The Dish: Diner's Update: February/ March 2016

The latest Rhode Island food, dining and restaurant news.



Get ready to layer on the capicola, ham, genoa salami, provolone cheese, peppers and more. There are still a few weeks remaining to take a bite out of an Italian favorite for Rhode Island Food Fights’ Italian Grinder Throwdown, a first of its kind for Rhode Islanders. Now through Feb. 29, experience sixteen different grinders from local sandwich shops and vote for your favorite. A sub passport includes coupons to use at sixteen spots in Rhode Island. The passport costs $20 and can be purchased here.

2/20 and 2/27

Hope and Main in Warren is hosting a children’s nutrition class called Raising Joyful Eaters, an interactive workshop to help prevent and resolve picky eating habits. Instructor Amber Yui will focus on types of eating attitudes and patterns that can be expected in children and how you can teach your child to eat healthy. The class runs from 2−3 p.m. on both days and costs $50. Registration is required here.


The local nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem will host a series of workshops this spring to introduce home cooks to the joys of cooking with whole, local fish. The series, titled School of Fish, advances the organization’s mission to help New Englanders eat a more diverse and representative array of wild seafood from our local marine ecosystems. Workshops will take place in the demonstration kitchen from 6−8 p.m. at Hope and Main and will be led by well-known local chefs Jon Cambra (Feb. 22), Joe Simone (March 21) and Max Peterson (April 25). Each class will feature one fish species prepared three ways, accompanied by instruction, conversation, tastings and wine. Tickets cost $50 and are available at


Hope and Main is hosting Grains with Joanne Dahmer. Go to this class to taste and learn about all of the grains in the world. Discussion topics include the history, origins and nutritional value of grains. The class runs from 11 a.m.−1 p.m. and costs $20 per person. Registration is required here.


Burger lovers may need to beef up their search as they look for the perfect burger. Join the Cafe at Easy Entertaining on Feb. 29 for Burger Night featuring Blackbird Farm beef and all new signature burgers from 6−9 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made at 401-437-6090.


Mill’s Tavern in Providence is hosting a five-course cocktail-pairing dinner called Winter in the Woods at 6 p.m. Sous chef Ashleigh Blais, beverage director Tom Hiller and pastry chef Samantha del Arroyo will work together to serve a meal with dishes like bourbon-glazed quail paired with a pear cocktail called Prodigy and handmade rosemary pappardelle paired with the Workhorse (rye whiskey, pomolo jam, Averna, yuzu and honey). Seared venison medallion will be paired with the Heart of Darkness cocktail, which mixes Scotch with lemongrass, ginger, Aperol, honey and lemon. Dessert will be milk chocolate caramel namelaka paired with the King of Spain Flip (brandy, port, maple, dark cacao, creme and egg). The cost of the dinner is $80 per person, not including tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made by calling 401-272-3331.

3/5 and 4/2

Delsie Catering and Events is partnering with Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket for a five-course dinner paired with Foolproof beers on March 5 and April 2. Delsie's executive chef, Edison L. Colon Torres, will prepare beer-inspired hors d’ oeuvres and multiple courses. Guests will also enjoy a tour of the brewery and an explanation of the brewing process. After cocktail hour, guests can take in the ambience of the custom decor and design produced by Delsie’s owner and creative director, Pearl Farquharson. After dinner, attendees will receive complimentary gifts, yet to be disclosed. The dinner will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $165 and available at


Head to the Barn at historic Mount Hope Farm for the Sea to Table Tasting, a night of locally-sourced seafood, craft beer and wine from 6−8 p.m. In concert with East Bay Restaurant Week, East Bay Events is hosting an evening that shines a spotlight on  local chefs and their relationships with local shellfishermen, shellfish farmers and fishermen. Enjoy offerings from Bristol Oyster Bar, Bywater, Russell Morin Catering and Events, Simone's, Bucket Brewery and Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery. Bucket Brewery is also creating a special batch, limited-edition brew created in collaboration with local chefs and fishermen.Tickets are limited and $25 each, including all food and two drinks. Additional drink tickets will be available at the event. Buy tickets here.


Nick Rabar, owner of Avenue N American Kitchen and the Pantry in Rumford, will reconstruct classics like sloppy Joes and macaroni and cheese in his signature style in view of dinner guests who will enjoy a multi-course meal. Chef Rabar is known for taking comfort food and bringing it to another level. The dinner will be held at Hope and Main’s demonstration kitchen and runs from 6−9 p.m. The cost is $100 per person, including beer and wine. Registration is required here.


Get ready for a week’s worth of meals featuring some of the best cuisine in the East Bay during East Bay Restaurant Week. Bristol Oyster Bar, Christian’s Bar and Grille, Italian Gourmet and Simone’s, just to name a few, will be serving three-course prix fixe menus. The cost for lunch is $15 and dinner options range from $25, $30 and two-for-one deals. Reserve your spot at one of the participating restaurants here.


Spring is just around the corner and wine should match the occasion. Join Easy Entertaining in Providence and the Savory Grape wine shop as they present the Rosé All Day, Rosé Wine Tasting on March 18 at 6 p.m., featuring a five-course tasting dinner. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 401-437-6090.


Kids ages four to twelve can take creativity to the next level with Project Cupcake, a monthly themed cupcake-decorating class at the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson and Wales University. This month, the kiddos can enjoy the spring-themed classes. Classes are directed by the museum’s student assistants in the baking and pastry and culinary programs. Kids will decorate a St. Patty’s Day-inspired cupcake on March 19. On April 9, take part in the mystical Harry Potter theme. Cupcake sessions run from 1−2 p.m. at the museum and the cost is $20 per decorator. To register your child, email Stephan Spencer at The cost of the program includes the price of museum admission.


RI Food Fights’ fifth annual Great Cupcake Championship is March 20 from 1−4 p.m. at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket. Tickets are $15 per person for sampling the best cupcakes in the state all in one place. Buy tickets here.


The fifth annual Eat Drink RI Festival brings out the best of the Rhode Island culinary scene. This series of events showcases farmers, chefs, bartenders and food and drink producers and experts from across the region. Throughout the weekend, the festival will offer great dining experiences like Dinner by Dames, a Food Truck Stop benefiting the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a Grand Tasting featuring food producers and culinary demonstrations and a Grand Brunch. Save 10 percent on tickets for Dinner by Dames, the Grand Tasting and the Grand Brunch through February 29. Tickets and more information about the festival can be found here.



The Hope and Main Meet Your Maker markets will continue in Warren throughout the winter and spring, including Sundays Feb. 21, March 20, April 17 and May 22. The local food marketplace is available from noon–4 p.m., and it is the newest place to eat, drink, shop and stock up on the finest local goods.

March is a time of year when local farmers need your support most of all. Farm Fresh Rhode Island is hosting a month of special events at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market called March Madness. Shop at the market every Saturday in March to enjoy fun events like cooking demos and a pie-eating contest, and participate in a weekly scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes valued at more than $300! March 5 includes a cooking demo by Harvest Kitchen; March 12, there will be a pie-eating contest by Humble Pie; March 19, there will be a beer and food pairing by Hope and Main and Bucket Brewery; and March 26, there will be a cooking demo by the African Alliance of Rhode Island. The market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. through May 14.

Play Lady and the Tramp for an evening with a pasta and salad celebration every Wednesday night at Simone’s in Warren. For $20 per person, you can enjoy a pasta favorite paired with a fresh salad. Dishes include a lemon-basil vinaigrette salad followed by linguine alle vongole, made with Narragansett Bay Clams, garlic and olive oil, and there are many other options. Thursdays at Simone’s feature live entertainment from 6:30−9 p.m., featuring the Joe Potenza Jazz Trio and vocalist Tish Adams. Reservations can be made by calling 401-247-1200.

If you’re planning on catching a show at Providence Performing Arts Center, bring your PPAC ticket either before or after the show to Siena and you will receive a free appetizer with the purchase of an entree. Siena’s Smithfield location also has live entertainment every Thursday from 6:30−9:30 p.m. Performer Steven Palumbo is best known for his portrayal of Dean Martin in a Rat Pack tribute.

Every first and third Friday of the month, stop by Grapes and Grains in Barrington for Plouf Plouf’s Food Truck Night from 5-7 p.m., featuring an organic French bistro on wheels. While you wait for your food, head inside the wine and beer shop for educational wine seminars. Or you can call in your order in ahead of time to beat the wait. To place your order, call 401-236-1937 and visit

Perella’s Ristorante in Warren is celebrating Carnival for the month of February. Each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to closing, choose any three items from the twenty-item Italian Carnival tasting menu. Selections include veal and peas, vegetable lasagna, meatballs, chicken cacciatore and baked fish Don Luigi and many more options. More information and reservations are available at 401-245-0150.



Narragansett Beer released I Am Providence Imperial Red Ale, the fourth installment in its Lovecraft Series of beers honoring the legendary horror author and Providence native, H.P. Lovecraft. The latest chapter in the series pays tribute to Lovecraft’s adoration for his hometown by heralding his famous words – “I Am Providence.” The blend of Pilsen, CaraRed and Vienna malts lead to flavors of biscuits and caramel, while the Warrior and Citra hops bring a counterbalance of pine and citrus.

GottaQ Smokehouse BBQ soft opened in the Cumberland Plaza Shopping Center at 2000 Mendon Rd. This restaurant is the brick and mortar outpost of the widely known GottaQ BBQ Food Truck and Catering. Look forward to pulled pork, tri-tip sirloin beef, macaroni and cheese and beans. Restaurant owner Michael Strout says to expect a grand opening possibly in March. 

Joe and Esther Dequattro, owners of Pane e Vino on Federal Hill, are opening their new restaurant, Massimo, in spring 2016, in the former Mediterraneo location. Massimo will be open for lunch and dinner daily, as well as Sunday brunch.

Jacky Boy Publik House is now open at 27 Aborn St. in Cranston in the former Powers Pub location. Expect an extensive craft beer list, a speakeasy vibe and a vibrant local music scene.

The new Nook Coffee House, located at 307 Main St. in East Greenwich, means more than just coffee. This coffee house serves New Harvest beans, freshly made baked goods and it has kombucha on tap, a fermented tea drink with many health benefits.

Tio Mateo’s Mexican Grille has reopened at its new location at 70 Cliff St. in East Greenwich.

The Malted Barley’s second location will soon open in Providence in the former Taza space inside the Kinsley Building at 334 Westminster St. in Providence. The restaurant will serve craft beer, housemade pretzels, sandwiches and more.

Tom’s BaoBao will also open a location inside the Kinsley building on Westminster Street in Providence in early summer 2016. Owner Tom Tong has a line of successful bao restaurants in China and has positively affected the lives of thousands of his employees, providing fair wages and above par working conditions. He is adapting the restaurants for the United States – starting with two locations in Providence and Cambridge. Tom’s BaoBao will serve the famous Chinese steamed buns along with other meat and vegetarian options. Guests will also be able to enjoy select coffees and teas straight from China. Tom’s BaoBao is currently running research and development training out of Hope and Main in Warren.

Statesman Tavern is slated to move into the Persimmon space in Bristol once the Speidels’ restaurant makes the transition to the former Rue de L’Espoir location in Providence. Statesman Tavern will be a new restaurant from the same owner of Chomp in Warren, Sam Glynn, and he and his team hope to offer a more extensive menu to diners, possibly as soon as late-April.

Newport Restaurant Group will open Avvio, a new Italian restaurant in the former Papa Razzi space in Garden City in Cranston in spring 2016. Avvio will join the Newport Restaurant Group collection as the ninth location in Rhode Island. Papa Razzi is now closed for business and Avvio will open as a classic Italian eatery.

Foolproof Brewing Company has launched Queen of the Yahd, a raspberry IPA. Kegs have already tapped at local spots and cans arrive next month.

The former general manager of Snookers has launched Open Season food truck serving a tasty twist on game meats and local foods.

After ten years of success, Newport Distilling Company adds another spirit to its portfolio, Widows Walk, an overproof white rum. Handcrafted in Newport with blackstrap molasses and a single pot still, Widows Walk has a buttery nose up front followed by a grassy cane flavor, finishing with dark molasses notes.



The 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards for Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists were announced today and two Rhode Island chefs were nominated for Best Chef: Northeast. Champe Speidel of Persimmon was nominated for the sixth time, and Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway earned his first semifinalist nod. On Tues., March 15, the Foundation will announce the finalist nominees for all award categories during a press conference in San Francisco. Read more about the awards.

Muse and Spiced Pear restaurants in Newport, Gracie’s in Providence and Seasons at the Ocean House in Watch Hill recently earned AAA Four Diamond Restaurant Awards for 2016. AAA selects only the finest restaurants that provide exceptional dedication and services to guests. The four Rhode Island restaurants are among just 683 throughout North America and the Caribbean to receive this designation for 2016.

On February 20, Johnson and Wales University baking and pastry instructor Luminita Cirstea of Warwick will be one of four chefs competing for the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Northeast Region Pastry Chef of the Year. Cirstea will compete at the Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If she wins, Cirstea will represent the ACF Northeast region in the national competition at the Cook. Craft. Create. Convention and Show in Phoenix, set for this summer.

Robert Sisca recently left a seven-year stint as the executive chef and partner at Bistro du Midi in Boston to become the new corporate executive chef for ProvidenceG. ProvidenceG is stationed inside an historical building located in the heart of downtown Providence, and it has three restaurants including Garde de la Mer, the Rooftop at the ProvidenceG and GPub. Diners will experience Sisca’s special culinary touch in March when menus will be refreshed and infused with his concepts. Learn more about Chef Sisca.

Boneheads Wing Bar of West Warwick earned the top votes for RI Food Fights Lord of the Wings competition for a second year in a row. The runner up was Tomaselli’s at Rosario of Providence.

Bouchard Restaurant and Inn in Newport has made OpenTable’s list of the top 100 romantic restaurants in America for the second year in a row.

Los Andes in Providence earned the fifty-fourth spot in Yelp’s 100 Places to Eat in the US for 2016.

Newport Storm’s Spring Irish Red Ale has been declared the official beer of the Newport St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the fifth year. When you visit pint nights at Newport bars and order Storm’s Spring Irish Red Ale, the commemorative parade day glass is yours to keep, and $2 of the purchase will go right to the parade. On March 6, the Wharf Pub in Newport will host an afternoon filled with Irish Red on tap.

The Travel Channel will air a show about “Iconic Foods of Rhode Island” on March 1. East Providence native Natalia Paiva-Neves and her family’s East Providence Portuguese restaurant, O’Dinis, will be featured. As part of the show, Paiva-Neves will shop for salted cod at a local fish market and then prepare it at the restaurant. Stay tuned for airing details.

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