Bristol’s Unity Park is a Food, Coffee and Beer Lovers’ Haven
The newly transformed industrial complex is home to Pivotal Brewing, Brick Pizza, Borealis Coffee and Fieldstone Kombucha, and coming soon, Basil and Bunny will open a fast casual storefront.
Bristol’s Unity Park is the hottest new drinking and dining destination in Rhode Island. What was previously known as Bristol Industrial Park proved to be one of the town’s biggest restoration and development projects. Developer Joseph Brito Jr. worked with the architectural firm JHL to complete the historic transformation of Unity Park into a home for twenty-two businesses that have produced more than 230 jobs. Some of the food and drink-based businesses include Pivotal Brewing, Brick Pizza, Borealis Coffee and Fieldstone Kombucha, and coming soon, Basil and Bunny will open a fast casual storefront serving plant-based cuisine, and we hear a distillery is in the works, too.
Here are the Unity Park food and drink businesses you can visit now and what’s coming soon:
500 Wood St., Bristol, pivotalbrewing.com
This brewery owned by Todd Nicholson and Rebecca Ernst is an homage to the two of them “pivoting” their careers during the pandemic to open a brewery. The building comes with its own 173-foot smokestack – in fact there’s even an Imperial stout named Follow the Stack. The beautiful open space of the industrial-style tasting room features towering ceilings and huge windows, open garage doors that let in lots of fresh air and seating areas for large groups as well as an outdoor patio that’s frequently visited by food trucks. Live music is performed on many nights and it’s a favorite meeting place for the Rhode Island Road Runners running club.
The brewery was one of the first businesses to open at the renovated mill. “We love our building and loved watching it go from dilapidated to stunning, keeping all the original details in tact,” say the owners Nicholson and Ernst. “We love all the craft businesses going in the complex and the awesome couples who own them. Being part of this emerging craft ecosystem has been amazing and we’re happy we’re on the ground floor.”
The brewery is also a stop on the East Bay Bike and Beer Trail, a bicycling and beer collaboration between Pivotal, the Guild in Warren and Narragansett Beer’s new brewery in Providence. Each Sunday at 11 a.m., riders meet up at one of the breweries, then embark on a group ride with stops at any of the three breweries located near the East Bay Bike Path. Definitely try the fruited beer slushies to cool down fast!
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 4-9 p.m.; Closed Tuesday; Friday 1-10 p.m; Saturday noon-10 p.m.; and Sunday noon-7 p.m.
500 Wood St., Bristol, 401-396-5200, brickpizzaco.com
The first thing you see when you walk into Brick Pizza’s vast dining room is the beautiful tiled Marra Forni Rotator RT150 brick oven. The rest of the space features wooden beams overhead, light-filled windows and lofty vaulted ceilings. Reclaimed wood from the roof of the original mill was made into the tables and bar as part of the restaurant’s design by project manager Barry Lindsey. Cooks are slinging pies with slightly charred edges, a light sprinkling of melted mozzarella and topped with barbecue chicken, Portuguese chourico and locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Corporate chef Andy McWilliams serves a creative menu of brick oven pizzas and main courses that might include bucatini with clams, gemelli pasta with Italian sausage, cherry heirloom tomatoes, roasted garlic and charred corn, a New York strip steak with garlic-dill roasted new potatoes or grilled swordfish with ratatouille couscous, sauteed local greens and avocado-basil pesto, alongside craft cocktails and local beers. We celebrated both my husband’s fortieth birthday and Father’s Day here, and it’s the perfect location for a group dinner, especially with the brewery right across the street.
Open Thursday, Friday and Monday from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon-10 p.m.
500 Wood St., Unit 113, Bristol, borealiscoffee.com
This Rumford-based coffee shop just opened a second location at Unity Park, serving its thoughtfully curated coffee beans from around the world that are roasted by Borealis. They also serve baked goods from the Illuminated Oven and sweets by Clover Desserts. “After many sleepless nights, pints of beer (thanks @pivotalbrewingcompany), and curses to the sky, Borealis Bristol is officially open,” says an Instagram post from early June. “We appreciate the encouragement, calls and pleading for us to open our doors and we are constantly floored by the amount of love and support you’ve sent our way through this journey (and the past almost six years!)”
Open Wednesday to Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
View this post on Instagram
You know Basil and Bunny owners Lyslie and Mathiew Medeiros from the Bunny Mobile food trailer that travels around serving plant-based eats at events, breweries and farmers markets. The couple will soon open their first bricks and mortar storefront at Unity Park in a space designed by Libby Slader. The business riffs on classic fast food favorites like the Bunny Mac, which is a plant-based rendition of a Big Mac with a veggie burger patty, as well as Mmm Bop-tarts, clam cakes, Carolina BBQ Chicky Sandwiches and more, all made with plants. The business is currently looking to add staff members for its upcoming opening. “Our new space is a fast casual environment with a little island vibe. We are looking for people with friendly upbeat personalities,” says a post on their Instagram. “We are looking to round out our family with a few more people. Line cooks, prep cooks, bakers, front of house.”
They are thrilled to be a part of Unity Park. “We love how all the new businesses really complement each other,” says Lyslie Medeiros. “It really feels like a warm and welcoming community that I know visitors will be able to notice.”
They are planning to open the new storefront in early August. “You’ll see our main menu with some added favorites and soon to be new favorites!” she says. “We’ll start with some limited times and dates that will gradually extend.”
Fieldstone Kombucha’s home base brewery is at this industrial park, where they will wholesale produce the farm fresh drink that’s for sale at farmers markets and at farm stands in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and available for home delivery. Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented sweetened black tea drink with purported health benefits, and Fieldstone adds locally harvested fruit and herb flavors to its many varieties. The kombucha is also available at its neighbors, Pivotal Brewing and Borealis Coffee, as well as at farmers markets, farm and general stores, restaurants and cafes, and bars and breweries all along the south coast, and from Boston to Providence.