Restaurant Relics

These restaurants have existed since before Rhode Island Monthly was founded, and we’re thankful they’ve barely changed a thing.
Al Forno Sept 92 Credit Patrick Oconnor 1536x1329

Al Forno. Photo by Patrick O’ Connor.


Years in Business: 41

Not much has changed since Marchetti’s opened its doors in 1982. The Italian restaurant in Cranston’s Knightsville neighborhood turns out family recipes passed down for generations, including meatballs, lasagna, calamari alla mama, chicken and veal parmigiana and an abundance of seafood entrees, all served with an air of nostalgia. 1463 Park Ave., Cranston,

Al Forno

Years in Business: 43

Al Forno’s claim to fame is the invention of grilled pizza, but the handcrafted baked pastas by chef David Reynoso and team are equally as notable. Wood-grilled entrees include a spice-rubbed and crackle-skinned half chicken with an herbaceous sauce. Some things never change: Dessert — housemade ice cream, fruit tarts and cookie plates — still must be ordered at the start of your meal, and it’s worth the wait. 577 South Water St., Providence, 273-9760,



Years in Business: 45

Descend into the subterranean space carved out of the cellar of an 1800s Providence historic landmark. Politicians and businessmen sport dinner jackets while servers wear crisp white shirts and bowties for service that lingers into the night. Out of more than sixty entree options, opt for a dish that displays the lost art of tableside flambe: steak Diane, shrimp scampi and beef Wellington include dinner and a show. 2 Pine St., Providence, 421-1320,


Pot au Feu

Years in Business: 51

The first time Julia Child visited Pot au Feu, owners Robert I. and Annie Burke were traveling in Paris. The manager explained to Child that they were away doing food and wine research. “That’s just where they ought to be,” Child said with her famous chortle. Luckily for the Burkes, she returned again to their French bistro that has always served consistent and comforting meals, and they have a signed menu from her as a souvenir. 44 Custom House St., Providence, 273-8953,


Wright’s Farm Restaurant

Years in Business: 51

Family-owned and -operated for more than fifty years, this Rhode Island icon has played host to generations of families celebrating milestones. The family-style meal has always started with freshly baked rolls and a tossed salad with the famous Italian dressing, followed by pasta with homemade marinara sauce, signature french fries and juicy, tender chicken, now going for $16.75, or a 14 oz. sirloin steak with unlimited sides for $28. 84 Inman Rd., Burrillville, 769-2856,



Years in Business: 57

The Thayer Street mainstay is known for its Greek cuisine, including keftedes lamb meatballs with tzatziki, calamari with olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and cherry peppers, and, of course, rolled grape leaves and meze platters of meats and vegetables. The restaurant has survived various calamities due to water damage and renovations and continues to be a College Hill institution located right near Brown University. 268 Thayer St., Providence, 331-7879,


Coast Guard House

Years in Business: 78

The Coast Guard House was built in 1888 by legendary architects McKim, Mead and White (famous for the Rhode Island State House and New York’s original Penn Station, among other buildings) as a United States Life Saving Service station. In 1945, it was reborn as the Coast Guard House restaurant serving locally harvested seafood on a seasonal basis, and in 1979, it became a year-round favorite just as it is today, now with an updated dining room and waterfront roofdeck. 40 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, 789-0700,


Years in Business: 99

Classic Italian dishes earn the spotlight at Angelo’s, owned by Jamie Antignano. Open for nearly 100 years, there’s a reason the third-generation restaurant hasn’t changed much since 1924. Favorites include chicken parm, slow-cooked veal and peppers and meatballs served with fries. During the Great Depression, the original owner, Angelo Mastrodicasa, invited folks in need to eat his signature meatballs and fries to help tide them over to their next meal. The tradition continues today. 141 Atwells Ave., Providence, 621-8171,


Olympia Tea Room

Years in Business: 107

A cornerstone of Watch Hill since 1916, the restaurant is open late April through late fall, and features a bistro-style menu including New England seafood alongside harbor views. The restaurant was opened by a Greek family, Michael, Theodore and Speros Tramis, who ran it through the ’70s until Jack and Marcia Felber bought it in 1980. 74 Bay St., Watch Hill, 348-8211,


White Horse Tavern

Years in Business: 350

Step back in time at the oldest continuously operated tavern in America, where Founding Fathers, merchants and pirates have met and dined since 1673. Open 364 days a year, the intimate ambience includes cozy tables, uneven wide-plank floors and original fireplaces alongside a classic New England-style menu featuring selections from land and sea. 26 Marlborough St., Newport, 849-3600,