 29, Ariane Daguin, owner of d’Artagnan Foods, will prepare a multi-course meal paired with French wines. The dinners will begin at 6 p.m. and cost $120 per person. To reserve a spot or for more information, call 401-315-0606 or visit ellasfinefoodanddrink.com.

8/21 and 8/22

Join Eat Drink RI for the pond-to-plate Matunuck Oyster Farm dinner series in South Kingstown. This experience begins at 3 p.m., with a personalized tour of the private vegetable farm on Potter Pond with owner Perry Raso followed by bubbles and a raw bar with fresh oysters harvested directly from the pond. After the tour, enjoy dinner paired with wines by The Wine Bros. and the Savory Grape in Matunuck’s lush, organic vegetable farm, overlooking the coastal lagoon. Tickets are on sale here for $189 per guest, all-inclusive. Follow Eat Drink RI on Facebook and Instagram for photos and more information.

8/22, 9/9

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will host a series of free recreational clamming workshops this summer.  The workshops are led by a local shellfisherman, who will discuss the history and value of shellfishing in Rhode Island and provide an opportunity for participants to dig for their own clams. Visit dem.ri.gov/are to see the schedule, and register by contacting Kimberly Sullivan at Kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov.


Looking for a restaurant with a view? Well look no further — Blackstone Culinaria and Tavern on the Water in Smithfield are partnering together on Wed., August 23, to offer a delicious meal prepared tableside by the reservoir. This new American restaurant will be serving its most popular dish, pasta jambalaya with penne pasta, shrimp, chourico and chicken in a Cajun cream sauce. Tickets for this event are $22 per person. For reservations, call 401-724-2200 or book online here.


The Premium Wine Dinner will be held at Mill’s Tavern, located at 101 North Main St. in Providence, in honor of the restaurant’s fourth Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Starting at 6 p.m., the restaurant will showcase a six-course meal paired with award-winning wines. Tickets are $125 per guest.


Attend the first annual RI Feeds RI Concert/Dinner to End Hunger starting at 5:30 p.m. at the MET in Pawtucket. Jen Chapin, singer, songwriter and activist, will bring her trio, with Stephan Crump on acoustic bass and Jamie Fox on electric guitar, to Rhode Island to perform a concert to benefit local hunger relief charities. She continues the work of her late father, Harry Chapin, who founded WhyHunger in 1975 to end hunger and bring justice to all.  Jen and her Trio will be joined by Rhode Island’s hunger relief activist Chakulla, who has has shared the stage with Richie Havens, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Buddy Miles and many others. A special meet and greet, farm-to-table dinner and dessert auction will start at 5:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.


Chomp Kitchen and Drinks, located at 440 Child St. in Warren, has teamed up with Trillium Brewing Company for an inaugural beer fest featuring some of the world’s best craft beer, delicious food and live music from local musicians. The beer fest will be open to the public in two sessions, noon–3 p.m. and 5–8 p.m. The cost for each session is $40 per person, and includes one Trillium beer ticket, one burger or sandwich from Chomp Kitchen and Drinks and a commemorative sixteen ounce tulip glass. Additional beer and food will be available for purchase. This is a twenty-one plus event. For tickets or more information, click here or visit chompri.com.


To celebrate the release of Narragansett Beer’s new creation, Bancroft Up or Down Ale, Narragansett is throwing the first ever ‘Gansett Open on Aug. 26 at the Guild at 461 Main St. in Pawtucket. A tribute to the historic Bancroft Tennis Company, this beer celebrates Rhode Island’s ties to the world of tennis and is proudly brewed at Narragansett Brewery at The Guild in Pawtucket (which just so happens to be on the same property as the old Bancroft factory.) The event will go from 4 to 8 p.m., and will feature a full-on Nintendo Wii tennis tournament, music from DJ Haulin’ Boats, food trucks, badminton and surprise guests.


Blues, barbecue, bourbon and beer will be on hand from 2–10 p.m. at the Blues and BBQ Festival, located at the newly opened Bold Point Park in East Providence. The music and food festival will headline the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, the Silks, the Barrett Anderson Band, Cannibal Ramblers and Cee Cee and the Riders. BBQ Alley will feature a variety of food trucks, including Binge BBQ, GottaQ, Frozen Hoagies, Ocean Spray and more. General admission tickets start at $21.75. For more ticket information and performance times, visit riwaterfrontevents.com.


Enjoy a family fun day of kayak and paddleboard races on the beach, costumes, a parade, and, of course, great food trucks and vendors at the New England Quahog Festival at North Kingstown Town Beach! For more information, click here.


Join Gracie’s at the Rotunda Ballroom at Easton’s Beach in Newport for the dessert-focused dining event, Sucree: Seaside Garden Party. Chefs from PVDonuts, Sin Desserts and Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery will present their very own signature dessert course which will be focused on the best of New England’s seasonal bounty. Hors d’oeuvres will also be served during cocktail hour and cocktails will be paired with each course of the tasting to complement the desserts. The event will take place from 7:30–10 p.m. and tickets cost $80 per person. For more information or to reserve a seat, call 401-272-7811 or visit graciesprov.com.


New Rivers at 7 Steeple St. in Providence will host its first ever Corn Dinner, offering a limited regular menu and an a la carte corn menu with the option to “eat the whole menu.” The restaurant will celebrate all things corn in countless ways. The entire kitchen team just completed a tour at Four Town Farm and is inspired by the indigenous crop. These dinners give chefs an opportunity to focus on one special ingredient and experiment and play. Call 401-751-0350 to book spots, and visit newriversrestaurant.com for more information.


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 second dinner takes place August 29 with chef Derek Wagner at Nicks on Broadway 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.


Chez Pascal, located at 960 Hope St. in Providence, will host its annual Tomato Dinner, which features five courses that incorporate the tomato. The Tomato Dinner Menu will be the only menu offered that evening, and the Wurst Kitchen will be closed that night. Menu thoughts will be coming soon. Tickets are $75 per person, not including tax, gratuity or beverages. Reservations must be made over the phone at 401-421-4422. Visit chez-pascal.com for more information.


It’s a day dedicated to Rhode Island beer. The Rhode Island Brewer’s Guild will host its third annual Ocean State Beer Fest from 1 to 4 p.m. at Whalers Brewing Co. in Wakefield. Each brewery will bring two to three of their year-round or seasonal beers, plus one special “festival only” brew available exclusively at the event. Tickets are $35, and proceeds from the festival benefit the Rhode Island Brewers Guild.


Forget baseball; let’s talk beer. At the PawSox Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival, the field at McCoy Stadium will be taken over by food trucks and craft beer from 6-10 p.m.. In addition, there will be live music and old school hip-hop music videos on the center field video board. Admission is $15 for people younger than twenty-one, and $20 for twenty-one plus.


Ella’s in Westerly is hosting cooking classes Saturday, Aug. 12 and Sept. 16 where guests will have the chance to learn cooking instructions from a chef, eat lunch, have drinks and take home recipes to try at home! The cost for the cooking classes is $125 and the sessions start at noon. To reserve a spot or for more information, call 401- 315-0606 or visit ellasfinefoodanddrink.com.


Discover and explore a variety of natural wines at the fourth annual Raw Wine tasting at the Steel Yard in Providence with Campus Fine Wines, a shop which sells natural and organic wines in Providence. There will be a special preview exclusive tasting starting at 5 p.m., where an undisclosed celebrity guest will be in attendance. In addition, there will also be gourmet artisan bites to eat and music to round out an end-of-the-summer evening! Special preview tickets cost $75 per person. General admission will be allowed entrance from 6–9 p.m. and tickets are $50 in advance and $65 at the door. Click here for more information.


Smoke House restaurant, located at 31 Scotts Wharf in Newport, will host its third and final annual Newport Storm Beer Dinner on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. The cost is $49 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Visit the website at smokehousenewport.com or call 401-848-9800 to make a reservation.


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.


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.


Child and Family RI will host the thirty-fourth annual Taste of Newport at the Atlantic Resort, 240 Aquidneck Ave., from 5 to 8 p.m. Interact with hundreds of Rhode Islanders while enjoying great food and silent auctions. For more information, visit childandfamilyri.com.



Join Parkside Rotisserie and Bar for lobsters, steamers and oysters now until Labor Day. Every Friday, all day long, Parkside will be offering seasonal favorites to end the summer with a bang! They will also continue to offer $1 oysters every Tuesday and Friday too! For more information, call 401-331-0003.

Chez Pascal in Providence is offering its own fun take on the lobster roll from now through August, every night except Mondays. Don’t forget Monday is Burger Night! The lobster roll is $18, it’s served with a side of cucumber, corn and feta salad, and it’s available in addition to the regular menu inside the restaurant, at the Wurst Kitchen and at the window.

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 eating it too! Each dinner is served with wine as well. For dates and additional information click here.

The Grace Vanderbilt hotel is offering a new Bottomless Rose Brunch every weekend of summer 2017. The brunch features the wine, poured tableside out of magnum bottles. For the champagne lovers, the property has also introduced its champagne roof deck where guests can sip Dom Perignon by the glass while enjoying incredible views of the Newport harbor.

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.

The Hotel Viking‘s Top of Newport and One Bellevue’s patios feature tons of dining specials available each day of the week. Top of Newport is an al fresco rooftop restaurant and bar with views of Newport Harbor. Weekly specials include craft beer and burger night on Mondays for $11.99, Taco-Rita Tuesday (tacos paired with a margarita for $11.99), Wednesday’s Spirits and Stogies three-course dinner, Half-Price Raw Bar on Fridays from 2-6 p.m. and a Sunday Bloody Mary Bar. For details on all of these specials and more info about One Bellevue, click here.

PVD Food Truck events welcomes the return of the signature event, 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.

The owners of Evelyn’s Drive-In in Tiverton are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary running the iconic Tiverton seafood restaurant by offering special prices on classic shore dishes. All summer long, you can order fish and chips for $10.99 on Mondays, $5 chowder and clam cakes Monday through Thursday and $30 dinners for two on Wednesdays. You can even dock your boat there for a bite to eat. Call 401-624-3100 for more information.




Liberty Donuts now has 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 have 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.

A Greek restaurant, KLEOS, from the owners of Rosalina, soft opened on July 17 in Providence. Read about what to expect here. Book your OpenTable reservation.

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.

Feast and Fettle is testing out a new lunch program that delivers lunches to the East Bay and Providence areas on Sunday evenings. Lunches are available in bundles, either three lunches for $33 or five lunches for $50. Lunches may vary. For more information on what types of lunches are available or how to place an order, contact Feast and Fettle at contact@feastandfettle.com or click here.

Dave’s Coffee locations in Providence and Charlestown are now offering two varieties of nitro cold brew iced coffee on tap at the espresso bars. Dave’s Falcon and Red Island Nitro Cold Brew are both on tap and poured fresh from the keg.

Anchor Toffee now has a storefront at 8 Bowen’s Wharf in Newport. The shop is selling almond butter toffee made with almonds, sweet cream butter, pure sugar, salt and dark chocolate.




Laughing Gorilla Catering has a new bricks and mortar home for its restaurant. After temporarily taking over the Kitchen space while its owner recovered from illness, chef Jason Timothy, partner Sean Larkin and crew will be moving into the former Bocado space in Olneyville. While they renovate the place, they will launch popup patio events at the location, and cover festivals and other events around town. (Photo at right by Sean Larkin).

VURRITO is coming soon to Rhode Island! The business will be Rhode Island’s first Mexican-inspired, whole-food, plant-based, food truck sourcing fresh, local and 100 percent vegan ingredients. VURRITO launched a crowdfunding campaign via INDIEGOGO on June 20, 2017 to help raise $10,000 for the down payment on a food truck. It intends to be up and running by August 2017. Contribute here.

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

Bayberry Beer Hall is coming soon to the West Side of Providence. The focus is on American craft beer, locally sourced casual dining and a warm, welcoming communal atmosphere. The menu will change frequently, but there will be shared charcuterie boards, sausage sandwiches, housemade pretzels and mussels with crusty bread. Read all about it here.




Photo from Doherty’s Facebook page.

This week has brought forward a glut of closing announcements in downtown Providence and Pawtucket. Here are some of the spots we will miss:

Doherty’s East Avenue Irish Pub in Pawtucket has closed its doors for good after filing for bankruptcy, as reported by WPRI.

Faust German restaurant and beer hall inside the Dean Hotel will be closing its doors after August 12, but something special will replace it. And that special something is north. North is coming soon in fall 2017.

Say Cheese is saying goodbye to downtown Providence, citing on its Facebook page that the move is due to customer feedback about lack of parking, and a desire for a full bar and expanded menu  A new full service location will be announced on its Facebook and Instagram pages soon. Say Cheese’s last day of food service will be Friday, August 18.

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.”




As families get ready to send kids back to school, easy weeknight suppers and lunches can make busy lives less stressful. Attleboro, Massachusetts-based Willow Tree offers pot pies and ready-to-eat chicken salads that can be served with minimal prep and cleanup. Willow Tree first opened as a farm stand in 1954, and now it’s a family-owned brand that has grown into a New England icon. Chicken pies include white meat chicken, scratch-made crust and home-style gravy. Pair pies with a salad, and suddenly getting a meal on the table is as easy as chicken pot pie. Willow Tree also features a variety of seasonal recipes that incorporate their classic chicken salads. The chicken salads make putting together lunch for kids as easy as peanut butter and jelly (but even healthier).

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.”

In the Food Network story, “50 States of Baked Goods,” Lil Rhody was represented by hermit cookies from DeLuise Bakery in Providence. The rectangular, molasses-based cookies are fragrant and sweet, and can be purchased at the bakery located at 1251 Chalkstone Ave.

Rhode Island has been honored in Wine Spectator’s 2017 Restaurant Awards, which highlight restaurants around the world that offer the best wine selections. The local winners include Jamestown FiSH, Castle Hill Inn, Coast Guard House, White Horse Tavern, 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar and Grille, Fluke Wine Bar and Kitchen, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar, Spiced Pear, Chapel Grille and Caffe Itri. The complete list of winners is featured in Wine Spectator’s August issue, on newsstands July 18.

 The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced access to prime shellfishing areas has been expanded under the Department’s annual shellfish harvesting reclassification. Among the changes, restrictions on portions of Upper Narragansett Bay – in place for the last seventy years – will be lifted; all of Cormorant Cove on Block Island will be open to shellfishing for the first time in a decade; and the seasonal closure of Greenwich Bay will be eliminated.



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