Diner’s Update

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

 

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NOTABLES

Three established and up-and-coming Rhode Island chefs earned spots on the 2023 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists list for Best Chef: Northeast. It is a first nod for all three, including Robert Andreozzi, chef-owner of Pizza Marvin, Milena Pagán, owner of Little Sister and Rebelle Artisan Bagels, and Sherry Pocknett, chef at Sly Fox Den Too in Charlestown. This comes as a big surprise since Rhode Island was completely snubbed in last year’s 2022 list after a return from a pandemic hiatus in 2021. Let’s see what Rhode Island can do. Read more here.

Mariana Silva-Buck of Little Maven Lemonade participated in a reality competition/ docu-series for startups called the Blox. Little Maven Lemonade, which got its start out of Hope & Main, was the only Rhode Island company on the show amongst sixty other companies that were casted from all over the country.

Newport Restaurant Group donated $60,750 to local nonprofits that focus on food insecurity as part of its annual, year-round gift card program. 2022 recipients included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport; Aquidneck Community Table in Middletown and Newport; the RI Community Food Bank in Providence; Hope’s Harvest RI in Providence; the Brookline Food Pantry in Brookline;  and the Food Project in Massachusetts. Through the program, $2 from every gift card purchase is donated to area nonprofits with a mission toward fighting food insecurity. Since the program’s inception in 2019, more than $150,000 has been distributed to local agencies.

 

OPENINGS

The Landing is a new cafe and gallery with gifts and ice cream at 101 Dyer St. in downtown Providence. It’s owned by the Providence River Boat captain Tom McGinn and Kristin McGinn. They are serving New Harvest Coffee and Gifford’s ice cream from Maine. It’s open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Hope and Main Downtown Makers Marketplace is now open serving made-to-order and ready-to-eat breakfast and lunch options, Monday through Friday, plus there’s a whole retail section dedicated to Hope and Main’s makers. Learn more here.

Wedge cheese shop is open on Water Street in Warren, in the storefront where Muse used to be. It is located in front of the new location for Chomp Kitchen and Drinks, which is coming later this winter. Read more about Wedge.

Another new cheese shop, Rind Cheese Shop, is also open in Barrington at 24 Bosworth Street.

Reds Kitchen, the food truck we know and love that serves chicken sandwiches, cheesesteaks, fries and other upscale American eats, has taken over the restaurant spot next to Eskimo King in Swansea, Massachusetts. Stay up to date at @redsrhodeisland.

Pine Street Social is a new bar and restaurant in downtown Providence at 127 Dorrance St., serving fun cocktails and food.

Cafe Ava is a new family-owned and -operated Latin coffee shop that just opened in Cranston’s Rolfe Square. The hours are Tues.-Fri. from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sat. from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; and Sun. from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Read more here.

Rusty Lantern Market opened its new store in Providence, located at 38 Pleasant Valley Parkway. The convenience store offers made-to-order and grab-n-go food that’s freshly made on site, as well as an assortment of hot and cold beverages, including coffee drinks.

Oak Bakeshop (from the team behind PVDonuts) is fully open at 130 Cypress St. in Providence. The hotly anticipated “Jew-ish”-style bakery has been years in the making, and the regular hours are Tuesday-Sunday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. Read more here.

Did you also see that the owners of Emmily’s breakfast and lunch spot in Johnston opened Jazzy’s in the former Chez Pascal space? The new Hope Street restaurant features a cocktail and coffee bar and serves breakfast and lunch. Their first location is at 103 Putnam Pike in Johnston.

The Dean Hotel is hosting a series of popup chefs in the former north space alongside cocktails from the Dean Bar. They’ve coined the space A Place With No Name and a they’re kicking off a winter residency with the pop-up kitchen team behind Thick Neck. Dine there on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m. Get all the details on Instagram at @thedeanhotel.

Rise ‘n’ Shine Coffee Bar is located on Holden Street in the Smith Hill section of Providence. Owned by longtime Smith Hill resident Neal Kaplan, the coffee shop is a gathering place for the community in a historic carriage house. It’s open open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

 

EVENTS, SPECIALS AND MENU UPDATES

2/1-3/31

Throughout the .75-mile walking Winter Foodies Stroll food tour, available in February-March, rediscover Thames Street with the help of great meals. Wander the historic streets of the City by the Sea with tour guides Thomas and Susan Maxwell in between three-course meals and wine pairings at notable restaurants and pubs. Reserve your spot online for Fri. and Sat. tours that take place weekend evenings at 6 p.m. Adults $117. Twenty-one-plus only. Tours are not handicap accessible.

Now-3/30

Head to Boston for a wine extravaganza. Boston Harbor Hotel is hosting the thirty-fourth annual Boston Wine and Food Festival featuring renowned winemakers from around the world for a celebration of expertly paired wine dinners, seminars, thematic receptions and celebratory brunches. The nation’s longest running wine and food pairing series is led by Executive Chef David Daniels, Hotel Sommelier Nick Daddona, and industry expert Nancy Bean, the Executive Director of WISE UP Events. Events will run on the waterfront destination from January through March. See the full schedule of events.

2/8 and every Wednesday through 4/26

The Pawtucket Indoor Farmers Market features farmers, bakers and candlestick makers at the 1005 Main St hallway Wednesday evenings from 4 to 7 p.m. through April 26. In addition to the variety of participating vendors, many businesses within Hope Artiste Village have committed to being open during the market so that the community can get all of their shopping done in one place.

2/9, 2/13, 2/15, 2/16, 2/18, 2/19, 2/25, 2/26

Helado Taiyaki ice cream shop on Federal Hill in Providence is running “Tuft & Taiyaki” at Helado Taiyaki, a three-hour tufting workshop where you can craft your very own rug and indulge in ice cream. You’ll learn how to tuft and take your newly crafted rug home with you. Follow @tuftandtaiyaki for updates. The workshops start at 4:30 p.m. during the week and 11 a.m. on weekends. Reservations are $80 per person. Book here.

2/10, 2/11, 2/14

The Chanler in Newport is hosting a Perigord Truffle Dinner on Feb. 10, 11 and 14. The black Perigord truffle will be presented in a special eight-course menu at Cara Restaurant. Chef Jacob Jasinski has procured the rare European fungi at the peak of its season. The meal will be served at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, 11 and 14 and the cost is $325 per person with an optional wine pairing.

2/12

Little Sister in Providence is hosting another wine tasting night on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m., this time focusing on sexy roses. Try five generous wine pours alongside Latin-inspired tapas, cheese and charcuterie served buffet-style. All wines are available for purchase to take home at a discount. Tickets are $50 each.

2/12 and every Sunday

Starting Feb. 5-May 7, shop local every Sunday at the Providence Flea Markets at the Farm Fresh RI building at 10 Sims Ave. in Providence for the most unique and affordable gifts of the season. Featuring local and handmade art, crafts, fashion, accessories, bakery and vintage items from local vendors and artisans. Make sure to check out New Harvest Coffee, Tallulah’s Taqueria, Providence Brewery, Robin Hollow Farm, Wright’s Dairy, Anchor Toffee and Rhed’s Hot Sauce, plus food trucks outdoors, while there. The hours are Sun. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Free admission.

2/14

There are lots of special dinners and takeout packages and desserts for Valentine’s Day. Check out our list of things to do for V-Day.

2/14

Ellie’s will cater to all your romantic dreams with “Sucrée: A Gem of an Evening,” a three-course dessert- and cocktail-tasting event on Tuesday, Feb. 14 from 6-9 p.m. Bring that special someone, a best friend or two, or fly solo and indulge in an evening of sweet decadence. The event includes a savory cocktail hour and three sweet courses, paired with cocktails or mocktails upon request. The cost is $55 per guest, exclusive of tax and processing fees. Guests with allergies or dietary restrictions are asked to contact Ellie’s prior to booking.

2/14

Head to the Lovers and Friends party at Xaco Taco in Providence on Tues., Feb. 14 from 6-10 p.m. Guests can enjoy shareable food and drink specials, complimentary caricature drawings, music by DJ Lex Life and a polaroid photo booth. Special menu items will include spicy lobster fries, tlayuda (Mexican pizza), hibiscus-rose tres leches cake and other specials that evening.

2/15, 3/15, 4/19

Hope and Main’s Meet Your Maker Market returns for the winter season indoors on select monthly Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. The local marketplace engages the public in Hope and Main’s nonprofit mission, helping them to foster a community of growing and thriving food and beverage companies. Shop for locally-produced food and beverage products while contributing feedback, sharing in recipe development, learning about new food trends and cooking techniques and more. There’s usually live music and food and drinks available for purchase from local food trucks.

2/16

Little Sister is hosting cooking classes on select dates at 6 p.m. This one focuses on making traditional pasteles. Learn how to cook easy-to-make at home Puerto Rican recipes. Tickets are $150 each and include a small notebook and Little Sister pencil to take notes, a family-style dinner featuring the recipes you’ll make, and a glass of wine, beer or juice and dessert to enjoy after dinner.

2/17

Ink Fish Books welcomes best-selling cookbook author, Terry Walters, for an evening presentation and cooking demo to inspire and empower healthy home cooking on Fri., Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. at 488 Main Street in Warren. Terry will share her knowledge about fermented foods for gut health, a strong immune system, and even mental health from her newest cookbook, Nourish: Plant-Based Recipes to Feed Body Mind and Soul. The program includes a cooking demo, tasting, ample q-and-a and book signing. For more information visit inkfishbooks.com or call 401-368-6827 or email info@inkfishbooks.com.

2/17-2/26

The Newport Burger Bender is back Feb. 17 to 26. Dozens of chefs across Newport and Bristol counties will create innovative and tasty takes on burgers like the bacon jammie smash burger, surf and turf burger and crunchy fried tofu burger in an effort to be declared the best and win the Newport Burger Bender trophy among other bragging rights. Some restaurants will also create plant-based or non-beef burgers (veggie/vegan, pork, lamb, seafood, etc.) in addition to beef burgers. Winners will be named in beef and non-beef categories. The burgers with the most votes will be crowned winners. Local media will also determine their “critics’ choice” winners. Each burger will be photographed and featured with a detailed description on the Newport Burger Bender page on discovernewport.org. Participating restaurants will receive customized menu inserts with their unique burger entry to encourage customers to order, enjoy and vote. Diners can use the website to plan their burger-tasting adventure. Voting will be activated on the Discover Newport website from February 17-26. People can also vote at participating restaurants using custom QR codes displayed for each participating burger. Discover Newport will accept submissions for burger entries until Feb. 10. Winners in each category will receive a $500 prize, a complimentary featured listing for twelve months on discovernewport.org ($600 value), and a coveted Newport Burger Bender trophy. Click here to sign up. You’ll be contacted to schedule a date to photograph your burger. For questions, please contact Julie Grant at JGrant@DiscoverNewport.org.

2/19

Little Sister in Providence is hosting another wine tasting night on Feb. 19 at 6 p.m., this time focusing on bargain wines. Try five generous wine pours alongside Latin-inspired tapas, cheese and charcuterie served buffet-style. All wines are available for purchase to take home at a discount. Tickets are $50 each.

2/25

Yagi Noodles in Newport is hosting a dumpling-eating contest on Sat., Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. Contestants will have two minutes to take down thirty dumplings and the winner will be the person who eats them all with the fastest time. The event is free for the public and $10 for those who want to enter. Must be eighteen or older to enter. The deadline to enter is Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. Enter here.

4/25

Hope & Main culinary incubator is partnering with Farm Fresh RI on April 25 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to connect grocers, distributors, cafes and restaurants, gourmet and gift shops and other wholesale buyers with local food producers, who will present their products at the food show and offer samples. Come meet these makers and support a more vibrant, sustainable local food economy. Admission and parking are free with ample sampling and complimentary lunch!

 

ONGOING EVENTS

Img 20230106 220439 169Kimi’s Bar in Providence got a new fire pit and it’s blazing into the cold weather months. They are serving up hot toddies and s’mores to warm you up throughout the freezin’ season, too.

Ellie’s in downtown Providence has debuted its “Dessert Le Bar,” which is an opportunity to savor evening dessert, cocktails and coffee drinks. “There is nothing like taking in Providence Performing Arts Center’s brightness through our
windows at night, and enjoying the comfort of Ellie’s,”  says Ellen Slattery, proprietor of Gracie’s Ventures. Executive pastry chef Kerri Spady is creating plated desserts, such as the sticky toffee pudding with whipped buttermilk, honey poached pear and crushed walnuts, or the vanilla crème caramel with pomegranate, salted pistachios and honey lace cookie. And of course, there’s always Ellie’s delicate French macarons and cakes, alongside a new craft cocktail menu. Ellie’s “Dessert Le Bar” is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6-10 p.m.

Live out the ultimate dining dream in a luxuriously decorated gondola at Ocean House. The Gondola Village takes guests to the French Alps once they step inside the cozy winter private dining venue outfitted with warm woods, sophisticated Le Creuset tableware, fine textiles and chandeliers. Bring your significant other or rally up two or three friends to indulge in some breakfast, lunch, afternoon apero or dinner selections. A portion of proceeds benefit the Ocean House Fund for Charitable Giving. Reservations required. Breakfast 8 and 10 a.m., lunch noon and 2:30 p.m., afternoon apero 5 p.m. and dinner 6:30 p.m. $180–$600 for reservations.

Besos Bistro, located in East Greenwich, hosts a weekly Bubbles, Beat and Eats Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.– 3 p.m. Classic hits will play every week.

The Trap and Safehouse, located in East Greenwich, are both hosting Pasta Mondays every Monday starting at 4 p.m., which features pasta specials crafted with imported penne at a discounted price. Safehouse also offers a Safehouse Sevens special that features some of your favorite appetizers such as pan-fried mozzarella and short rib truffle tater tots for just $7 each, plus half-price pizza all-day on Sundays and Mondays, and from 3–6 p.m. on Tues.–Thurs. The Trap also offers $5 Martini Monday Industry Nights every Monday from 9 p.m–close.

Pat’s Italian Restaurant, located in Johnston and Coventry, has a two-or-$45 special every week from Sun.–Thurs.. Choose one appetizer to split, a soup or salad each, and two entrees. Or visit their Pat’s Italian Bistro location in Cranston and enjoy the two-for-$40 deal where you can enjoy sharing an appetizer and feasting on your choice of two entrees.

Little Sister in Providence is hosting occasional “Friends of the House” dinners Friday evenings to benefit Hurricane Fiona relief efforts. Husband-and-wife-team Darcy and Milena are cooking up a multi-course menu filled with Puerto Rican-inspired dishes. The dinner is by reservation only. You have to slide into their DMs on Instagram to get a spot. They’re offering a five-course menu for $60 and a seven-course menu for $80, and will donate 20 percent of proceeds to organizations in Puerto Rico that aid in the recovery.

Blu Violet at the Aloft Hotel in Providence is hosting the Rum and B Brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a deejay spinning ’80s and ’90s hits.

Durk’s Bar-B-Q has several weekly specials including half-priced burgers and pulled pork sandwiches on Wednesdays and half-priced appetizers on Thursdays. They keep the bar open until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with a smaller late-night food menu available at the restaurant until 12:30 a.m., and for takeout and delivery. They also host an industry night with specials on Sunday evenings.

Popups at ISCO

The Industrious Spirit Company distillery in Providence opened its indoor tasting room to the public. Patio and Tasting Room are first come, first serve. The distillery is also hosting mobile food businesses and live music events on the covered outdoor patio to complement ISCO’s handcrafted spirits and cocktails, available for outdoor dining and takeout. Wednesday nights they have a PVD Live music series from 6 to 8 p.m. Garden of Eve Caribbean restaurant returns for Thirsty Thursdays (or takeout anytime) with its tableside text menu from 5-10 p.m. Dishes include rasta pasta with grilled shrimp, vegan curry chickpeas, BBQ ribs and beef and chicken quesadillas. As always, the patio is covered and has several fire pits with frequent visits from area mobile food businesses. Reserve a table on the patio or order cocktails to go. Bottles of housemade gin and vodka are available for purchase too. Tours are now available by reservation, every other Sunday at 11 a.m.

First Friday of the month

Moniker Brewery in Providence is hosting First Fridays the first Friday of every month, when the brewery will welcome RI Cruisin’ Cocktails and Anchor and Hope wine, in addition to celebrating the brewery’s latest releases.

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A rendering of Maven’s Delicatessen.

 

FUTURE OPENINGS

A new branch of Plant City X will open at Bryant University, according to the Boston Globe.

Giusto chef-owner Kevin O’Donnell will be opening a new restaurant in downtown Newport this spring. Mother Pizzeria will be a neighborhood pizzeria in partnership with Giusto executive chef Kyle Stamps and Giusto general manager Lauren Schaefer. The new spot will have a quick to-go-style counter reminiscent of a Roman cafe as well as a dining room and bar. A Neapolitan-style pizza oven will be the focal point where guests can sit at a small counter to enjoy the action. Get Roman-style pizza for takeout or focus on sourdough pizza in the dining room. The dough will be made with local stone ground wheat, and toppings will include cured meats, tin and house-cured fish and local cheeses served with a variety of baked in-house breads. The bar will feature Italian-centric cocktails, approachable wines and craft beers. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.

The Martucci Group is expanding its brand through multiple avenues. Coming in the Spring of 2023 is the Trap Smithfield, the second location to open for the Trap.

Maven’s Delicatessen plans to open this Spring 2023 at the intersection of Hope Street and Blackstone Boulevard in Pawtucket. “Maven’s is the place where you can come with your family and enjoy delicious Jewish cuisine in a fun, cheeky atmosphere,” says founder and owner Jason Sugarman, whose family also opened Asia Grille at Garden City. Paying homage to the delicatessens of the past, Maven’s will curate a menu featuring traditional and modern Jewish cuisine, including pastrami sandwiches stacked with smoked-in-house pastrami and authentic boiled and baked bagels. Follow @mavensdelicatessen on Instagram for updates.

Oberlin is moving to bigger and better digs across Grant’s Block Park and chef/owner Benjamin Sukle will be opening another new restaurant right next to it. Gift Horse will highlight a raw bar-style menu with a focus on local shellfish and New England catch. Sukle is also including longtime Oberlin general manager (and fellow Johnson and Wales alum) Bethany Caliaro as a partner.

Shake Shack is headed to Garden City Center in Cranston in 2023. The burgers, chicken sandwiches and frozen custard shakes will soon be available in the corner space next to Starbucks.

Sweetgreen, the first in Rhode Island, is coming soon to Garden City in Cranston.

 

CLOSINGS

After more than fifty years, Gary’s Handy Lunch in Newport is closing. From its Facebook page: “With many thoughts and prayers, we have decided it is time for our next chapter. Gary’s Handy Lunch will officially be closing our doors on February 12, 2023. We are grateful for all of our customers that have become like an extended family over these many years.”

319762 196010477184361 902616222 NWayland Bakery, a family-owned bakery in Wayland Square since 1928, permanently closed at the end of 2022. From its Facebook page: “When our family took over the bakery in 1999, we were committed to continuing the tradition of providing delicious baked goods and excellent service that had been the hallmark of the bakery for over ninety years. Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision to close Wayland Bakery. We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of our loyal customers who have supported us over the years. It has been a pleasure serving you and being a part of this community. Although our bakery will be closing, our family will continue to operate another bakery located at 546 Smithfield Ave., Pawtucket, RI, called Zaccagnini’s Pastry Shoppe, and we hope to see you there. We encourage you to stop by and try some of our signature items, such as out freshly baked breads, pastries and other baked goods.”

Joe and Donna Dubé, owners of Wickford Gourmet Factory Outlet, closed the forty-one-year-old North Kingstown kitchen goods mainstay in December. Read more at Providence Business News.

 

FARMERS MARKETS, GROCERIES AND DELIVERY

The Farm Fresh RI Farmers Market is open year-round on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at 10 Sims Avenue in Providence. The new building has a premium ventilation system (Merv13), wide hallways that ensure COVID-19 distancing and convenient parking.

The Aquidneck Growers Market takes place at Embrace Home Loans Campus at 25 Enterprise Drive in Middletown on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

The Mount Hope Farm farmers market continues from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Mount Hope Farm in Bristol each Saturday. There are pre-ordering options as well as the ability to buy on site.