Diner’s Update

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

By Jamie Coelho and Andrew Small

 JANUARY and FEBRUARY 2020

Farm Fresh RI’s Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market is now open for the 2018-2019 season, every Saturday from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. at Hope Artiste Village through April 27, 2019. Visit the largest indoor farmers market in New England. Stay up to day on vendors here.

Now through 2/29

The igloos at Gurney’s Newport.

Festive Igloo Pop-Ups at Gurney’s Newport Resort feature heated multi-sensory igloos overlooking Narragansett Bay, each with its own theme including Santa’s Workshop, Winter Wonderland, Cozy Log Cabin, Roaring 20s, Harry Potter, Tropical Summer, Northern Lights, Astrology and Après Ski, complete with activities and cocktail pairings. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Rhode Island.

1/1-1/31

Rhode Island Food Fights’ Lord of the Wings is the biggest celebration of the best wings in Rhode Island and it lasts all January. Order a passport of coupons and help determine who has the #BestWingsRI. Participating restaurants agree to offer six free wings to folks who go to their location with a coupon from Lord of the Wings. RI Food Fights combines all the coupons into a passport with at least twenty-five restaurants participating. You can buy the Passport here for $25. The passport(s) will be physically mailed to you.

1/12-1/25

Providence Restaurant Weeks is back with nearly 100 restaurants offering three-course lunches for $16.95 and three-course dinners for $29.95, $34.95 or $49.95, as well as two-for-one specials. Browse menus and book reservations here. This year, both Gracie’s and Ellie’s will participate in Restaurant Weeks through January 31st, offering distinct three-course prix fixe menus for only $34.95. And the private club Agawam Hunt in Rumford is also open to non-members for dinner through January 25. Reservations can me made via opentable.com or on agawamhunt.com.

1/13 through March

Beginning January 13 and extending into March, Avvio Ristorante is celebrating the different flavors of Italy with a regional culinary tour. This tour will feature the dishes of Piedmont, Sicily and Venice, changing monthly. Three-course meals with wine pairings will be served for only $29.95 per person. For more information and to make reservations, go to Avvio Ristorante’s website.

1/23

Join Rhody Foody on Thursday, January 23 starting 6 p.m. at Huck’s Filling Station in East Greenwich. It’s a social Meet and Eat and Pop Up Tasting. Enjoy a music of fun, music and food while trying light fare bites fromt he team at Hucks. All attendees will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win gift cards, including to Hucks. Pre-sale tickets are $15 each; Pre-sale wingman tickets are $20 for two.

1/23

Meet “America’s Test Kitchen’s” Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster at a cooking demo and book signing at Boscov’s Community Auditorium at Providence Place Mall on January 23 at 5:30 p.m. The event benefits Rhode Island PBS. Tickets are $65 each include America’s Test Kitchen’s twentieth anniversary cookbook ($40 value) and a Rhode Island PBS membership ($60 value). Free Parking. Light refreshments provided. Snow Date: January 30, 2020.

1/24

Knead Doughnuts is hosting a Good Egg pop up event on January 24 from 7-10 a.m. Knead will debut its latest pastries including, cookies, cinnamon rolls, croissants and more. The event will be located at their commercial kitchen at 55 Cromwell Street in Providence. For more information, contact Knead Doughnuts 401-865-6622.

1/24-2/2

In celebration of the Year of the Rat, Castle Hill Inn is offering a special Chinese New Year menu and travel package from January 24 through February 2. The Cantonese-inspired menu for the 2020 Chinese New Year Dinner was crafted with direction from Castle Hill Inn chef de cuisine Andy Taur, whose parents are Chinese-American restaurateurs. Take a look at the menu here, along with chef Taur’s musings on the inspiration behind the different dishes here. The five-course tasting menu is available for $92 per person, or $127 per person with wine/beverage pairings. Castle Hill Inn is also offering a special Chinese New Year Travel Package, inviting guests to enjoy a two-night stay as well as the Chinese New Year Dinner. The package includes a two-night stay at Castle Hill Inn, the Chinese New Year Dinner for two on one evening, a Chinese New Year-inspired welcome amenity upon arrival and gourmet breakfast and afternoon tea service.

1/25

Butterbang is hosting the Croissant Counter on January 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (or until sold out) at 11 Aleppo St, Unit 7, in Providence. This event is first- come, first- served. Head on down to Olneyville to enjoy your favorite flaky, handmade croissants. For updates on this event, check out Butterbang’s Facebook event page. Learn more about Butterbang here.

1/25

Shaidzon Beer Co. in West Kingston is hosting Cousins Maine Lobster. On January 25, stop by Shaidzon Beer Co. between noon and 8 p.m. to enjoy your favorite beer paired with a fabulous lobster feast. What better way to spend a Saturday. Learn more here.

1/26

Learn about climate change and resilience in our local community and the East Bay at this discussion and pot luck dinner held on Sunday, January 26 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Bay Spring Community Center in Barrington. Join local youth climate change activists and Rhode Island Nature Conservancy’s State Director John Torgan for a viewing of the film Tomorrow, followed by discussion and a pot luck dinner. This is the Barrington Farm School’s first event in its winter series, which is aimed at youth, climate change and resiliency. This is a zero waste event so bring your place setting and food to share. There’s no cost to attend, but reservations are suggested. Register here or email BarringtonFarmschool@gmail.com. Call 401-247-7562 for more information.

1/26

Learn how pasta is crafted with a hands-on demo by Sarto chef Oliver Williams, and then enjoy a family-style dinner with expert wine pairings. Tickets are $150 inclusive of tax and gratuity. Only twelve tickets are available for this special event. Secure your tickets here! Complimentary valet parking available.

1/29

Head to a Paul Cooks class at Urban Greens Co-op Market in Providence from 5:30-7 p.m. Learn how to make two dishes, a pan-roasted artichoke, pasta, sun dried tomatoes and olives dish and an eggplant recipe. The cost is $5 to reserve your spot, and you’ll receive a $5 gift card upon arrival.

1/30

Join the Young Farmer Network for a special event starring local farmers. The event, “Landing on the right acre: storytelling for and by farmers” is a discussion with area farmers about their farming experiences in the area. The event is free and open to the public on January 30 from 6:30-9 p.m .at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket. They’ve got a great lineup of farmers ready to tell entertaining stories about their journey finding and securing land for farming, as well as incredible food donated by our farmers and prepared by Ben Sukle. There is a $5 to $20 suggested donation at the door. Please RSVP here.

1/31 through 3/28

Enjoy a three-course meal with local wine pairings at three of Newport’s exquisite restaurants on Fridays and Saturdays with the Newport Winter Foodies Stroll. Make sure to block out a few hours for this strolling dining experience. The evening will start with raviolo with cuddled egg cheese sauce paired with a rich red wine at TSK; bread, salad and pasta paired with a crisp white wine at Midtown Oyster Bar; and a pastry board with a fine dessert wine at Bar and Board. Your tour guides will meet you in front of the Armory at 6 p.m. to begin your evening of restaurant hopping. Book your tour here.

2/14-2/15

Pot au Feu‘s Valentine celebration is a magical, romantic mix of a delicious aphrodisiac menu with wine and Champagne included, Rose Weaver and Delbert Collins performing love songs inspired by the magnificent Bajnotti Memorials and narration by proprietor Bob Burke of one of the greatest love stories ever told: “Love is Strong as Death.” The multi-course dinner with fine wines, bubbly and love potion included is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Dining reservations include February 14 at 5:30 and 8 p.m., and February 15 at 8 p.m.

2/21

The Coast Guard House in Narragansett is hosting a Schramsberg/Davies wine dinner on February 21 at 7 p.m. The dinner includes fried oyster Benedict, scallop coquilles Saint Jacques, wild mushroom pot pie, lamb chops and panna cotta for dessert, each paired with wines. The cost is $97 per person, not including tax or tip. Call 401-789-0700 for reservations.

2/23

RI VegFest, Rhode Island’s first vegan festival, will be held on Sunday, February 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at WaterFire Arts Center, with support from the Grange, Wildflour and the Garden Grille restaurants. VegFest RI will promote a plant-based lifestyle to the broader food community, and will feature vegan-friendly businesses, artists, makers, restaurants, nonprofit organizations, chefs, writers and more. A series of kick-off events will be held to celebrate RI VegFest, including a special vegan dinner at The Dorrance, as well as a prix fixe vegan dinner at long-time vegan community favorite Julians. For more information, or to apply as a vendor, exhibitor or sponsor, visit rivegfest.com.

4/24 – 4/25

Mark your calendars for the Newport Craft Beer Festival, and get ready to taste up to 200 varieties of beer from thirty-five-plus brewers! Brought to you by Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co. and Pour Judgement Bar & Grill, the VIB session takes place on Friday, April 24 from 8-10 p.m. at Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co. The festival itself will have two sessions on Saturday, April 25: Session one is from noon to 3 p.m. and session two is from 4 to 7 p.m. at Great Friends Meeting House (Newport Historical Society). Tickets are $40 per person for the VIB session and $50 per person for the festival sessions. Tickets are on sale now.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Now through 3/26: The Fondue Village returns to the Ocean House in Westerly for the winter season. This luxuriously cozy private dining venue offers a three-course lunch and dinner menu served with vintage selections of Veuve Clicquot, and this year the gondolas are expanding from dining for two to up to six guests. Each ski gondola is completely restored and outfitted with Alpine textiles and Swiss and Austrian glassware and china. See online for hours, pricing and menu options.

Spend Wednesdays at Chair 5 in Newport for three tastings and chef-inspired pairings for just $20 from 6–7 p.m. Select a bottle of wine for dinner and receive a half-priced entree. For those who wish to stay longer, check out their Wine, Dine and Doze special which includes the tastings, $50 food and beverage credit to Chair 5, 50 percent off a bottle of wine at dinner and an overnight stay at The Break for $199. To book the overnight visit, call 401-363-9800.

Every Thursday in January, the Amos House Amos Culinary Education (ACE) program will be hosting info sessions at 10 a.m. The ACE program is a sixteen-week culinary and safe food handling program that provides classroom instruction, practicum experiences, industry certifications and internship opportunities. The ACE program is committed to the growth of students in all areas of their lives, and provides intensive case management support, financial and employment/career counseling. Students also participate in classes related to life skills, work preparation, financial literacy, math, reading and digital literacy. Call 401-272-0220 to reserve your spot for an info session.

La Masseria in East Greenwich is offering a $22 three-course “Main Street Lunch” menu daily (except Mondays) from noon to 3 p.m.

Harry’s Bar and Burger restaurants have a few specials, including thirty-five-cent wings all day on Sundays, $3 drafts on Thursdays, and on Mondays, Newport (Newport, Jamestown and Middletown locals) and Lincoln (Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Lincoln and Cumberland) locals save twenty percent all day.

Welcome to the Fluke Newport Supper Club. Enjoy a three-course meal from chef Eddie Montalvo for $29 Wednesday through Friday and Sundays from 5-6 p.m. The Supper Club offers seasonal favorites such as lobster bisque, fried local fish bites, crispy pork schnitzel, house-made toasted hazelnut cavatelli, monkfish and Baffoni Farm chicken. For dessert, there’s German chocolate cake and sticky toffee banana pudding. Please note, you have to be seated for dinner before 6 p.m., and the Supper Club deal is not available on Saturday evenings. Call 401-849-7778 to make a reservation or reserve online.

Ellie’s is offering a 15 percent student discount to all local university students and faculty. Simply show your valid school ID when dining to enjoy 15 percent off all food and beverage purchases (excluding alcoholic beverages). Valid for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. You also now order your lunch in advance through ChowNow.

What better way to spend a Monday than slurping down these tasty morsels at DeWolf Tavern’s Dollar Oyster Monday. The promotion begins at noon and lasts all night. Just make sure you’re sitting bar-side to take advantage of this deal.

Matunuck Oyster Bar is now accepting lunch and dinner reservations through May. It’s open year-round for lunch and dinner. Book reservations here.

George’s of Galilee in Narragansett offers many weekly dining specials. On Monday, enjoy half-priced appetizers with the purchase of an entree; Tuesday is Buck a Shuck all day; on Wednesday get a half-priced bottle of wine with the purchase of an entree; Thursday is slow-roasted prime rib night; Friday, get all you can eat clam cakes, chowder and fish and chips for only $16.99! Buck a Shuck is also offered on Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. And there is live music every Sunday with Second Avenue from 2 to 6 p.m.

At Red Stripe in both Providence and East Greenwich, guests save 50 percent off bottles of wine every Tuesday from 6 p.m. to close. Every day, enjoy half-price appetizers from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, only at the bar and high-tops. Appetizers include Basque calamari, street tacos, frites, parmesan truffle frites, buffalo cauliflower, mezze plate, crispy Brussels sprouts and Mediterranean broccoli rabe.

 

OPENINGS AND LAUNCHES

Joy’s Party Shots is a new local business offering Jell-O and pudding cocktails, kid’s cups and non-alcoholic cups for corporate events, birthdays, baby showers and bachelor/ette and graduations.

The owners of the Sakonnet River Grille and Four Corners Grille will open the Palmer River Grille in Warren at the former Country Inn location that abruptly closed last year. They are hoping for a late January or early February opening. Read more in the Providence Journal.

Newport Restaurant Group is launching its second Bar ‘Cino location in Brookline, Massachusetts, just outside Kenmore Square this January. This is the Rhode Island-based group’s first expansion into the Boston area.

Nick and Tracy Rabar outside the new Avenue N location. Photo from Avenue N’s Facebook page.

Avenue N will be opening a second location at 959 Hope Street in Providence in January.

The Miss Lorraine Diner is scheduled to open soon at the Lorraine Mills at 560 Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket.

Dolores in Providence is now open to the public. The restaurant is from the Meza family, the same owners as El Rancho Grande. It’s located on Hope Street, across from Persimmon, in the former Guido’s space. The restaurant is upscale contemporary Mexican and it serves food from the Oaxaca region of Mexico, such as stews, moles and slow-cooked meats all served with handmade corn tortillas. Read more about the restaurant here.

A new plant-based restaurant is coming to East Greenwich in late-February in the former Fat Belly’s location. According to East Greenwich News, PB Bistro and Bar is taking over the space at 241 Main Street, which was the name of the last restaurant to occupy the space. Co-owner Patti Burton also owns Raw Bob’s Juicery.

Christopher’s Kitchen and Bar is now open in Woonsocket, serving an American farm-to-table menu with Mediterranean touches. See the menu here.

Bravo Brewing Company, a veteran- and woman-owned microbrewery opened November 9 in Pascoag, Rhode Island.

Tiny Bar, at 377 Richmond Street in Providence, is now open for business. It’s an upscale, intimate bar in the heart of Providence’s jewelry district. Read more about it here.

Bootblack Brand has launched a new syrup: the Modern Old Fashioned Syrup, which has hints of cacao and orange, with whole botanicals, chillies, agave and a touch of bitters for a smoky, sweet and savory flavor profile. In typical Bootblack style, the cocktails are easy to make and full of complex flavors. Want more ordering info? Check here.

Roma Cappocia Pizza, Roman-style pizza by the slice, is now open at 468 Wickenden Street in Providence. The pizza is sold by weight, and features varieties like margherita, eggplant parm, potato gorgonzola, eggplant, ‘nduja and pistachio.

Bolt Coffee opened a new shop at 225 Dyer Street in Providence.

The Dean Bar is the Dean Hotel’s new cocktail lounge (formerly the Magdalenae Room) in downtown Providence. It’s now owned by north’s James Mark, who is also the mastermind behind Big King. The bar is inspired by updated classic cocktails.

Good Game Grill, Rhode Island’s first board game cafe, is now open at 53 Weybossett Street in downtown Providence.

 

 

TRANSITIONS

The location of the former Local 121, which closed in 2017, will soon be a new restaurant, according to the Boston Globe‘s Rhode Island bureau. “The Providence Board of Licenses voted last week to approve a liquor license for a new establishment at 121 Washington Street. The new spot is owned by attorney Nancy Melucci and its general manager will be Alex Tomasso, who has run several clubs in the city over the years,” writes Dan McGowan in last Monday’s issue of Rhode Map.

Foolproof Brewing‘s owner, Nick Garrison, is looking to sell the brewery business. Read more about it in the Providence Journal.

Kai Bar in East Greenwich is now owned by the Martucci Group, which also owns Safehouse Modern Neighborhood Eatery, Besos Kitchen and Cocktails, The Trap Brew Pub and Grill and Chianti’s Catering. Kai Bar is its fifth brand in the Martucci Group portfolio, and this bar and eatery is known for its craft cocktails, poke bowls and live music.

The space formerly known as Feast in East Greenwich will soon be the Patio, according to East Greenwich News. The restaurant will serve sandwiches and local craft beverages. The restaurant will have an inviting expanded patio around springtime.

In honor of its five-year anniversary, Tilted Barn Brewery just announced it is expanding and building a new barn on its current property in Exeter, Rhode Island, featuring an expansive tasting room and thirty-barrel brewhouse.

Head to the newly-renovated One Bellevue restaurant at the Hotel Viking to experience a redesigned menu from new executive chef, Joe Thompson, along with a fresh look with local artwork. With more than fifteen years of experience in the hospitality and culinary industries, chef Thompson brings to the historic 208-room property a passion for food and a successful track record leading restaurant teams.

Chomp Kitchen and Drinks will be opening a second Chomp location in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence on Ives Street. It will move into the former Eagle Super Market space.

The former location of Stoneacre Tapas at 515 Thames Street in Newport is now an intimate Italian eatery, Vieste.

Ragged Island Brewing Company received unanimous approval from the Portsmouth Zoning Board for its plans to build a farm brewery at the former Van Hof Nursery property at 54 Bristol Ferry Road in Portsmouth. Read more here.

The Duck and Bunny, a bakery, creperie and restaurant located on Wickenden Street in Providence, is closed for major renovations. The bakery part of the business temporarily has moved to a new location, Hope Artiste Village at 1005 Main Street in Pawtucket, during the renovations. This smaller sweetery is a full-service bakery and tea shop. The Snuggery will reopen with a full liquor license, upstairs party space, separate bakery area and library bar. Read more about the renovations here.

 

 

CLOSINGS

The refreshed patio outside Olga’s Cup and Saucer.

Olga’s Cup and Saucer in Providence is permanently closed. The restaurant will be transformed into a Seven Stars Bakery early this year, but Tiny Bar next door will continue under the leadership of Joanne Chang. Read more here.

O Boy in downtown Providence announced on Facebook that it closed permanently on November 17.

Vic’s Craft Ice Cream announced the craft ice cream shop and business has closed. From her Facebook page: “It is with immense sadness that I announce my resignation from Vic’s. In this moment I’d like to express my gratitude for your support along this crazy journey. The mission of Vic’s was to make the world a sweeter place one scoop at a time. You made that a reality. Without your birthday celebrations, post-soccer treats, and after-school traditions I’d be nowhere. I loved meeting you and your families, chatting over scoops, and feeling so connected to this great community. Vic’s always felt like home thanks to you. I started this business to make ice cream, but it’s you I’ll miss the most.”

Bad news. Cluck closed. From its blog: “After seven great years, we are closing our doors. While this has been a hard decision, it is also the only one that makes sense for our family at this time. We have had an amazing time serving backyard farmers and homesteaders: our quirky, one-of-a-kind business was a joy to imagine and realize. We thank you for being a part of the journey.” Unfortunately, retail has succumbed to online shopping at this beautiful farm store.

Waffle in downtown Providence has closed. From the Waffle Facebook page: “It’s with great sadness that I announce Waffle will be closing permanently. Our last day open and operating will be Saturday, November 2, and we will be open till 11 p.m. that night. We hope everyone will come in between now and Saturday and enjoy our amazing Waffles. We will be offering specials throughout the next week. Thank you to all of our amazing customers.”

Daisy Jo’s Hot Chicken and Biscuits has closed in Warwick. A message on the business’s Facebook page reads: “We appreciate all of the support and our dedicated teams efforts in our second attempt at this unique space but unfortunately operations cannot be sustained. We will be turning this space into a commissary kitchen and catering operation for our existing brands while we look for a more suitable site for Daisy Jo’s to relocate. All current employees wishing to move to our other existing operations have been accommodated in continuing their employment with us. Thank you again for your support during these endeavors.”

 

NOTABLES

Red Stripe Restaurant in Providence has a new executive chef, Donal “Bill” Smith, who will lead the culinary team to provide Red Stripe’s refined comfort food with a French twist. Prior to joining Red Stripe, chef Smith was executive chef at Sweet Indulgence and Twin Oaks, where he worked for more than twenty years, beginning as a line cook and rising through the ranks to become manager and assistant to the chef. He was named “Chef of the Year” by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association in 2011.

Ragged Island Brewing Co. and Night Shift Distributing have launched a partnership that places the Portsmouth-brewed craft beer in bars, restaurants and liquor stores in Massachusetts starting this month.

Johnson and Wales University (JWU) culinary students are serving up game day fare for Boston Bruins and Celtics fans at the TD Garden’s private, members only restaurant and bar, Legends. As part of a multi-year partnership between TD Garden, the Boston Bruins and JWU, the university’s culinary arts students have created menu items available for a limited time to the patrons on the level 3 restaurant of TD Garden. Chosen from nearly a dozen recipes submitted by students, currently on the menu are Essex fried clams and Nashville hot chicken, followed by pork hand roll and jerk wings.

Rhode Island has been honored in Wine Spectator’s 2019 Restaurant Awards, which highlights restaurants around the world that offer the best wine selections. Local winners include Café Itri and Chapel Grille in Cranston; Camille’s, the Capital Grille, Fleming’s Prime Steak House and Wine Bar, Mill’s Tavern, Persimmon and Sarto in Providence; Tavolo Wine Bar and Tuscan Grille in Providence and Smithfield; Cara at the Chanler Hotel, The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn and the White Horse Tavern, all in Newport; Coast at the Ocean House, the Olympia Tea Room and The Restaurant at Weekapaug Inn in Westerly/Watch Hill; the Coast Guard House in Narragansett; Matunuck Oyster Bar in Matunuck; and Restaurant 1879 on Block Island. The complete list of winners is featured in Wine Spectator’s August issue, on newsstands now. All the restaurants can also be found at Restaurants.WineSpectator.com and in the free Restaurant Awards app.