Diner’s Update

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

Jamie Coelho and Piper Wilber

FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2019

2/1–2/28

RI Food Fights is hosting the #BestDonutsRI Throwdown for the entire month of February. Right now there are at least nineteen doughnut shops offering one free doughnut with a coupon. The price of a passport is $25, or two for $40, and you have the whole month to use your coupons.

2/15–2/24

Newport Burger Bender returns alongside the Newport Winter Festival. For the third time, restaurants in Newport and Bristol counties will compete to see who can cook up the best burger. Other awards include “critic’s choice,” and “creative champion.” Check out newcomers, like Mission and Diego’s Barrio Cantina in Middletown, then head to LaForge Casino to try last year’s winner the Crowley Burger. Vote for your favorites and tag burger photos on social media with #NewportBurgerBender to win giveaways from Discover Newport.

2/22

George’s of Galilee is hosting a four-course winter wine dinner on February 22 at 6 p.m. The courses include a first-course of organic spaghetti squash with leaks and russet potato latkes with local smoked bluefish, poached egg and horseradish goat yogurt; a second-course of coconut shrimp bisque; an entree of spiced seared lamb chops with whipped feta and Cerignola olives risotto, pomegranate and rosemary gastrique; and dessert of roasted banana, coconut cream and almond butter gelato. Each course is paired with a complementary wine. The cost of the dinner is $45 per person, plus tax and service. Call 401-783-2306.

2/22

After wrapping up their Paris tour, the Blue Dahlia Band heads to Pot Au Feu in Providence for one night only. Enjoy Dahlia Dumont’s originals during a three-course dinner, complete with wine and the Blue Dahlia cocktail, on Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets for one to three people are $50, and $45 for four or more guests.

2/24

The Providence Flea winter market returns for the second and fourth Sundays of the month on January 27, February 10 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hope High School at 324 Hope Street in Providence. The markets will be held in the cafeteria at the building’s rear entrance. The markets include a juried selection of handmade art and design, craft and clothing, jewelry, accessories, vintage wares and small-batch food items from local vendors. Pop-ups will also feature a rotating lineup of favorite hot food and drink trucks from around the state, including Presto Strange O coffee truck, Luluna KombuchaCrepe Corner Belgian crepes and European pastries, Gotta Q BBQ smoked meats and sides, HG80 Tacos plus housemade sodas and fries, Ming’s Asian Street Food, Red’s Street Kitchen cheesesteaks and fries, Rocket Fine Street Food Angus burgers, mac ‘n cheese and sides, Clover Desserts mini cheesecakes plus chocolate and fruit tarts, Blush Bakeshop scratch-made vegan baked goods, and Proud Mary Donuts.

2/26

“Masterchef Junior” will premiere on FOX, and a little girl from Pawtucket, Jaala, is one of the contestants. In the premiere episode, “Culinary ABC’s,” airing Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. on FOX, the top twenty-four contestants must prove they’ve mastered the first meal of the day, breakfast, in a mystery box challenge. Then, school lunches get a total makeover as contestants are tasked with elevating three classic school lunch dishes into restaurant-quality cuisine.

2/26

Join Gasbarro’s Wines at Pane e Vino on Federal Hill on Tuesday, February 26 at 6 p.m. as Marco Secola, the guest speaker for the evening, takes you on a tour of Tuscany while introducing the best wines of the San Felice Estate. An authentic meal in the traditional style of Tuscany will be prepared, paired with wines from the San Felice portfolio. The cost is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Call 401-223-2230 for reservations.

2/27

Rhode Island Day of Portugal is hosting the third annual Taste the Passion wine dinner at the Capital Grille on February 27 at 6:30 p.m. The reservation-only event will teach diners about Portuguese culture through food and wine, while stimulating the senses and encouraging conversation and friendships. Leading food and wine experts will provide in-depth information on the wines, wine regions and exquisite cuisine of Portugal. Reservations are now available for $125 per person. For reservations, call the Capital Grille 401-521-5600.

3/1

Foolproof Brewery joins the Duck and Bunny snuggery to present a three-course meal, complete with drinks. At $60 per guest, the meal is made up of the chef’s favorite dinner specials.

3/2

Enjoy some champagne with your pastries at a Cupcake Vineyard Mimosa bunch hosted by the Duck and Bunny. Pop bottles from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $60 each person. Later that evening, a wine representative from Charles Smith Vineyard will speak about wine pairings over dinner at $75 per guest.

3/6

Eat breakfast for dinner at the Duck and Bunny’s hip hop brunch at 6 p.m., 8 p.m., or 10 p.m. Brunch features a 90s theme and a fixed menu, with a choice of cocktail, for $45 each person.

3/7

Head to GPub, Providence’s modern gastropub, for four-courses of exclusive dishes, paired with craft beer from Down the Road Beer Co., starting at 6:30 p.m. The first in a series of five, beer-centered meals planned at GPub for 2019 features a spin on the classic chicken and waffle dish paired with Folktour, a porter from the brewery and Ropa Barbacoa, a meal of spiced beef, fried plantain, tropical fruit salsa and a Seventh Star IPA for $50 per ticket.

3/8 –3/10

Celebrate the Malted Barley’s third anniversary with a three-day birthday bash. Specials on beer, food and free birthday cheesecake shots are available throughout the weekend.

3/8-3/10

The New England Outdoor Living and Garden Show, an exhibition of outdoor living spaces displayed indoors for guests to walk through, will host fifteen Rhode Island restaurants for food tastings at various events from March 8 to 10 at WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. Guests will sample favorites off the menus at Pane E Vino, Fleming’s, Milk Money, Massimo, Yoleni’s, Federal Hill Pizza and more as part of a preview night to kick-off the show, Happy Hour, Date Night and VIP Night. Enjoy outdoor oases with foodie themes, like Farm to Table and Wine and Pizza. Celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli, of “Chopped” and “Iron Chef America,” will also be signing books on Saturday at the event’s VIP meet and greet.

3/8

The Duck and Bunny has teamed up with Narragansett Creamery for a five-course meal featuring local cheeses. The $75 dinner will be paired with selections from Wine Wizards, a small distribution company in Rumford.

3/9-3/10

Castle Hill Inn in Newport will host “Southern Soul on the ‘Hill,’” a celebration of low-country cooking, March 9-10. Castle Hill will welcome two acclaimed chefs from the American South, who will join forces with Castle Hill executive chef Lou Rossi and his culinary team for a four-course, prix-fixe menu featuring the flavors of coastal Georgia and Florida on Saturday, March 9, followed by a Southern Sunday brunch on March 10. The prix fixe dinner is $95 per person; $125 per person with wine pairings. The Sunday brunch menu will be offered a la carte. For reservations, call 888-466-1355 or go to castlehillinn.com/specials.

3/9

The Duck and Bunny says goodbye, before closing their doors for renovation, with a gala celebration from 8 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy appetizers and a Moët Chandon tasting bar throughout the evening. Ticket prices vary.

3/11

James Beard award-winning chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Colorado will visit Sarto in Providence to serve a special six-course dinner with wine pairings from Scarpetta Wine, for Sarto’s first chef “takeover” series in collaboration with Sarto chef/partner Robert Andreozzi. Historically found throughout Friuli, frascas are friendly and informal gathering places, a destination for farmers, friends and families to share a meal and a bottle of wine. The evening’s menu consists of such dishes as friulano piatto, a Frasca salumi plate, paired with Scarpetta “Timido” Brut Rose, and a bone-in aged pork loin with cotechino and “brovada” paired with Scarpetta Barbera. “Our chef takeover series is aimed to bring outside culinary talent from throughout the country to Rhode Island and allow locals to experience world-class restaurants right here in Providence,” says Robert Andreozzi. “I’m extremely excited that the first chef takeover at Sarto is with Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, where I previously worked. This evening will take our guests and transport them to the Friuli region of Italy.” The six-course dinner is $75 per person, with an optional exclusive wine flight option for $35 (excludes tax and gratuity). Complimentary valet parking is available. For tickets and reservations, visit sartoprovidence.com.

3/15–3/17

Throw on your kilt and party like the Irish at the Malted Barley’s St. Patrick’s Day party, a three-day event filled with beer and pretzels.

4/26

The Food Truck Stop returns to support the Rhode Island Community Food Bank! More than twenty food trucks (some favorites and some brand new) will be offering delicious samples at the Food Bank as part of the Eat Drink RI Festival. Last year, more than $150,000 was raised. Mark your calendar for Friday, April 26 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and keep an eye out for ticket sales in March.

4/26–4/27

The Newport Craft Beer Festival, a weekend of beer tasting sponsored by Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling Co. and Pour Judgement Bar and Grille, returns for the eighth time. The weekend begins with a VIB (Very Important Beers) event on Friday at Newport Craft Brewing. Featuring beers not available on Saturday, this event allows you to mingle with both brewers and other guests from 8–10 p.m. The showcase of New England brewing continues on Saturday outside Great Friends Meetinghouse in Newport, from noon–3 p.m. and 4–7 p.m. Learn a little bit about the brewing process during your taste-test, from employees who help make each beer. Food from nearby restaurants and tunes from local bands will add to your beer-tasting experience. Tickets include admission, unlimited samples and a souvenir glass at $40 per person for Friday and $50 per person for Saturday.

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Matunuck Oyster Bar is hosting a first week of the month three-course $29.95 dinner special. On the first week of the month, now through April, diners can start with a choice of Matunuck oysters or a stuffie, followed by a second choice of a Matunuck farm house salad or chowder and you can choose any entree on the menu for $29.95.  Make a reservation online at rhodyoysters.com. This offer excludes Saturdays, and there is a $5 upcharge for steaks and boiled lobsters and a $15 upcharge for king crab and $9 baked stuffed lobster.

Chef Joe Simone is back, hosting cooking classes at Hope and Main in Warren. Here’s the list of classes:  February 26 — Soup! All classes are held on Tuesday evenings at 691 Main St. in Warren at 6:30 p.m. and finish up by 9 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Recipes, tastes and wine will be served. Classes are $65/person. To book, email cookingwithjoesimone@gmail.com.

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. Everyday, 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, RI best frites, parmesan truffle frites, buffalo cauliflower, mezze plate, crispy Brussels sprouts and Mediterranean broccoli rabe.

Every Thursday from 5:30–9:30 p.m., Stoneacre Tapas hosts “Stoneacre Sushi” night. Bowls, specialty rolls, nigiri and other delicious Japanese dishes are served. Guests can enjoy the sesame udon bowl that is made with housemade udon noodles, Berkshire pork belly steamed buns and tuna tartare with gochujang and bean sprouts. Book a table here.

Begin your weekends on Wednesdays at CAV in Providence with live music featuring Alexus Lee with half-price wine bottles and the new Bistro Menu. Thursdays also host live jazz featuring the Classic Jazz Trio.

Join Jamestown Fish in Jamestown for Vintage Thursdays: a casual and affordable exploration of wine and food where the only agenda is enjoyment and education. Guests are invited to not only sample the provided offerings of the night, but to also bring their own bottles that fit the occasion to enjoy and share with others (if they wish). There is no set time to arrive. Enjoy a two-course dinner, paired perfectly with these wine samplings for just $25.

Ella’s in Westerly offers a three-course pre-fixe menu for $25 per person on Monday through Thursday evenings. Choose from appetizers like roasted fall soup, salmon tartare and a greens salad; entrees like squid arrabiata, grilled swordfish and a grilled porkchop, and pumpkin cheesecake or chocolate mousse for dessert. For reservations, call 401-315-0606.

 

 

OPENINGS AND LAUNCHES

Granny Squibb’s Organic Iced Tea now has a third flavor, Charlie’s Cranberry. This new flavor is available locally, at Dave’s Marketplace, Providence Bagel, PVDonuts, Ocean State Sandwich Company and Hot Club in both sweetened and unsweetened versions. Named after founder Robin Squibb’s canine companion Charlie, the cranberry flavor is organic, non-gmo, vegan, kosher and gluten- and sodium-free. Granny Squibb’s is donating a portion of the proceeds from Charlie’s Cranberry to Save The Bay, a nonprofit organization that works to protect Narragansett Bay.

Sydney Portsmouth is now open at 8 Russo Road in Portsmouth, serving breakfast, brunch and coffee along with its famous avocado toast.

IL Massimo, from the owners of Massimo and Pane e Vino on Federal Hill, has officially opened at Legacy Place in Dedham, Massachusetts. The Italian trattoria is crafting authentic, seasonal dishes and serving both classic favorites from its original menu and new dishes developed for the location. Read more here.

Aleppo Sweets Syrian bakery is now open at 107 Ives St. in Providence.

Kai Bar’s Jason Kindness and partners have opened sports bar 241 Main in the former Fat Belly’s space in East Greenwich, which serves an upscale pub food menu. Also in East Greenwich, The Revival team from Warren has taken over the former Rocco’s RB Bistro space, also known as the former Chocolate Delicacy shop.

The new Rebeco Authentic Mexican Grille and Artisan Bar (pronounced R-r-re-BECK-oh) is now open on busy Route 6 in Seekonk, Massachusetts, across from the Grand Prix, serving authentic Tex-Mex with a touch of Caribbean and Asian tastes.

The new Barnaby’s Public House opened as a pre-Prohibition style restaurant and bar, located at 385 Westminster St. in the historic Conrad building in Providence. Barnaby’s has been completely renovated to preserve the Victorian details and original character of the building, which was erected in 1885 by its namesake, Jerothmul Bowers Barnaby. Read more about Barnaby’s Public House.

Revival Brewing has moved upstairs in the former Brutopia space in Cranston, serving a menu of ramen and barbecue favorites based on the beers that are on draft.  The location is now Revival Foodworks and Brewery. Read more about the menu here.

Tricycle Ice Cream is now open in north Bakery’s former location at 70 Battey St. on the West Side of Providence. Get a sneak peek at the opening menu here.

The first Firehouse Subs opened in Cranston, under the ownership of first-time Firehouse Subs franchisees Sejal and Harsh Patel. The restaurant serves premium meats and cheeses steamed and piled high on a toasted sub roll, and the Cranston location showcases a mural depicting the true story of the local heroes of the Cranston Fire Department working together to fight a fire at an apartment complex where they saved several lives back in March of 1992. Firehouse Subs is located at 1000 Chapel View Blvd, Suite 108, and it’s open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

Graze Burgers opened in October in Westerly, featuring grass-fed burgers, french fries, custard shakes, vegan and gluten-free options, fresh chicken sandwiches – and beer and wine. The grass-fed beef comes directly from the family farm in Stonington, Connecticut, or one of the local partner farms. They also offer convenient online ordering of the entire menu.

LineSider Brewing Company is East Greenwich’s first brewery. It opened to the public in November with a 4,200-square-foot facility, featuring a large, comfortable tasting room and outdoor courtyard.

The Shaking Crab Cajun restaurant is now open at 284 Thayer Street in Providence, in the former Kartabar space. It’s the restaurant’s tenth location, serving Cajun-style seafood boils with crab, shrimp, lobster and other shellfish.

The owners of Basta have opened a second restaurant, Bettola, at 44 Rolfe St. in Cranston. It’s a casual Italian eatery and upscale neighborhood pizza parlour with pizza flour flown in from Naples, Italy, and local ingredients for toppings.

The Perfect Sweet Macarons has opened a bricks and mortar bakery at 16 Joyce St. in Warren, serving traditional French macarons and Modern American macarons in an endless variety of flavor and color combinations. Baked goods like cinnamon rolls, cheesecakes and cookies and coffee are also available.

Rendering of Ellie’s bistro.

Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery in Providence are getting a little sister. Ellie’s – a Parisian-inspired neighborhood eatery – is the latest brainchild of Ellen Slattery, proprietor of Gracie’s Venture. The new restaurant will feature distinctly French, bistro-style dinner classics – elevated by Gracie’s executive chef Matthew Varga – in addition to breakfast, lunch and dessert items offered at Ellie’s Bakery. Along with Varga, Gracie’s executive pastry chef Melissa Denmark will put a unique spin on Ellie’s bistro-style offerings. Ellie’s will make its home at 225 Weybosset Street.

Green Line Apothecary announced it will be opening a second Green Line Apothecary location on North Main Street in Providence in early 2019.

The Guild Beer Hall is now open in Pawtucket with extended hours, including Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The new Hometown Cafe and Poke Bar is open at 185 Camp St. in Providence, from the owners of Hometown Poke mobile food trailer. The cafe serves coffee, pastries, toasts, acai bowls and poke bowls. Read more about it here.

Frisky Fries will be opening a third location, this time in Barrington! The famous fries smothered with toppings are coming to the East Bay at 186 County Rd., located in the Barrington shopping Center. It will take some time to hire and staff the location, but we will keep you posted on an opening date.

Garden City will also be welcoming a few more new restaurants over the next few months, including an Indian restaurant from the owners of Rasoi, Rasa and Kabob and Curry. The restaurant is named Chaska Indian cuisine, scheduled to open this winter next to Bistro 22. Expect freshly baked naan, chicken tikka masala, lamb kebab and vegetarian options including spiced curry dishes. Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened in the newly constructed retail space between Newport Creamery and Bank of America. The sports bar and neighborhood restaurant Tavern in the Square, and Legal Sea Bar, a Legal Sea Foods concept offering casual seafood-centric dining and an outdoor patio, have also opened.

The Chanler at Cliff Walk presents a new dining experience, Cara Restaurant, replacing the Spiced Pear. With views of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, Cara is home to creative dishes of French, Italian and Spanish influence. In addition to creative dishes, Cara has a fantastic wine list and cocktail menu. Joining Cara is the Cafe at the Chanler. The Cafe is more casual and provides a lively, shared setting for friends and family to enjoy and dine on Mediterranean-inspired dishes as well as signature wine and cocktails. The Cafe offers al fresco dining seasonally on the terrace.

 

TRANSITIONS

 The Duck and Bunny, a bakery, creperie and restaurant, will be celebrating its last nine years on Providence’s East Side this March before closing for major renovations. The restaurant will be open at a new location, Hope Artiste Village at 1005 Main Street in Pawtucket, throughout the renovation. This smaller sweetery will still be a full-service bakery and tea shop. The Snuggery will reopen later this year with a full liquor license, upstairs party space and separate bakery area.

Sweet Indulgence bought a building, which will be a restaurant, bakery and bar all in one in Warwick Conimicut Village. Stay tuned to its Facebook page for updates.

Chez Pascal in Providence is currently undergoing renovations on the Wurst Kitchen side, but it is open for business as usual. Only difference is, now you can order items from the Wurst Kitchen and enjoy them right in the dining room while they renovate. The Wurst Window may or may not be open due to construction, but you can still come in and order inside and take it to go if you wish. Both menus, Chez Pascal and the Wurst Kitchen will be available to all in the Chez Pascal dining room.

 

CLOSINGS

Ken’s Ramen in downtown Providence closed in late December. From the Ken’s Ramen Facebook page: “We will be relocating to a new playground soon. Location TBA.”

Cook and Brown in Providence closed on December 29 after nine years in business. From owner Nemo Bolin on Facebook: “This restaurant has been an interesting, challenging, difficult, wonderful adventure for the past nine years. I know it hasn’t been a perfect restaurant but a lot of great food, cocktails, and hospitality was served to, and by, some really amazing people over the years. I hope you’ll come in for a visit in the next few weeks.”

4corners Coffee and Pink Pig BBQ are closed permanently and will not be continuing in the New Year at the Warwick location. The restaurant group is working on a new idea for the location.

 

NOTABLES

AAA Northeast, which conducts on-site hotel and restaurant evaluations, has recognized COAST at the Ocean House in Watch Hill with its prestigious Five Diamond award for the first time. The Watch Hill restaurant uses local, farm-to-table ingredients and changes the menu daily to include the freshest items. Three Newport restaurants, Cara at the Chanler, the Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn and the Vanderbilt Grill at the Grace Vanderbilt Hotel, as well as and Gracie’s in Providence have been honored as Four Diamond Award recipients.

Ocean State Job Lot has launched the Frugal Food Guys blog, which gives readers a sneak peek into the unique food offerings at Job Lot and the great values available to shoppers, particularly as folks try to rein-in spending after the holidays.

Big King landed a small review in The New York Times.

Rebelle Artisan Bagels may be the first Providence food business to pay employees a cut of profits.

Castle Hill Inn‘s two dining venues, the Dining Room and the Lawn at Castle Hill, have been named among the top 100 restaurants in the United States by Open Table diners. They are two of only five restaurants in New England named to the 100 Best Restaurants in America list. This year’s list of winners is based on analysis of more than 12 million reviews of more than 28,000 restaurants across the country.

Gracie’s released details on its 2019 culinary cruise from Portugal to Spain along the spectacular Douro River! It’s an eight-day, five-star, all-inclusive luxury river cruise with Gracie’s wine director Alan Freudeman in one of the oldest growing wine regions in the world. Interested parties may contact Lori Seeley at 941-312-2584 or lori@innovativetravelconcepts.com for more details.

Chef Jeanie Roland of Ella’s Fine Food and Drink in Westerly released her cookbook, Butter, Love and Cream. Place an order for a copy, or pick it up at the restaurant.

Hope and Main in Warren opened its doors as a start-up of start-ups and an engine of innovation, small business development and job creation in Rhode Island’s growing food economy and has provided affordable access to four specially-equipped commercial kitchens. Now, after receiving a $178,000 grant from the Farmers Market Promotion Program, it’s looking to increase access to local food, broaden and diversify access to their products and educate members in branding and marketing local products.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), in partnership with the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, announced $67,237 in grants to help farmers “green” their operations and save energy and money. The awards, funded through the Rhode Island Farm Energy Program (RIFEP), will support solar and energy efficiency projects at four local farms across the state. Barrington Farm School in Barrington, Pat’s Pastured in East Greenwich, Windmist Farm in Jamestown and Paris St. Pierre in Little Compton received grants.

Eating with the Ecosystem, the University of Rhode Island and Johnson and Wales University College of Culinary Arts have teamed up to produce a new cookbook on sustainable seafood, Simmering the Sea: Diversifying Cookery to Sustain Our Fisheries. The cookbook includes delicious recipes, ecosystem science and whimsical illustrations to bring to life the marine ecosystems off New England’s shores. Find recipes for whelk fritters, scup crudo and redfish esbabeche while learning about the rich diversity of nourishing food that these ecosystems produce: not just the well-known species that take center stage at the seafood counter, but also species that are plentiful in the sea but overlooked by the market. The book was authored by Sarah Schumann, Kate Masury, and Marie-Joëlle Rochet, with recipes by Rizwan Ahmed and illustrations by Léa Tirmant-Desoyen. The cookbook is $20 and is available online through Eating with the Ecosystem and at all of Eating with the Ecosystem’s events. It can also be found at Amazon.com, in local bookstores and seafood markets.