The latest Rhode Island food, drink, restaurant and dining news and events.
By Jamie Coelho and Andrew Small
RI MONTHLY’S LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK GUIDES
Many restaurants in Rhode Island are now open for outdoor dining with strict COVID-19 prevention precautions in place, and many are also serving cocktails to-go, and beer and wine to go alongside curbside takeout. Find out how local restaurants are feeling about the outdoor dining regulations.
The South Side Community Land Trust’s twenty-eighth annual plant sale is going online. Visitors can make arrangements to purchase plants to grow their own food. Step one is to order the plants you want to purchase May 12-21 on the website, then you can head to the pre-paid drive-thru pickup at a specific time during the sale, which will take place May 16-22 at City Farm at 95 Linden Street in Providence (Enter from West Clifford St.) There will be early access to the sale for members on May 11. There will be no shopping at the farm this year, so all purchases will have to be pre-paid online at southsideclt.org. EBT and SNAP benefits will be accepted.
Ice cream shops are now opening for the season.
Sarto Restaurant and the Rooftop at Providence G, in downtown Providence, are open for outdoor dining. Sarto will be featuring a four-course tasting menu for $65 per person, with a $28 per person wine pairing option. Advanced reservations are required and can be made at sartoprovidence.com. Rooftop at Providence G will be featuring signature cocktails, raw bar items, salads and small bites, entrees, wood oven pizzas, in the rooftop space with views of Providence, as well as outdoor fire pits. Advanced reservations are required and can be made at rooftopattheg.com. Parties of five or less only as required by Phase I reopening rules.
The Chanler at Cliff Walk will be hosting Memorial Day Weekend Picnics on the property’s beautiful lawns as an outdoor dining option for guests who participate in their curbside pickup program! With approval from the City of Newport, The Chanler will offer the holiday picnics on Friday, May 22 – Monday, May 25 from 1-8 p.m. Seating on the lawn will be first-come, first-serve and all picnickers must pick up their pre-ordered meals from The Chanler’s Memorial Day Weekend Menu in order to enjoy a picnic onsite. Guests are welcome to relax on the property’s Adirondack chairs or bring a picnic blanket of their own.
Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina reopened its doors for overnight guests on May 15, 2020. The resort’s outdoor dining options are also now officially open. As of Wednesday, May 20, the Lounge and Firepit’s outdoor dining is open for visitors and the Pineapple Club will open on Friday, May 22. Per Rhode Island state guidelines, reservations are required for both the Lounge and Fire Pit and the Pineapple Club.
What’s Up Newp also has a nice list of all Newport area restaurants offering outdoor dining, takeout and delivery that they are constantly updating.
Pre-order a Persimmon Lobster Picnic for Memorial Day weekend. Curbside pickup is available for Saturday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Have a backyard picnic or enjoy it on a blanket at a local park. The package includes two quarter-pound-plus lobster rolls, a quart of pasta salad with 4-Town Farm asparagus, house mayo and sweet herbs, Persimmon’s signature vanilla yogurt panna cotta with passionfruit gelée, a bottle of their current favorite rosé, and, courtesy of bartender Kevin O’Connor, the perfect early summer sipper: a Bourbon Arnold Palmer for two. The bags, which serve two, are $100 each and are available for pre-order only. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order. They will respond with a confirmation email as well as additional info on pickup and payment. Curbside pick-up is this Sunday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has enacted a new, no-cost Direct Sale Dealer License for local fishermen. It authorizes commercial fishermen in Rhode Island to sell certain species of finfish, and to sell and transport for sale live lobsters and crabs, directly to consumers and licensed seafood retailers from the vessel on which they were harvested. Your best bet is to head to the Point Judith docks and browse the boats. There’s lots of other seafood delivery and pickup options.
Matunuck Oyster Bar is now shipping seafood and oysters anywhere in the USA. Orders can include lobsters, oysters, clams, scallops, shrimp and mussels. Shipments are Monday through Wednesday and Thursday orders are shipped overnight only. There’s a $65 minimum on orders. If you would like to modify a package, call 401-314-0468.
Walrus and Carpenter Oysters is offering a special “Summer Kick-Off Package” for mail order delivery that includes a dozen of each variety of Walrus and Carpenter Oysters (“Originals” and “Dutchies”) delivered to your door for only $40 (shipping included). You can also add-on two dozen clams ($20) or one pound of scallops ($20) with the “Summer Kick-Off Package Plus”. Ordering is open until 7 a.m. every Wednesday, and packages are shipped at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and should arrive to you by Thursday (Friday for some locations). The oyster company is shipping within New England, New York and New Jersey. Read more about how the local oyster company wants you to shuck at home here.
The Rhode Island Hospitality Association is encouraging local restaurants and hotels to sign the Restaurant Pledge to make a promise to customers that their business is following the best health and safety procedures to ensure the safety of both guests and employees. When customers see the Rhode Island Restaurant Pledge endorsement, they can be certain that the restaurant is taking a leadership role in protecting their community. This pledge also allows customers to learn what they can do to help keep everyone safe. Restaurants can sign the pledge here.
The Rhode Island Hospitality Association has also created the RI Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. This campaign was organized by the RI Hospitality Education Foundation and funds raised will be distributed among RI Hospitality Association member employees that have been laid off and are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The association is also offering a free ninety-day membership – from now until June 30 – to any independent restaurant operator in Rhode Island. This free membership gives restaurant owners access to email alerts, text alerts and other information related to the COVID-19 crisis.
Want to help support Providence restaurant and bar industry people who are out of work? Check out the COVID-19 Rhode Island Hospitality Relief Fund, organized by bartender Leishla Maldonado. This emergency fund was created for our hospitality members of Providence, Rhode Island, who have been directly affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses in certain states suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza has announced. The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Providence and Kent and Washington counties in Rhode Island. Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email email@example.com for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
The Ocean State Coalition was formed on behalf of more than 200 Rhode Island restaurants to ask guests to support them in their request to Governor Gina Raimondo to open for indoor dining by June 1, 2020.
GIVING BACK THROUGH MEALS
Iron Works in Warwick is offering a 20 percent discount for frontline workers, including any member of the military and law enforcement, municipal workers and healthcare workers, on any curbside pickup order through August 31. A valid employment ID must be presented at time of pickup. Iron Works also delivered more than 100 meals to the Warwick Fire Department, Warwick Police Department and Kent County Hospital.
The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the restaurant industry and the simple goal at Frontline Foods RI is to pay local restaurants to make fresh meals and deliver them to healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Viola Davis and the cast of How to Get Away with Murder generously sponsored lunch on May 20 for the frontline workers at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The donated funds will go directly to Matunuck Oyster Bar.
Hope and Main nonprofit food business incubator in Warren has distributed more than 2,400 meals to those in need made by local people and businesses using local ingredients and products. Learn more about the Nourish Our Neighbors program.
Rooms and Works, KNEAD Doughnuts and Providence Kitchen Collaborative (PKC) have teamed up as the ‘Cromwell Lunch Ladies’ to help feed those in need. The group is cooking up packaged meals using the commercial kitchen space while also helping small food start-ups, including HG80, Brown Paper Bounty, Solid Gold, Weenie Wizard, Black Beans PVD and Big Feeling with a work opportunity. Through an initial donation made by Rooms and Works, the group was able to provide 500 meals. An additional $10,000 raised through its GoFundMe page will enable the group to donate an additional 300 meals per week for the next ten weeks!
The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation and Encore Hospitality Group, owner and operator of Mill’s Tavern and Red Stripe restaurant in Providence, have teamed up to launch Meals with a Mission, a program that has already prepared and delivered 3,595 meals to eighteen organizations involving frontline workers, first responders and those in vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, Red Stripe and Mill’s Tavern are preparing 2,820 meals for nineteen organizations. On Tuesday morning, Red Stripe delivered 100 meals to the National Guard and Rhode Island Department of Health, and Mill’s Tavern delivered 100 meals to Health First in Fall River, Massachusetts. On Tuesday afternoon, public safety representatives from Providence, Pawtucket, Woonsocket and Central Falls picked up 250 meals from Red Stripe, and Mill’s Tavern delivered 200 meals to Pawtucket and Central Falls first responders.An additional 15 organizations will receive meals Wednesday through Saturday via delivery and pickup.
While a large percentage of Bank of America’s staff is working remotely, the company’s cafeteria has pivoted to prepare meals for Rhode Islanders going through tough times. Daily, the kitchen readies 300 meals that are then delivered to member families of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Providence (BGCP) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island (BGCNRI).
Just because school is no longer in session, children shouldn’t have to go hungry. Here’s a list of places where students who rely on school lunches can pick up grab-and-go meals while schools are closed in the state.
Rhode Island restaurants and food businesses are also helping by giving back to workers on the frontline, medical staffers and first responders. Some are providing free meals while others are fundraising to provide free meals to frontline workers. Here’s how you can help.
BankNewport recently made a $100,000 donation to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank to assist the organization as it works to alleviate hunger in Rhode Island. During the month of April, the Food Bank has distributed significantly more food to its partner agencies compared to the same time last year. Thousands of pounds of food have been distributed to local food pantries; more than 3,000 Meals4Kids boxes, containing a week’s worth of lunches and snacks for kids, have been dispersed, a pace that is expected to exceed 5,000 boxes this month; and 93,000 ready-to-eat meals have been provided as a critical food source for locations that may not have traditionally been food sites and do not have access to refrigeration. Make a donation to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
Eric Weiner of FoodTrucksIn.com and PVD Food Truck Events created Virtual Food Truck Nights in place of the Food Truck Fridays event series at Roger Williams Park and other Food Truck Nights in towns across Rhode Island. On Friday nights, pick up pre-ordered takeout food from one of the participating food trucks, as well as some local liquor from Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. or beer from Trinity Brewhouse, and then return home to listen to live-streamed music from 6-8 p.m. from a local performer on the PVD Food Truck Events Facebook page. You can also buy a meal for a frontliner through one of the food trucks.
Yacht Club Bottling Works in North Providence is bringing back the Soda Pop Poll with the release of two new limited release flavors for customers to show their presidential preference: Donald’s Big League Punch and Joe’s Berry-Blue Lemonade. As with the last presidential Soda Pop Poll, Yacht Club will release the results of the poll this fall to see which political pop New Englanders like best. If you’re not interested in “voting” for Donald’s Big League Punch or Joe’s Berry-Blue Lemonade, Yacht Club will be re-releasing last summer’s soda Berrymelon Rebellion as the third party flavor choice. All three Soda Pop Poll flavors are now available at the Yacht Club Bottling Works Factory Store in North Providence—see their Facebook page at facebook.com/yachtclubsoda for updated hours, will be sold at farmers markets and can be found in local stores and restaurants through distribution by McLaughlin and Moran. Plus, Yacht Club has an updated web site at yachtclubsoda.com with online ordering and will ship all their flavors to anywhere in the United States.
Narragansett Beer and Del’s Frozen Lemonade are back this summer with the new Del’s Mango-Passionfruit Shandy flavor and limited-edition variety pack. The new flavor is available exclusively in the limited-edition variety twelve-pack, which includes classic summertime favorites, Del’s Lemon Shandy and Del’s Watermelon Shandy.
FARMERS MARKETS, GROCERIES AND DELIVERY
The Hope Street Farmers Market is now open for the 2020 season every Saturday from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. outdoors at Lippitt Park in Providence. Market organizers are allowing quick visits with no entertainment to encourage people to pick up pre-ordered food quickly, and guests should wear masks, respect social-distancing measures and go home. Stay up to date on potential closings and on vendors here.
You can now use Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Market Mobile wholesale service to get fresh food from local farms delivered right to your home. The farming community needs outlets for food that is being grown, so they decided to open up this way for local people to purchase food. The first thing to do is to create an account. You can return to this same page to log in for future orders. Once logged in, click the “Market Mobile” link. This will take you to the online order form, where you can choose food from the local farmers and food makers who have listed their items for sale. Think of it as an online farmers market! To order an item, add the quantity of what you’d like in the field next to the item. Please only order whole number values, not partial or half orders (e.g., 1 or 2, not 0.5). This platform is traditionally used for wholesale orders, so quantities may be larger than you’re used to seeing. Be sure to click the Update Order button, found at the bottom of every farm/producer’s list. Once you’ve completed your order, click the Buy Now button to enter payment information. Your order must be paid for via PayPal. Or to use SNAP/EBT, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about sizing, please email email@example.com. They are making home deliveries with hopes of increasing food access. Although they have no delivery fee, they do have a $60 minimum order size for the greater Providence/Pawtucket area. They are willing to accommodate other delivery areas, but a larger minimum order may be required.
The locally produced mobile app WhatsGood is also delivering food from local farms and food producers. You can order delivery from local businesses as well as fresh produce, meat, dairy, breads, pantry items and even prepared foods, delivered right to your door.
Stock Culinary Goods on Hope Street in Providence has turned its window into a source to pick up local essential groceries and pre-ordered kitchen tools Thursday through Saturday. Find out all the details here. For kitchen tools, please call 401-521-0101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your phone number with what you need. Stock is also making regular donations based on certain sales to the Martin Luther King PTO and the RI Hospitality Relief Fund. Owner Jan Dane is also making a minimum $50 donation every week to causes others are actively managing.
Many other local restaurants are also offering essential grocery pickups, in addition to takeout, including Rebelle Artisan Bagels, Easy Entertaining, and the Pantry at Avenue N. If you are interested in picking up essential groceries from these businesses, please contact them directly using the hyperlinks above.
What’s Local Wednesdays is happening at Hope and Main in Warren on Wednesdays. While you pick up your WhatsGood grocery order, you can also grab a pre-ordered takeout dinner from the featured food vendor of the week from 4 to 7 p.m. What’s Local Wednesdays is a rotating pop-up at Hope and Main that provides grocery service and dinner pickup designed with social distancing in mind. Each week, a different food truck, prepared meal or pop-up catering company will be offering up a special takeout menu available through pre-orders only.
DISTILLERIES OFFERING HAND SANITIZER
Narragansett Beer is partnering with the new Providence distillery Industrious Spirits Co. by donating 500 gallons of It’s About Time IPA for them to distill into hand sanitizer. Narragansett Beer had initially kegged this beer for bars and restaurants to sell. The sanitizer produced will help the city of Providence, local nonprofits and healthcare workers in Rhode Island.
Sons of Liberty Spirits Co., in partnership with Java Skin Care, is giving out free hand sanitizer again on Saturday, April 23 from noon to 3 p.m. (or until supplies last) at the Wakefield DMV parking lot at 4808 Tower Hill Road in Wakefield. Four-ounce spray bottles will be handed out by drive-through only. Sons of Liberty has been producing hand sanitizer since mid-March to meet the needs of many businesses, organizations and locals during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the support of their friends at JAVA Skin Care, 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer were donated to the community in March. With generous donations from multiple local businesses, approximately 900 gallons of hand sanitizer have also been donated to local hospitals, first responders, health care organizations and homecare workers. Follow Sons of Liberty on Facebook or Instagram or visit drinksol.com for future updates.
Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling Co. is donating a portion of proceeds from every case of beer and spirits sold to the Rhode Island Hospitality Relief Fund. They will update on social media about the total funds raised and donated. The promotion will last until May 22.
Stop and Shop has launched its first-ever Grow and Learn Program developed to teach little gardeners how to grow their own vegetables and herbs at no cost. Starting June 8 through June 15, or while supplies last, Stop and Shop will be giving away freeseed pods and activity books to customers across its Rhode Island locations. The seed pods, which feature twenty different varieties of vegetables and herbs, will be available by the indoor or outdoor floral displays for customers to take as they exit the store at Stop & Shop.
A few new restaurants are opening sometime in the future when things normalize, including the second location for Chomp Food and Drinks in the former Eagle Super Market space in Providence’s Fox Point. Owner Sam Glynn hopes to open the restaurant for takeout sometime in early June. Read more about the new restaurant’s plans and how they’re preserving the iconic Eagle Super Market sign here.
Bayberry Beer Hall announced it will be opening a second location in the early fall called Bayberry Beer Garden on the first floor of the new Wexford Innovation Center in Providence. This restaurant will focus on craft cocktails and wine in an indoor and outdoor space. Follow along on the progress at @bayberrygarden on Instagram.
Saladworks Providence is planning to open its location at 75 Fountain St. for takeout in mid-June. It will be a counter-service spot with build-your-own salads and grain bowls, including plant-based options as well as meat-topped entrees. They will be serving salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, wraps, soups and more for dine-in, takeout, third party delivery and catering. Follow along to find out opening dates here. Download the free Saladworks rewards app for ordering.
RI Cruisin’ Cocktails is a mobile bar and catering service owned and operated by Sarah Gwizdowski. The 1961 Shasta Trailer is named Marigold and Gwizdowski turned it into a mobile bar.
Pasquale’s Pizzeria Napoletena in South Kingstown has moved to a new larger space across the street in South County Commons into the old Shogun restaurant. It’s the same great Neapolitan pizzas in a bigger and better space. Grab some for takeout.
In honor of its five-year anniversary, Tilted Barn Brewery 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. The namesake tilted barn will remain preserved on the property.
CLOSINGS AND CANCELLATIONS
The owners of Eleven Forty-Nine Restaurant have made the decision to close permanently due to the COVID-19 crisis. In an email message to patrons, they wrote: “It has been our sincere honor to serve our patrons for the last thirteen years and we have enjoyed sharing so many special occasions and life events. We thank all our guests for their loyalty and for choosing 1149 for dining and special events! We also wish to give a special thank you to all the staff members throughout the years, you have made us proud and served with care!”
A few other places have closed permanently, including Bravo Bistro, Red Stripe in East Greenwich and Nicks on Westminster. Revival Brewing in Cranston also closed as they couldn’t reach an agreement with the current landlord to keep the Cranston location. However, owner Sean Larkin is moving the business to Providence and plans to reopen in the future.
The Charleston Seafood Festival is canceled for the fist time in thirty-five years due to restrictions placed on crowd sizes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Miss Lorraine Diner has closed indefinitely, but plans to reopen in the future.
The historic 1739 Wilcox Tavern in Charlestown is listed for sale by Randall Realtors. It’s a turnkey restaurant with modern upgrades, with seating for 200 in over 7,000 square feet, plus four, one-bedroom apartments in a separate structure, all on 2.71 acres. Read more about it in the Providence Journal.
Olga’s Cup and Saucer in Providence is permanently closed. The restaurant will be transformed into a Seven Stars Bakery sometime this year, but Tiny Bar next door will continue with outdoor seating and cocktails under the leadership of Joanne Chang.
Johnston Resident Alexia DiGiglio-Mancini recently appeared on Food Network’s “The Kitchen.”
Congrats to James Beard Foundation Awards 2020 Rising Star Chef of the Year semifinalist nominee Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina of Bar ‘Cino in Newport, and Best Chef: Northeast semifinalist nominees Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway and Nicks on Westminster, and James Mark of Big King and North. See all the semifinalists here.
AAA announced its Four and Five Diamond Award winners for hotels and restaurants, and many of them are in Rhode Island.
The Guild Warren is coming soon to the Tourister Mill in Warren, hopefully by this July, according to East Bay newspapers. It will be opened by the same people that run the Guild in Pawtucket, including Jeremy Duffy.