Oberlin Chef/Owner Benjamin Sukle Announces New Raw Bar Restaurant

Gift Horse will open this spring in Providence, and Oberlin is moving into a new location in summer 2023.
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Benjamin Sukle photographed at the former birch restaurant, which closed in October 2020. Photo by Jamie Coelho.

For those still heartbroken by Benjamin Sukle’s first-born birch closing during the pandemic, we have just the remedy for you: the chef/owner of Oberlin, Johnson and Wales grad and multiple James Beard Foundation “Best Chef Northeast” Award nominee is once again making major moves in the local culinary scene. Two, in fact.

The first comes in the form of a brand new restaurant, Gift Horse, on Westminster Street in Providence this coming spring 2023. The name — which is derived from the tongue-in-cheek saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” — is said to be a preview of the eccentric, playful tone and atmosphere that the team aims to deliver. The raw bar-style menu will provide a strong focus on shellfish, seafood and catches from New England in a style that is singular to Chef Sukle’s approach to seasonality, as well as the cultivated relationships he has with local farmers and fishermen. The oyster offerings, specifically, will predominantly be harvested from different bays around the state (or very close by). Meanwhile, the beverage program will feature an expanded wine list and a number of low abv cocktails, the likes of which may include creative takes on spritzes inspired by the Mediterranean coast. For more information on Gift Horse, visit gifthorsepvd.com.

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Current Oberlin location. Oberlin will move across the street in summer 2023. Photo by Jamie Coelho.

The second move is, well, an actual move. Next summer, the Providence foodie darling, Oberlin (which earned the #7 spot on Bon Appetit‘s Hot Ten Best New Restaurants List during its first year), will be relocating from its current 186 Union Street address directly across the street to 266 Westminster Street. While the team does plan to briefly close the restaurant in preparation for the changeover, the new location opening will give way to expanded hours of operation for brunch and lunch service. The transition will also see the addition of a brand new wood-burning oven (which will serve as the heart of the restaurant and influence many of the seafood vegetable dishes), a larger wine cellar and bar program and a larger overall footprint with additional seating and private dining and catering opportunities. Adjacent to Grant’s Block Park, the new address furthermore provides for an expansive outdoor patio and bar outfitted with a retractable roof and heaters to extend seasonal dining. Longtime general manager (and fellow Johnson and Wales alum), Bethany Caliaro, will join as a partner in the restaurant as well. Despite the changes, Sukle, Caliaro and the rest of the Oberlin team are committed to continuing to offer the same quality experience diners have come to expect since Oberlin’s initial opening in 2016. For more information on Oberlin, visit oberlinrestaurant.com.

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Current Oberlin location’s interior. Photo by Jamie Coelho.