Diner’s Update

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

By Orrin Hanratty, Dillon Stambaugh and Jamie Coelho

April–June 2017

Now through 5/12

The oyster farmers who are producing the fifth annual Walrus and Carpenter Oyster Farm Dinner Series had an emergency press conference to announce the new lottery ticketing system that makes securing the dinner reservations on a sandbar near the oyster farm as fair as possible. Sign up for the lottery for a chance to get a spot on the dinner list. Yes, you still have to pay for it, but it sure beats hitting refresh and finding out the dinner sold out in less than two minutes. The lottery enrollment is open from now until Friday, May 12, and the drawing will take place Tuesday, May 16 on Facebook Live. If you earn a spot, Walrus and Carpenter will contact you by May 19. To enter your name in the lottery, click here.

4/27

AIDS Care Ocean State has enlisted bars, restaurants and clubs to participate in Paint the Town Red, a benefit to raise funds for the organization’s mission to assist people and families affected by HIV/AIDS. On April 27, these restaurants will contribute 15, 20 or 30 percent of their total sales on this one day to help provide housing, case management, medical care and prevention services. When people, organizations and businesses with good intentions work together, there is no such thing as an unreachable goal. Join here. Learn more about Paint the Town Red here.

4/27

New Rivers in Providence is hosting Fried Chicken Night! All natural birds take a dip in a secret buttermilk brine and then go into a top-secret dredge and then into the pot they go. There are lots of other southern inspired small plates for everyone to choose from and the full regular menu as well. Call 401-751-0350 to reserve  your spots now. These do typically sell out.

4/27−4/29

The sixth annual Eat Drink RI Festival kicks off on Wed., April 26 with the sold-out Fiestaval featuring the Backyard Food Company with help from Easy Entertaining. The Backyard Food Company will reveal its new product line on that night! Thurs., April 27 is the night of Dinner by Dames, a multi-course dining event showcasing five of Rhode Island’s top women chefs. The event is also sold out, but begins at 6 p.m. and costs $150 for a five-course meal with cocktail pairings. Tax, tip and charitable donation are included in the price. The following day, the sold out Truck Stop will benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank where guests will experience the Ocean State’s most delicious mobile cuisine. Lastly, attend Saturday’s Grand Tasting (the only event for which tickets are still available!) and sample elegant beer, wine, spirits and local artisanal foods. Tickets are $75 and all inclusive. Buy ickets here. Learn more about the Eat Drink RI Festival here.

4/28-4/29

The Newport Craft Beer Festival begins with a special event at Newport Storm Brewery on Fri., April 28 from 8–10 p.m., and the festival on Sat., April 29 from noon–3 p.m. and 4–7 p.m.  This festival is strictly a twenty-one-plus event. Friday VIB tickets are $35, and Saturday tickets are $45. Tickets include admission, unlimited beer samples, live music and a souvenir glass. For tickets and up to date information, visit newportcraftbeer.com.

4/28−4/30

Rhode Island will be well-represented at popular cocktail festival Thirst Boston this year with a team of Rhode Island bartenders. Kayleigh Speck (the Grange and Durks Bar-B-Q), Meghan Freitas (Statesman Tavern), Catherine Hood (the Eddy), and Matt Simmons (Ogie’s Trailer Park) will make up a cabaret-themed bar team. South Kingstown’s Son’s of Liberty will also be in attendance sponsoring the event and representing Rhody. The event runs three days, April 28–30.

5/2−5/7

Cook and Brown Public House is transforming into a Mexican restaurant for the entire week surrounding Cinco de Mayo. The crew at C&B will be serving housemade tortillas, tequila and mezcal cocktails, and classic Mexican food. Forget Wednesday nights of burgers, beer and bourbon — indulge in tacos, tequila and Tecate. The special menu will be served from May 2–7. The normal menu will not be available, however, the restaurant will be open regular hours, including Saturday and Sunday brunch. a A portion of proceeds from the menu will be donated to the Tequila Interchange Project.  You can also take a look at the Cinco de Mayo Menus.

5/3

The next generation of chefs is here. On May 3, the public is invited to attend the 2017 Rhode Island Seafood Cookoff, a team competition featuring student chefs from across Rhode Island. Teams will battle to produce the best scallop recipe, which will be decided by the audience, and then be featured at Trio Restaurant in Narragansett. The event is free, but reservations are required. Call 401-874-6805 to secure your spot.

5/5

Castle Hill Inn is going to be giving customers an inside look at their culinary secrets! May 5-7 will be the first of two cooking weekends this year. This first weekend will focus on sharpening your chef skills to prepare for the local produce coming in the summer. The weekend will feature classes by executive chef Lou Rossi, pastry chef Christina Mercado, as well as wine education from beverage director Anthony Boi.

5/5

The Coast Guard House’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine Dinner features a five-course meal that will include seafood, such as, oysters, butter poached lobster and roasted halibut. Other foods like fava been ravioli, buttered toast, poached eggs, yuzu butter and pickled lychee, hollandaise mousseline will be offered with an assortment of vegetables, including local mushroom tempura, nori carrot, cucumber and radish salad, roasted tomatoes and asparagus and cucumber gazpacho. The meal will be finished off with a dessert of Mignardise. To accompany this meal will be six different types of Champagne and sparkling wines ranging from Moet Imperial Brut to Chandon Etoile Rose to Vueve Clicqout Demi. The event will take place at the Coast Guard House on Fri., May 5 at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $94 per person, not including additional tax and gratuity. Reservations are required by calling 401-789-0700.

5/6

The vendor list for #TacoFestPVD2017 is out and looking good. On May 6 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. experience all different types of tacos along with beverages, including margaritas and sangrias, from Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails, Aurora and Trinity Brewhouse at Grant’s Block (260 Westminster street). Aside from mouthwatering tacos and cocktails, these Rock ‘n’ Roll yard sale vendors will be lining the streets with vintage records and clothing: Ape + Bird, Apsara Design, Dave Hudon Records, Diane Hoffman textiles, Esoterica Jewlery, Funeral Ephemera, Homestead at Red Barn, Howling Noon, Iamtra, I Want a Pony!, James H. Draper & Co. and many more. Fun for hipsters and foodies alike.

5/14

Celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day with an elegant Afternoon Tea at Rosmarin inside the Hotel Providence, featuring sweet and savory delights curated by chef Massimilliano Mariotta, a signature cocktail and a variety of freshly brewed loose leaf teas from around the world. Availability is from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Visitors will enjoy a feast for both their eyes and palates as they listen to live instrumental music, orchestrated by Matt Knippley. A portion of all VIP tickets will be donated to help support the mothers of the Sojourner House. Tickets are $55-$65 per person and can be purchased here.

5/16  

The third and final event in the Blackstone Culinaria Tour will head to Tugas Restaurant in Pawtucket. The evening promises not only a delicious meal but also a learning opportunity as owner and chef Sandy Batista will demonstrate the process for making the meal for the evening: carne de porco alentejana and giardineira (pork medallions, cubed fries and clams topped with pickled vegetables). Sandy will also share some information about the port wines of Portugal and, of course, have a tasting. The event begins at 6 p.m. and costs $22 per person, plus gratuity and a ticket fee. Purchase your ticket at blackstoneculinaria.com or call 401-724-2200.

5/17

On Wed., May 17 from 5–7 p.m. the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Providence will host the sixth annual Global Day of Discovery. This is a day dedicated to helping guests discover the flavors of the city. Food at this year’s event will be offered by Public Kitchen and Bar, Pane E Vino, Massimo, Fusion Gourmet, Mike’s Ice and the hotel events team. Foolproof Brewery, Narragansett Brewery and Sons of Liberty will also offer tastings. Kent Stetson will be onsite continue his mission of protecting the world from boring handbags. Musical performances by the Rhode Island Bucket Drummers and Becky Bass will keep you moving throughout the evening. By posting pictures of this event on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtags #renhotels #businessunusual #pvdren you will be entered to win a complimentary overnight stay for two. RSVP by Fri., May 12.

5/19 and 5/24

Willow Tree, producers of the revered locally produced chicken salad, are deputing a new look for their brand. You are invited to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary with 1954 prices for all chicken pies on Fri., May 19 at the Attleboro retail store. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, check the website or call 508-222-2479.

5/19

The Newport Oyster Festival Opening Night Party will take place at Bowen’s Wharf from 6-8:30 p.m. The party is sponsored by Moët to benefit the Ocean State Aquaculture Association and Oliver Hazard Perry. Tickets are $150 and limited to 150 people, and include all-you-can-eat, freshly shucked oysters from local growers and an open bar. Guests will be served signature Oyster Festival drinks and a variety of different oyster-based delicacies from the Ocean State’s best chefs. Growers will also be on site for guests to ask questions. Purchase tickets here.

5/20-5/21

Taste your way around the Ocean State at the Newport Oyster Festival, featuring oysters from more than thirteen different Rhode Island growers. Tickets are $25 (plus handling fee) each day for Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21. The events take place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., though you should choose the first or second session. Advance purchase tickets include four fresh, Rhode Island oysters and a beverage ticket for Champagne, a cocktail or beer, or an non-alcoholic beverage, which you can collect at the main entrance check-in. Tickets for additional oysters will be sold on site for $2/oyster. There will be live music daily, and a shucking contest on Sunday at 3 p.m. Stop and learn from aquaculture and reef restoration educators on site from the Nature Conservancy, URI/Sea Grant and others in a family-friendly, historic waterfront shopping and dining district. Learn more here.

5/20

As the ongoing excitement of Willow Tree Week continues, Willow Tree Poultry Farm would like you to bring everyone down for a day of fun. “Family Fun Day” is on Sat., May 20 from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at the retail store in Attleboro. There will be balloon animals, fire trucks and free food from local vendors. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, check the website or call 508-222-2479.

6/10

The eighth annual benefit for the University of Rhode Island’s Women’s Athletics program is coming up. An Evening of Grapes and Grain will support the development of women in the work force through academics and participation in athletics. The night will include a wide selection of fine wines, specialty beers and select foods provided by area businesses, as well as entertainment and auction items donated by members of the community. Registration is $125 per person and guests must be twenty-one and older. The event is on Sat., June 10 from 5–8 p.m. on the President’s House Lawn at URI. Click on the link above or call 401-874-2024 for details.

6/15−6/16

Crave RI, the newest installment of the CVS Health Charity Classic, will take place June 15 and 16 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in downtown Providence. The inaugural two-day food festival will feature more than eighty restaurants from the Ocean State as well as 100 beer and wine purveyors. Restaurants will include Gracie’s, Matunuck Oyster Bar, Duck and Bunny, Narragansett Beer and more. The event will run 5:30–10 p.m. both days and precede the Charity Classic golf outing. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

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.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

The owners of Evelyn’s Drive-In are celebrating their thirtieth anniversary running the iconic Tiverton seafood restaurant. Now that they are open for the season, they will run 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. There will also be an anniversary bash in June. You can even dock your boat there for a bite to eat. Call 401-624-3100 for more information

Now through May 28 (while supplies last), Wendy’s customers at participating locations in Rhode Island can get eight free Jr. Frosty coupons for $1 with support of Adoption Rhode Island. Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas was adopted, and the purpose of the promotion is to assist children in state care waiting for families. Coupons are valid through June 30, 2017.

Beginning April 9, participating Panera Bread locations across Rhode Island will fundraise for Children’s Friend, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting vulnerable children in the Ocean State. Customers who donate to the cause will receive a special Children’s Friend bracelet.

Statesman Tavern in Bristol is offering a family-style supper menu Tuesday through Thursday evenings, featuring dishes that are designed to be split between two guests. Tuesday features whole roasted chickens with buttermilk biscuits, charred kale and quinoa salad with mustard gravy for $50; Wednesday features a tomahawk ribeye with confit fingerlings, roasted Brussels sprouts, onion rings and chimichurri for $75; Thursday is a whole fried Acadian red fish with frisee lardon salad, saffron littlenecks and mussels and coconut jasmine rice for $40. Call 401-396-5115 for reservations.

Trattoria Zooma in Providence is offering affordable lunch and dinner specials during the week. For lunch, enjoy three “fresh and fast” courses for $15.95 from 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Later in the evening, enjoy dinner for two and a bottle of wine for $35.  The dinner special is available Monday through Thursday between 4–7 p.m. Call 401-383-2002 for reservations.

Narragansett Cafe in Jamestown hosts Italian Night every Wednesday from 5-9 p.m. when you can enjoy dinner for two with a bottle of wine for only $24.95. Don’t miss the Blues, Bloodies and Brunch series every Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

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 an 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.

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.

 

OPENINGS AND LAUNCHES

Chianti’s in East Greenwich has rebranded as SafeHouse Modern Neighborhood Eatery. The design was originally inspired by the ski culture of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Vermont living then infused with a contemporary influence. The upscale eatery focuses on fresh local ingredients, hand cut steaks, fresh caught seafood from sustainable sources, hand-crafted pastas, and a few famous Chianti’s inspired authentic Italian dishes. It also offers outdoor dining.

The pizza business is heating up! Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, a south Florida-based company that uses coal ovens to bake pizzas at 800 degrees, making for light, crispy crusts that have a great texture while not overcooking the toppings. Other signature recipes for Anthony’s include hand-rolled meatballs and oven-roasted chicken wings. Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza is open at Garden City in Cranston.

Providence Coal Fired Pizza has officially opened the doors to a third location in Westerly. The Providence-based pizza restaurant originated on Westminster Street and has previously opened a location in North Kingstown. Providence Coal Fired Pizza in Westerly is located on Granite Street.

DenDen Korean Fried Chicken has opened on Angell Street in Providence. Located in the former Spats Grill and Bar, it is an expansion for DenDen Hospitality, which currently runs DenDen Cafe Asiana, known for its delicious and authentic Korean and Japanese food.

The Marina Pub on Goat Island is opening for another season on May 1. Two bars will serve creative cocktails and craft beers, and the menu is a casual selection of  seafood, sandwiches, salads and specials.

 

COMING SOON

Harry’s Bar and Burger is opening a third location in Lincoln and fourth location in Newport. Taking over the former Overtime Bar and Grille, the Lincoln site is ready to bring the northwestern corner of Rhode Island the same level of service that CNN named #1 Burger in America. Harry’s is known for its sliders made from freshly ground certified Hereford beef and its extensive craft beer list. Don’t worry; they are bringing their signature “Happy Hour” with them, with half off burgers from 3−5 p.m. every day. Call 401-228-7437 for details.

The plant-based, fast-casual brand by Chloe. will open its first Rhode Island location by Summer of 2017 at 223 Thayer St. in Providence. The menu is free of meat, dairy and egg products, as well as of saturated animal fat, added preservatives and artificial flavors. Visit eatbychloe.com or follow @eatbychloe for more information.

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

Sydney Providence has broken ground on a sister restaurant called Quay, which will open this summer on the Riverwalk. Follow it on Facebook for details.

 

CLOSINGS

Tallulah on Thames in Newport has closed, and will be replaced with Harry’s Bar and Burger at the end of May.

 

NOTABLES

On Left: Jonathan Feiler, representing the Ocean House, Watch Hill Inn and the Weekapaug Inn, with Lloyd Albert, AAA Senior VP, Public and Government Affairs. On right: Alan Freudeman and Ellen Slattery of Gracie’s with Lloyd Albert and Kendal Fitzsimmons of Gracie’s.

Sixteen hotels and restaurants in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts are recipients of the 2017 AAA Four Diamond Award. Less than four percent of the 59,000 properties evaluated receive the prestigious Four Diamond designation. AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct independent, in-person property evaluations for more than eighty years. An awards ceremony was held at Gracie’s in Providence to acknowledge this year’s winners. The restaurant recipients are: Spiced Pear Restaurant, Newport (2004); the Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn, Newport (2016); the Vanderbilt Grill at Vanderbilt Grace, Newport (2012); Gracie’s, Providence (2011); and Seasons at the Ocean House, Watch Hill (2010). To see all of the AAA Diamond hotel award winners, click here.

Congratulations to chef Benjamin Sukle of birch and Oberlin for his James Beard Foundation 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards Finalist nomination for Best Chef: Northeast. Chef Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway was also a semifinalist nominee. The final Restaurant and Chef Awards will be announced at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 1, as well as in real time on Twitter.

Time Inc.’s Coastal Living brand ranked the 20 All-Time Best Seafood Dives, and Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House in Warwick made #14 on the list to represent Rhode Island.

Executive chef Rachel Klein is joining Red Stripe. Her accolades include two Esquire “Best New Restaurants in America” awards for Lot 401 and Om, Boston’s “Best New Chef” awards from Boston Globe and Boston magazine, as well as an appearance on the TV Food Network’s “Chopped.”  Chef Klein’s ties to Encore Hospitality go back fifteen years, when she was the chef de cuisine at XO Cafe as Mill’s Tavern was opening next door.

Camille’s Restaurant, a culinary landmark on Providence’s historic Federal Hill, has named Cranston native, Michael Pennacchia, as executive chef. Prior to joining Camille’s, Michael was chef de cuisine at Alpine Country Club, and he was classically trained at the Rhode Island School of Design in their Super Chef Series.

Siena Providence and East Greenwich are both expanding to include more space and the same atmosphere.

It might easier to get into Diego’s this summer in Newport. The Mexican restaurant is currently expanding and adding a second floor with a deck and waterfront views.

Blount Clam Shack was named the best place for “cheap eats” in Rhode Island in Travel and Leisure‘s “The Best Cheap Eats in Every State.”

 

TRANSITIONS

Sin Bakery has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for its move to the West Side of Providence. The new location on Westminster Street will allow for an expansion of Sin’s retail business. In addition to custom cakes, cupcakes and other sweets, Sin will now be offering espresso and coffee drinks and breakfast items in the morning. In the evening it will have wine, beer and cocktail pairings with plated desserts. Help the bakery raise much-needed funds and learn about great pre-sale offers here.

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