The Dish: What to Expect at This Year’s Eat Drink RI Festival

Get ready for four days of food and drink events held in Providence from April 25-28.

The Los Andes table at the Eat Drink RI Festival’s Grand tasting. Photo by Eat Drink RI.

We’re approaching the end of April which means it’s almost time for the Eat Drink RI Festival. The seventh annual celebration packs four days of food- and drink-related events into one week from April 25 to 28. This time around, it expands with a new kickoff event, more food trucks at the Truck Stop as well as an even bigger Grand Tasting showcase. Be sure to get your tickets in advance as most events (besides the Grand Tasting) sell out quickly.

Here’s a rundown on what you can expect:

Wed., April 25: Sommelier Smackdown!

The festival kicks off this year with a brand new event featuring a handful of the state’s best sommeliers competing against each other in a wine theory quiz, blind wine tasting and a wine and food pairing competition decided on by guests. The newly renovated cafe at Easy Entertaining will play host to an event that will include wine tastings, food and wine pairings and hors d’oeuvres for guests. The teams include sommelier Justin Bothur of Ocean House and Weekapaug Inn and chef Terence Feury of Forty 1º North; sommelier Alan Freudeman of Gracie’s  and chef Matthew MacCartney of Jamestown FiSH; sommelier Ali Innes of bin 312 wine cellar  and chef Benjamin Sukle of birch and Oberlin; sommelier Alí Quero of Los Andes and chef Ashley Vanasse of Easy Entertaining. The event takes place from 6−9 p.m. Tickets are $50 each. Buy tickets here.

Dinner By Dames

Dinner by Dames at the Eat Drink RI Festival.

Thurs., April 26: Dinner By Dames

Dinner By Dames brings together a group of Rhode Island’s most talented women chefs and bartenders for a multi-course feast at the Skyline at Waterplace in downtown Providence. This year’s Dinner by Dames is a part of Paint the Town (RED), for which a portion of proceeds will benefit AIDS Care Ocean State. Participating women include Melissa Denmark of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery, Jordan Goldsmith of Moonrose Farm, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Ashley Vanasse of Easy Entertaining and Jessica Wood of Fire and Water Restaurant Group. For the 2018 Eat Drink RI Festival they’ve added three guest dames: Lisa Lofberg of Little Moss, Rebecca Lentrichia of Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel and Caitlyn McGuire of Ellie’s Bakery. Cocktail pairings will be created for each course with direction by Jen Davis of the Eddy, as well as guest bartenders Cassie Coutard of Courtland Club and New Harvest Coffee and Spirits, Megan Freitas of Durk’s Bar-B-Q, Sam Royds, Elizabeth Sawtelle of Nicks on Broadway, Britt Simons of Persimmon and Kayleigh Speck of The East End. Spirits will be provided by Origin Beverage Co. The evening begins with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception with welcome bites, and moves into a five-course dinner with cocktail pairings. View the menu here. The cost is $160 (all-inclusive). Buy tickets here.

Truck Stop

The Truck Stop to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Photo by Eat Drink RI.

Fri., April 27: Truck Stop

The annual Truck Stop benefit for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank returns to the Food Bank’s huge lot, which allows more trucks to participate. Twenty-three mobile food vendors will be serving tasty dishes at the sixth annual event while Superchief Trio plays live music and drinks are served by Revival Brewing Company, Jonathan Edwards Winery and Yacht Club Soda. Participating vendors include Bon Me, Citizen Wing, Ellie’s Bakery, Food4Good, Friskie Fries, Fugo, GastrosGilded Tomato Company, Gotta Q Smokehouse BBQ, Hometown Poké, Incred-A-Bowl, Like No Udder, Mijos Tacos, Noble Knots, Open Season, Portu-Galo, Presto Strange ORed’s, RI Community Food Bank Community Kitchen, Rhody Roots, Rocket Fine Street Food, Sarcastic Sweets and SoulFull. The event takes place from 5:30−8:30 p.m. Tickets are $85, which includes food from all the trucks and one beverage of your choosing, additional drinks are available to purchase. Buy tickets here.


Grand Tasting

Easy Entertaining’s Kaitlyn Roberts and Blackbird Farm’s Ann Marie Bouthillette present on the stage at the Grand Tasting.

Sat. April 28: Grand Tasting

Where else can you try up to sixty samples from local restaurants, food producers and beverage companies? The Grand Tasting portion of the festival is taking advantage of its spacious location at Rhode Island Convention Center to fill the room (and your belly) with the latest and greatest from the local food and drink scene. There will also be food and drink presentations with some of Rhode Island’s top chefs and food personalities on the Frigidaire Professional Presentation Stage. Participants include Easy Entertaining’s chef Ashley Vanasse and Narragansett Creamery’s Pattie and Mark Federico; Nicks on Broadway’s Chef Derek Wagner and Blackbird Farm’s Ann Marie Bouthillette; and Tallulah’s Taqueria’s chef Jake Rojas and American Mussel Harvesters, Inc. Guests can also learn cooking and cocktail-making techniques from chefs and artisans at a more interactive and intimate show area. Presenters include Basta’s chef Antonio Franco on pasta; Ellie’s Bakery’s chefs Melissa Denmark and Caitlyn McGuire on decorating desserts; and El Rancho Grande’s co-owner Joaquin Meza on cocktails. Check out the full list of Grand Tasting tables and participants on the Exhibitors page (continually updated). The event takes place from noon−4 p.m. Grand Tasting tickets are $75 and include all food and beverage samplings, chef presentations and author signings. Buy tickets here.



Inside the Mind of Culinary David Dadekian

The Dish: Help Bring the West Park Food Hall to Life

Your Rhode Island Foodie Bucket List