The Dish: Diner's Update: May/ June 2016

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

EVENTS

5/15−6/30

Get your burger fix with RI Food Fights' Big Burger Blowout. The competition sizzles now through June 30, featuring sixteen restaurant competitors. With a $20 passport, purchased in advance, guests will enjoy one free burger from each of the participating restaurants. You can try meaty favorites from Shoobies, Julians, RI Billiard Bar and Bistro, Caffe Dolce Vita and many more. The event passport can be purchased at rifoodfights.com.

5/18

Weekapaug Inn in Westerly has launched the Brewmaster's Social Series. The second dinner in the series takes place from 6:30−9:30 p.m., which includes a casual three-course, family-style meal, where each course is paired with a local brewer’s choice of beer. A representative from Grey Sail Brewing will join the restaurant for an evening of delicious food and beer. Tickets are $75 per person for adults ages twenty-one and older. For reservations, call 888-813-7862. There will be another Brewmaster’s Social Dinner on June 15 with Revival Brewing Company.

5/18

EcoRI News is launching an inaugural happy-hour speaker series from 5:30−8 p.m. at AS220 in Providence. Guests will nibble on local fare while listening to a panel discussion on the dark side of local food: How can consumers know that what they're buying is truly local? Are there those who misuse the “local” label? Is local food better for the environment? Standing room tickets are $5−$10 and may still be available at Eventbrite.

5/18−5/22

ProvidenceG's corporate executive chef Robert Sisca has already reinvigorated the ProvidenceG restaurant menus with a new culinary vision, including kicking off Saturday and Sunday brunch at Garde de la Mer. This weekend, he will be featured as a chef at the Nantucket Wine Festival May 18-22. Read more about chef Sisca.

5/20−5/23

The Thirst Boston cocktail festival returns to Boston for the third time with appearances from some of Rhode Island's best spirits and bartenders. South Kingstown's Sons of Liberty joins the New England Craft Showcase on Saturday afternoon which spotlights the best spirits in New England. On Sunday night, Jesse Hedberg from the Eddy will captain a team of three against twelve total teams at the Blender Bender.

5/21−5/22

The Newport Oyster Festival at Bowen's Wharf, presented by Santa Margherita, is ready to roll with an opening night party featuring oysters and wine on the waterfront, including all-you-can-eat oysters, an open bar featuring Santa Margherita wine and prosecco pairings, Bully Boy spirits, Stella Artois beers and a variety of different oyster-based delicacies and other non-seafood items at buffet stations. Tickets for the opening evening cost $125 each and benefit the Ocean State Aquaculture Association. The festival itself includes oyster varieties from more than thirteen growers, as well as wine, beer, cocktails and prosecco for purchase. Restaurants will also be onsite selling food for purchase. Tickets for the festival are $25 each day (Sat. and Sun.) and can be purchased here. Read more.

5/21

Compete and bake your favorite bread for the Coggeshall Cook Off at Coggeshall Farm in Bristol. For a $5 registration fee, you can submit your homemade loaf for the 2016 contest theme of Yeasted Breads. Enter by 2 p.m. The competition has three age groups: ages twelve and younger, thirteen to seventeen and eighteen and older. Winners will be chosen at 4 p.m. The festival tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for children younger than twelve, active duty military and seniors sixty-two and older. All proceeds will benefit the Coggeshall Farm Museum. For more information, call 401-253-9062.

5/21

The Hope Street Spring Block Party returns bigger and better than ever to Providence from noon to 6 p.m.! There will be two stages for live entertainment, contests, kids activities, food trucks, a beer garden featuring local breweries to help support Festival Ballet, sidewalk sales and more. This is the same day that the Hope Street Farmers Market kicks off for the spring from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lippitt Park.

5/21

AS220 Foo(d) and the Bar are bringing the farm to the table with local meat and produce from Runaway Farm. The first-ever farm-to-table brunch runs from 11 a.m.−1 p.m. and comes packed with five courses. Meat lovers will enjoy carnivorous favorites and vegetarians and vegans will savor other flavorful options. Tickets cost $50 with two cocktails or $35 for no alcohol. To get tickets, click here. For more information, call 401-831-9437.

5/21

One lucky guest could win $1 million at Luxe Burger Bar in Providence. Providence resident Ryan Morales was chosen at random from more than 2,000 entrants collected from February through May. He will try his luck at prize by having two chances to roll a set of four dice. If all four die land on the Luxe logo, Ryan takes home $1 million. A free event will take place from 2−4 p.m. It's open to the public and will feature music from DJ Finesse, complimentary sliders, drink samples from Henry’s Hard Soda and the chance to win additional prizes, including Burgers for a Year at Luxe and Chow Fun Food Group gift cards.

5/22

The Hope and Main Meet Your Maker market ends its indoor season in Warren. 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 from area producers. The outdoor Schoolyard Market's summer season kicks off June 19 from 10 a.m.−2 p.m.

5/24

Chef Beau Vestal of New Rivers in Providence is hosting the famous Fried Chicken Night at the restaurant, starting at 5 p.m. through close. Book your reservation now to experience the feast that was mentioned in Rhode Island Monthly’s "Foodie Bucket List." Call 401-751-0350 for reservations. An added perk? It’s also $1 oyster night!

5/25

Celebrate with Iced Coffee Day at Dunkin' Donuts and $1 from every iced coffee sold will be donated to Hasbro Children's Hospital.

6/1

Help furry friends and enjoy a hearty meal with Animal Rescue Rhode Island’s Whiskers and Wine Luncheon Fundraiser at the Dunes Club in Narragansett. For $55 per person, from 11:30 a.m.−3 p.m., guests will help support the animals of ARRI by participating in a seated luncheon, complete with specialty drinks, marketplace shopping, raffles and a presentation by guest speaker Cat Warren, author of the New York Times best-seller What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World. Tickets can be purchased here. You can make a reservation online or by calling 401-783-7606 ext. 103.

6/2

Have you ever wanted to go on an aquaculture tour? The Coastal Resources Management Council is sponsoring free aquaculture tours of Ninigret Pond at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., starting at the Ninigret Landing Marina at 60 Sportsman Rd. in Charlestown. The tour will visit as many of the aquaculture sites as time allows. RSVP is required as space is limited. Please RSVP to: Laura Dwyer, CRMC, at ldwyer@crmc.ri.gov.

6/7

The Federal Hill Stroll takes place from 4:30−7:30 p.m. Stroll through one of Providence's most flavorful neighborhoods while sampling cuisine and taking advantage of discounts at restaurants, shops and galleries. Tickets are $30 plus tax, which includes an admission button, two free beverages and a map to guide you to participating venues. The evening includes music and the chance to vote for your favorite venues to help crown the King of the Hill and the Most Creative Venue. One lucky voter will win dinner for two on Federal Hill. Pick up your ticket packets on the day of the stroll beginning at 4 p.m., at the information table located in DePasquale Plaza.

6/9

Coast Guard House in Narragansett is hosting its final wine dinner until the fall. The Bordeaux and More five-course wine dinner will include an oyster parade starter, tomato salad, ravioli, tenderloin and lemon tart for dessert. The cost is $65 per guest, not including tax and gratuity. Call 401-789-0700 for reservations.

6/11

Sip glasses of reds and whites with Raw Wine at the Steel Yard from 6−9 p.m. featuring bottles procured by Campus Fine Wines in Providence. Guests will enjoy learning about and tasting raw wines. Campus Fine Wines will bring you the faces behind your favorite bottles, with special guests such as Zev Rovine from Zev Rovine Selections, Ralph Catillo of Montebruno in Oregon and Niklas Peltzer of Meinklang from Austria. Enjoy oysters by Ocean State Oyster Fest and barbecue by Ocean State BBQ Fest – for carnivores and vegetarians alike – made in a Steel Yard crafted smoker. Diego Perez, formerly of Bodega Malasana, will slice up prosciutto, courtesy of Daniele, Oberlin will serve Caesar salads, and there will also be an edible bread sculpture by Seven Stars Bakery, desserts by North Bakery, beverages by Presto Strange O coffee, tea and juice truck, door prizes, metalworking demos, bonfires and more. Tickets cost $50 in advance and $60 the week of and the day of the event. All funds benefit the Steel Yard and its programs.

6/15

Need a Father’s Day gift idea? Weekapaug Inn in Westerly has launched the Brewmaster's Social Series, and the third dinner in the series will take place from 6:30−9:30 p.m. It includes a casual three-course, family-style meal, where each course is paired with a local brewer’s choice of beer. For this dinner, a representative from Revival Brewing joins the restaurant for an evening of delicious food and beer. Tickets are $75 per person for adults ages twenty-one and older. For reservations, call 888-813-7862.

6/18

Do you think you know your chowder? Put your taste buds to the test at the Great Chowder Cook-Off at Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Families will enjoy chowder samples, entertainment, activities and appearances from Rhode Island’s favorite TV and radio celebrities. Guests can also vote for their favorite chowder. New to the list for 2016 is the “Best of the Best” category featuring the past Great Chowder Cook-Off Hall of Famers and award-winning recipes. Tickets can be purchased in advance here for $20 or at the door for $25. Kids younger than twelve are free.

6/19

The Bristol Oyster Festival is a great way to celebrate Father’s Day. The family-friendly day will include a wide variety of food, food trucks and beverage vendors, as well as activities like face painting and a silent auction. Slurp six types of oysters and learn how to shuck at a demonstration. Hosted by DeWolf Tavern and Thames Street Landing, festival admission is free and supports the March of Dimes. For more information and food and drink tickets, click here.

6/24

Celebrate summer and the solstice with the Fort Adams Trust Summer Solstice, an evening of revelry from 6:30−10:30 p.m. on the north lawn of Fort Adams State Park in Newport. View the sunset and enjoy food provided by Blackstone Catering, a Champagne toast, music and dancing by the X Isles and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $85 for nonmembers, $75 for members and $750 for a table of ten. You can purchase tickets here.

6/24 and 6/25

Rhode Island is finding its spot on the barbecue map with the first annual Ocean State BBQ Festival on June 24 from 5−10 p.m. and June 25 from noon−10 p.m. Both professional food service operators and amateur enthusiasts are invited to take part. Professionals will be allowed to sell food during this event, as well as participate in the judged barbecue competition. Amateurs will participate in the competition. The festival will be held at the Steel Yard in Providence and will feature live music, family-friendly activities, barbecuing tips, crafts by local artisans and a barbecue tasting. A single ticket is $15 in advance ($20 at the door), or you can purchase a two-day pass for $25 ($30 at the door). Buy tickets here.

6/25

Make it a surf and turf weekend! On Saturday, the New England Quahog Festival will host a Sea Creature Parade starting at 10 a.m. through Wickford, and ending at North Kingstown Town Beach. Everyone will be dressed up as mermaids, pirates, colorful fish, sharks, octopi, jellyfish and other marine life, led by marching bands and floats. The free festival that follows the parade takes place at the beach from 11 a.m.−5 p.m., and will involve food for purchase, a beer garden, live entertainment, music and fun activities for the whole family. The festival is being produced by local community members and all proceeds will be donated to the town to make improvements to the beach, including a new playground, bike racks and landscaping. For more information, go to newenglandquahogfestival.com.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Throughout the month of May, dine at Not Your Average Joe’s in Warwick every Tuesday, and 15 percent of your total purchase will benefit the Autism Project. All you have to do is dine in and mention the Autism Project to your server. The remaining Tuesdays of the month include May 24 and 31.

Chef Phyllis Arffa, owner of Blaze Village Kitchen, will be guest chef at the Revolving Door in Newport for the month of May.

The Boat House in Tiverton hosts Half Price Sunsets Monday through Friday from 4−6 p.m. Guests will enjoy gathering at the bar for half-priced appetizers backed by the waterfront sunset.

Join Hemenway’s in Providence for a quick lunch break with the Power Lunch Special. From the hours of 11:30 a.m.−3 p.m., sneak away from the office for your lunch hour and enjoy an appetizer, entree, cup of coffee and a freshly baked cookie for only $22.

 

OPENINGS/LAUNCHES

New to Cranston’s Garden City Center is the restaurant Avvio. The former Papa Razzi location has been transformed into an Italian-inspired restaurant featuring Neapolitan pizza and wood-fire grilled entrees as well as a wine list. The al fresco dining area is now open for guests.

Ella’s Fine Food and Drink in Westerly has launched Ella’s at Home, which will provide you with easy take-home meals for your busiest days. The meals are already prepared and just need to be heated and served. Call 401-315-0606 and order by 3 p.m. the prior day to have your favorite dishes ready for pickup.

Narragansett Beer has launched a new version of its summer ale. The blonde session Summertime Citra Ale involves fruity blends of citrus and passion fruit, accompanied by Citra hops and pale malt.

The Wyndham Garden Providence will soon be the Hilton Garden Inn Providence. The hotel is Providence’s only waterfront hotel, located across from India Point Park, and it will feature a redesigned interior and a new restaurant, the Garden Grille. The rebranding of the hotel will be completed by July 1 with the hotel remaining open throughout the renovations. There will also be an outdoor patio area where guests can enjoy appetizers and drinks while taking in the sunset over Providence Harbor.

After six months of renovations, the Hotel Manisses and restaurant on Block Island is now open and accepting reservations. Seventeen boutique hotel rooms are now refurbished with private baths, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning and some rooms also feature private balconies. The new fine dining restaurant and bar features classic cuisine and a top notch wine list.  

Grey Sail Brewing in Westerly has launched a new tasting room called the Grey Sail Tap Room, located right next door in an historic Italian home from the 1930s. There is also a courtyard, fountains and murals, and guests will also be able to enjoy a variety of local flights and beers from other Rhode Island breweries.

Cavalry Bar and Lounge at 100 Fountain St. in Providence is now open and serving up cocktails, beer and tapas.

NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley launched a kitchen incubator and event space at 40 South Main St. in Woonsocket.

The Backyard Food Company has launched a new line of heirloom pickles, including the Occupied Pickle, a Cold War-era sweet and sour pickle from occupied Czechoslovakia; the Old Fashioned heirloom pickle from a bygone era; and the Bread and Butter using grandma’s recipe. The pickles are perfectly sliced for adding to burgers and sandwiches, or just as a sweet or sour treat on the side.

The Savory Grape wine shop of East Greenwich has launched a new wine shopping app on Banquet (in the app store) to give you a way to easily peruse and shop store selections, whether you are located in Rhode Island or other states.

Pane e Vino in Providence has opened its outdoor patio (pictured, right) for an oasis away from Atwells Avenue. The restaurant also welcomes Cristiano Labia as the new general manager. He was born in Rome, Italy, to a family of restaurateurs and bakers, and he has worked at Bella Blu in New York City, Le Madri Restaurant and Bellavitae. He also worked in the Aspen area for nearly five years at Casa Tua and most recently at the Ritz Carlton Aspen as food and beverage manager.

Oberlin in Providence is now offering outdoor seating and a patio menu starting at 4 p.m.

Statesman Tavern is now open in the former Persimmon location in Bristol.

Persimmon in Providence has opened in the former Rue De L'Espoir location in Providence at 99 Hope St. Read more.

Laughing Gorilla Catering is a collaboration between chef Jason Timothy, culinary event specialist Leigh Vincola and Revival Brewing owner/brew master Sean Larkin. The trio is serving up global street food alongside craft beer at the Revival Tasting Room at Brutopia on some Mondays for industry nights, and you can also get a taste of their cuisine at local and private catered events. For inquiries, call 401-484-0431.

Beginning Saturday, May 28, Newport’s Stoneacre Pantry owners, Christopher Bender and David Crowell, will begin working with Tony Lorusso, owner of Lorusso’s Newport, to launch an Italian dinner menu to add to Lorusso’s current breakfast and lunch selections. The restaurant is a BYOB establishment, located at 580 Thames St., conveniently next to Wellington Liquors. Guests can also order wine, beer and liquor from an iPad internet service menu, and Wellington Liquors will deliver it tableside.

 

NOTABLES

Providence has been voted the number three favorite city in the United States in Travel and Leisure magazine’s "America's Favorite Cities" poll. The poll mentions grilled pizza at Al Forno and Bacaro, pastries at Seven Stars Bakery, and the state drink, coffee milk, plus our amazing food truck scene. Providence also won the number two spot for food trucks!

Perella’s Ristorante in Warren is welcoming home two chefs for the summer. The chef and owner’s son, Lou E. Perella, and his wife, pastry chef Laura Perella, will be creating housemade pastas and breads and serving a farm-to-table wine dinner later this summer. Lou E. returns to Rhode Island from Austin, Texas, where his stints included sous chef at award-winning restaurants Qui and Olamaie. Previously he was sous chef at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe in New York City. In September, the couple will travel to Melbourne, Australia, where Lou E. has a three-month culinary fellowship at the world-renowned restaurant Attica, after which they will return to Warren.

Congrats to former assistant general manager of Red Stripe in East Greenwich, Alex Broadbent (pictured, right). He was promoted to general manager at Mill’s Tavern in Providence.

On April 26, Ocean State Job Lot kicked off the annual Three Square Meals event at the corporate headquarters in North Kingstown, a program aimed to alleviate hunger and food insecurity throughout the Northeast. Fifteen food banks in eight states where Job Lot stores are located received tractor trailer loads of food, with more to come throughout 2016. At each food bank, Job Lot employees volunteered to help sort the food, including at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

On April 29, more than 500 people gathered for gourmet tastings from fifteen local mobile food vendors at the Truck Stop to benefit the RI Community Food Bank, as part of the Eat Drink RI Festival. $132,000 was raised to help feed Rhode Islanders in need.

It may be more difficult to find local peaches on your fruit stand this summer. The cold February temperatures killed most of the buds on Rhode Island’s peach trees. According to RIPR, Rhode Island has not lost a peach crop in more than thirty years. University of Rhode Island plant scientist Heather Faubert says that even though peach trees were affected, other crops such as apricots and cherries will still be available.

 

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