The Dish: Eat Drink RI Festival Coming Right Up

Get ready for four days of food and drink events held in Providence from April 26-29.

Los Andes at the Eat Drink RI Festival Grand Tasting. Photos by Stacey Doyle for

We’re approaching the end of April which means it’s almost time for the Eat Drink RI Festival. The sixth annual celebration packs four days of food- and drink-related events into one week from April 26 to 29. This time around, it expands with a new kickoff event as well as an even bigger Grand Tasting showcase. Be sure to get your tickets in advance as most events (besides the Grand Tasting) sell out quickly.

Here’s a rundown on what you can expect:

Last year, the Backyard Food Company debuted its pickles line at the festival.

Wed., April 26: Fiestaval

The festival kicks off this year with a special Fiestaval event featuring the Backyard Food Company at Easy Entertaining. The Best of Rhode Island Award-winning local food product company is releasing its newest item that night, and Easy Entertaining will cook up some innovative dishes using it (along with other Backyard Food Company products). The reception will also feature custom cocktails from Bootblack Brand and Sons of Liberty Beer and Spirits. The event takes place from 6−8 p.m. Tickets are only $20 each and it’s open to the public. Buy tickets here.


The women chefs of Dinner By Dames.

Thurs., April 27: Dinner By Dames

Dinner By Dames brings together a group of Rhode Island’s most talented chefs and bartenders for a multi-course feast in a brand new location, the Skyline at Waterplace in downtown Providence. This year’s Dinner by Dames is a part of Paint the Town (RED), for which a portion of proceeds will benefit AIDS Care Ocean State. Participating women include pastry chef Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith of Moonrose Farm, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Ashley Vanasse of Easy Entertaining and Jessica Wood of Fire and Water Restaurant Group. New contributors include Rebecca Lentrichia of Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel and Sarah Williams of Seven Stars Bakery. Cocktails pairings will be created for each course with direction by Jen Davis of the Eddy, as well as guest bartenders Katie Masterson of the Boombox and Nicks on Broadway, Caitlin Murphy of Statesman Tavern, Elizabeth Sawtelle of Nicks on Broadway and Kayleigh Speck of Durk’s Bar•B•Q and The Grange. Spirits will be provided by Origin Beverage Co. The evening begins with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception with welcome bites, and moves into a five-course dinner with cocktail pairings. The cost is $150 (all-inclusive). Buy tickets here.


SoulFull at the Truck Stop.

Fri., April 28: Truck Stop

SOLD OUT: The annual Truck Stop benefit for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank is expanding this year at a new location. It will move to the Food Bank’s huge lot, which will allow more trucks to participate. Twenty-one mobile food vendors will be serving tasty dishes at the fifth annual event while Superchief Trio plays live music and drinks are served by Revival Brewing Company, Jonathan Edwards Winery and Yacht Club Soda. Participating vendors include Binge BBQ, Buddha Belly, Citizen Wing, Ellie’s Bakery, Food4Good, Friskie Fries, Fugo, Gastros, Gotta Q Smokehouse BBQ, Like No Udder, Mijos Tacos, Noble Knots, O’Crepe, Open Season, Pat’s Pastured, Portu-Galo, Presto Strange O, RI Community Food Bank Community Kitchen, Rocket Fine Street Food, SoulFull and Tallulah’s Taqueria. The event takes place from 5:30−8:30 p.m.


Easy Entertaining’s Kaitlyn Roberts and Blackbird Farm’s Ann Marie Bouthillette present on the stage at the Grand Tasting.

Sat. April 29: Grand Tasting

Where else can you try up to fifty samples from local restaurants, food producers and beverage companies? The Grand Tasting portion of the festival is taking advantage of its spacious location at Rhode Island Convention Center to fill the room (and your belly) with the latest and greatest from the local food scene. There will also be food and drink presentations with some of Rhode Island’s top chefs and food personalities on the Frigidaire Professional Presentation Stage. Participants include Nicks on Broadway’s chef Derek Wagner and Eating with the Ecosystem’s Kate Masury; Federal Hill Pizza’s chef Billy Manzo and farmer Lee Ann Freitas; and Easy Entertaining’s chef Ashley Vanasse and Blackbird Farm’s Ann Marie Bouthillette. Eat Drink RI is also partnering with the Point Street Reading Series for a trio of food-author readings and signings, including Christine Chitnis, David Leite and Evan Mallett. Check out the full list of Grand Tasting tables and participants on the Exhibitors page (continually updated). The event takes place from noon−4 p.m. Grand Tasting tickets are $75 and include all food and beverage samplings, chef presentations and author signings. Buy tickets here.

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