Diner’s Update

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

Brett Johnson, Samantha Labrecque and Kaylee Pugliese

May and June 2018


Rhode Island Bakes for Breast Cancer is a sweet and delicious way to raise “dough” for breast cancer research and care. From Mother’s Day on May 13, through May 19, local restaurants, bakeries and cafes throughout the Ocean State will participate by designating all sales of one specific dessert, or 50 percent of proceeds from their entire dessert menu, to breast cancer care and research. Proceeds from the fifth annual event will benefit Bakes for Breast Cancer, a nonprofit breast cancer organization dedicated to funding local breast cancer researchers and clinicians. For a list of participating establishments or to shop online, visit the website.


The Garage will feature a conversation exploring “a-ha” moments, lessons learned and the unique insights from local entrepreneurs and alumni from the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, Social Enterprise Greenhouse and other RI-based accelerators. Hosted at South Street Landing at 350 Eddy St. in Providence from 3:30 to 7 p.m., this is an opportunity to learn about starting and running a business. The speakers at the panel discussion include Semia Dunne, owner of Flowers By Semia and The Floral Reserve, Nico Enriquez, CEO of Farmer Willie’s Craft Ginger Beer, Clemens Graves, founder and CEO of Finnest and Elizabeth McDonnell, owner of Fortnight Wine Bar. There is free admission but you must register before May 15 as space is limited.


Oyster lovers, prep your palate for a weekend’s worth of briny bivalves on the waterfront. The Newport Waterfront Oyster Festival, presented by Bowen’s Wharf Company and Moët and Chandon, is hosting an opening party on May 18 from 6 to 8:30 p.m., with the festival taking place May 19 and 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Friday night opening party features all-you-can-eat Rhode Island oysters paired with a locally catered dinner by Diego’s, desserts by Anchor Toffee and The Cookie Jar. Wine Pairings and master-classes will be provided by Cloudy Bay Vineyards. The open bar event will be held on Bowen’s Wharf for $125 per person. Buy opening night tickets here. That Saturday and Sunday, guests can return to Bowen’s Wharf for a second round of oysters from thirteen growers, plus food available from other restaurants and live music. Advance festival tickets are $27 each for the festival, and the cost includes six oysters and a beverage from one of the sponsors, including Whalers Brewing of South Kingstown. Sunday will see the return of the shucking contest at 3 p.m., supported in part by the Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island.

5/18 to 5/20

Gurney’s Newport Resort and Marina will be hosting a New England Clambake from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20. For $95 per person, guests can enjoy a menu that includes Gurney’s signature clam chowder, local lobster, steamers and mussels, fresh cornbread, grilled and pesto-brushed vegetables and blueberry cobbler. Tickets are available on the Gurney’s Resorts website at gurneysresorts.com/newport.


Ponaganset High School’s second annual Clambake is a class project that allows students to discuss and analyze the history of the traditional clambake and explore why it is still part of New England tradition. Join the students, friends and family at the high school on Friday, May 18  at 6 p.m. for Ponaganset’s Second Old Fashioned New England Clambake. The menu includes all you can eat chowder, soft shell clams, cod fish, red bliss potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet onions, corn on the cob, Saugy hot dogs, bockwurst sausage, chorizo sausage, traditional quahogs and  watermelon. Tickets for the event are $30 per person, and all proceeds will be used to support the Vietnam Moving Wall. There is a hot dog and hamburger option for $10. Checks are payable to Ponaganset High School. Tickets must be purchased in advance by May 1. For more information, call the PHS Clambake Hotline at 401-338-6015.


It’s American Craft Beer Week! Celebrate with Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling Co. for Barrel Aged Beer Night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sample a diverse selection of barrel aged beers with a live discussion on the brewing and aging processes with brewmaster Derek Luke. You will be educated on first and second generation agings as well as the fermentation process. Get your tickets here for $25 per person.

5/19 and 5/20

The Southside Community Land Trust is hosting its twenty-sixth annual Rare and Unusual Plant Sale on May 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Farm at 168 West Clifford St. (Corner of Dudley St.) in Providence. Members can get in early at 9 a.m. There will be lots of live music throughout the event, including Circle of the Drum, the ‘Mericans, Phil Edmonds and Friends, Michelle Cruz and many more.


Calling all Bloody Mary lovers! The New England Hemophilia Association has partnered with RI Food Fights from 11 a.m.– 2 p.m. for the first ever best Bloody Mary competition at the Arcade in Providence. Attendees must be twenty-one and older. Admission is $25 in advance or $30 day-of. Buy tickets here.


The local nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem will host a series of workshops this winter and spring on specific dates from 6 to 8 p.m. to introduce home cooks to the joys of cooking with whole, local fish. The series, titled “School of Fish,” advances the organization’s mission to help New Englanders eat a more diverse and representative array of wild seafood from our local marine ecosystems by overcoming the barriers for consumers to feel comfortable cooking with local species. The final workshop will take place in the demonstration kitchen at Hope and Main in Warren and will be led by well-known local chefs Jason Hegedus and Nick Gillespie (Dune Brother’s Seafood) on May 21. Each class will feature one fish species prepared three ways, accompanied by instruction, conversation, tastings, and local wine. Tickets cost $50 per person and can be purchased here.


Stoneacre Tapas, at 515 Thames St. in Newport, is hosting its next pop-up at the restaurant. This time it will be a Louisiana-style Crawfish Boil at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $28 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Find out more here.


There will be a screening of the film The Gleaners and I on Tuesday, May 22, hosted by the Cable Car Cinema and Cafe in Providence from 6 to 8:15 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q-and-A, which will bring together local experts in the field of food recovery to discuss how Rhode Island is addressing issues of wasted food with farms, institutions and restaurants. The film, by acclaimed French filmmaker Agnes Varda, documents various types of gleaners – in fields, cities and junkyards – as they recover food and other found objects. Panelists will include: Eva Agudelo, Founding Director of Hope’s Harvest RI, Rhode Island’s first farm-based gleaning organization; Sue AnderBois, the Director of Food Strategy for the State of Rhode Island; Antonia Bryson, who helped to implement a consumer-focused pilot campaign known as “Food Too Good To Waste” and currently sits on the RI Commission for Food Recovery Incentives; and Bridget Sweet, Director of Food Safety at Johnson and Wales University. Ticket sales, a suggested donation of $10 per person, will support the work of Hope’s Harvest RI. Learn more about the organization and sign up to get involved at: hopesharvest.org.


Join the Blackstone River Valley Explorer and Blackstone Culinaria for dinner and a river cruise. First, enjoy the warm hospitality of the staff at Beirao Cafe Restaurante, at 15 Madeira Ave. in Central Falls, for a meal that includes the Portuguese specialty, Carne de Porco Alantejana, which is marinated pork with potatoes and steamed littlenecks (it can be made without clams if desired). After dinner, you will walk across the street to board the Explorer for a river tour. This guided tour will cover the history of this area while observing the flora and fauna along the Blackstone River. The event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m., and the cost is $25 per person. Purchase tickets here.


On Thursday, May 24, Hotel Viking will kick off Memorial Day weekend with the first-ever Catch and Cook Chef Celebration featuring One Bellevue’s executive chef Simone Ferrara along with special guests chef Kevin Des Chenes and the crew of Big Game Fishing Rhode Island. At $95 per person, the event includes a fish demonstration and cocktail reception, followed by a family-style feast. Executive chef and author of Beyond My Chef Coat, Kevin Des Chenes, is the winner of “Top Celebrity Chef Showdown.” Also on hand at the event will be captains Brian Bacon, Peter Bacon and Shamus Mara of Big Game Sport Fishing, who have been fishing the Southern New England waters for thirty years. The event includes pre-dinner fare and a tuna filet demo that you can watch while sipping beverages from Devil’s Purse brewery and KEEL Vodka. Then, guests will join Ferrara and Des Chenes for a feast featuring dishes inspired by both chefs using local Newport catch and produce from the Newport region. Purchase tickets here.


To help support the chef demo series at the Armory Farmers Market to be held there this summer, Pastaio and Farm Fresh RI are presenting a fundraising dinner at Pastaio restaurant. Dine there on Thursday, May 24, and Pastaio will donate 10 percent of all sales between 5 and 10 p.m. to the Armory Farmers Market. Wine and beer sponsored by Revival Brewing Company and Wine Wizards. No tickets necessary. Call 401-421-1513 for reservations. This is one of your last chances to experience this farm-to-table restaurant before its doors close May 27.


Join Fleming’s Providence for a special wine dinner featuring seven extraordinary wines from Ken Wright Cellars. This one-night-only event includes a perfectly prepared five-course menu, expertly curated by chef partner Joshua Dabiew. Tables are limited, so please reserve yours today. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., and the cost is $110 per guest. call 401-533-9000 for reservations.


Green Line Apothecary is celebrating their second anniversary by giving everyone twenty-five percent off of everything in the store Memorial Day weekend. Their sale includes everything on the menu and health products. The celebration also includes the debut of a limited-edition double chocolate ice cream flavor in honor of two years in business.  Don’t forget the store has a full-service pharmacy, too, and those who switch to Green Line during the weekend will receive a free gift.

5/31 and Every Thursday

The Armory Farmers Market will kick off Thursday, May 31 from 3:30-7 p.m. in the Dexter Training Grounds on the West Side of Providence. It will continue every Thursday from 3:30-7 p.m.


The Ladies High Tea with stand up comedian and author Doreen Collins at Pot au Feu in Providence is Rhode Island’s premier women’s networking event. It is two hours of fun from 5 to 7 p.m. with successful women who have found an alternative to the “Old Boys Network.” Every High Tea includes Pot au Feu’s  timed “Seven-minute Seminar” and the only “tea” is in the Mar-Tea-Ninis. Tickets are $25 each, and can be purchase online.


The Hope Street Merchants Association is hosting the annual Hope Street Block Party. This fun, family-friendly event features two live music stages, myriad activities, including a climbing wall, face painters, Live Prov Wrestling, a curated art and crafts market, and more. Work up your appetite and enjoy food trucks, beer, cocktails and outdoor dining while embracing the vibrant community setting in Providence.


Celebrate 125 years of delicious (and maybe a little greasy) food with the makers of the film The Original Food Truck, who will be celebrating all year long and will have an anniversary party on June 3 to celebrate Haven Brothers diner. Since 1888, when Anne Philomena Haven first started making the rounds with her horse-drawn lunch cart, Providence has been home to the first food truck and first diner, and the the fact that it’s the first diner to be owned by a woman is just the icing on the cake. Details regarding the celebration coming soon, so stay tuned for what’s sure to be a delicious afternoon.


The Sustainable Seafood Symposium is a two-part collaboration between the Jacques Pépin Foundation and JWU On June 6 from 1-6 p.m. at the JWU Harborside campus, benefiting and celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chefs Collaborative, raising awareness about challenges with seafood sustainability and offering alternative solutions. Guest speakers include Rick Moonen, Barton Seaver, Derek Wagner, Bunn Lai, the Rhode Island Fisheries Council and many more. The Ted Talk-style discussions will inform the audience about our our complex seafood food system, some of the challenges we face, and explore creative opportunities and solutions to these dynamic issues. The event also includes a reception with oysters, caviar, craft beer and bubbles, while networking with participants. All proceeds of this event go towards supporting Chefs Collaborative work towards their mission. It is a twenty-one-plus event that is free for JWU students, and costs $75 for other guests. Purchase tickets here.


2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s Community Kitchen culinary job training program, and to celebrate, the food bank is partnering with the Jacques Pépin Foundation to host Savor, a multi-course feast hosted by Jacques Pépin with special guest Sara Moulton, and prepared by chefs Matthew MacCartney, Rick Moonen, Jeremy Sewall, Champe Speidel, Ming Tsai and James Wayman. The dinner will take place on June 7 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Newport Vineyards in Newport, Rhode Island. Wine pairings are included. Tickets are $600 per person with limited seats available. If you’d like to attend this event, contact Kelly Seigh at kseigh@rifoodbank.org or call 401-230-1679. For more information about Savor, click here.


An Evening of Grapes and Grain on June 9 from 5 to 7:30 will benefit URI Women’s Athletics. The event will take place at the President’s House Lawn on the URI Kingston campus, and it will include food, wine and beer from area vendors, such as Coast Guard House, Back 40 and Matunuck Oyster Bar. There will also be live and silent auctions. The cost is $125 per person. Must be at least twenty-one years of age to attend. Buy tickets here.


The folks who bring you Beervana Fest and RI Food Fights are joining forces again this year to celebrate Bacon and Beer on June 10 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Steel Yard in Providence. There will be twenty-five local restaurants pairing their favorite bacon-inspired dish with beers from twenty-five local breweries. Tickets are $55 per person, and they can be purchased here. See a list of participating restaurants and breweries.

7/6 and 7/7

The third annual Ocean State BBQ Festival is back and ready to celebrate all that’s locally smoked and grilled with Rhode Island-based barbecue joints, enthusiasts and backyarders. The festival will have an emphasis on local smokers, local brews and local music!

7/10 and 7/24

Castle Hill Inn’s clambake pit is nestled on the far edge of the inn’s picturesque bluffs and is the weekly centerpiece to a dining experience rich with natural flavors and homegrown fun. Guests can observe the cooking process led by executive chef Lou Rossi, sip artisan cocktails in Adirondack chairs, or play bocce and croquet against the backdrop of Newport Harbor until it’s time to gather for a uniquely local and expertly prepared seafood feast filled with lobster and clams and more.



Sin on the West Side of Providence is offering a build-your-own gin and tonic menu that lets you choose your gin, your tonic and any additions. Spike it up with anything from blackberry liqueur and Aperol to pamplemousse and rhubarb grapefruit liqueur, and add fresh basil, berries and thyme.

This year, Dave’s Coffee is doing something special for Pride Month. The head roaster came up with a unique blend, “The Big and Fruity,” that the coffee shop will be selling through the month of June. Dave’s Coffee will be donating 10 percent of the proceeds to Youth Pride in Providence, as well as proceeds from a limited edition poster that was designed by one of the Dave’s staff. The coffee importer, InterAmerican, has also agreed to a dollar-to-dollar donation match, up to $500 on bag sales.

Chez Pascal in Providence is starting a new Cookbook Culinary Series, beginning the second week in May. Chef Matt Gennuso has more than 400 cookbooks that he has amassed over the years. He will be highlighting a favorite cookbook from his collection each month, and every Tuesday through Thursday, the restaurant will offer a special three-course menu inspired by the recipes of selected books for $38 per person (not including tax, gratuity or beverages) in addition to the regular menu. The courses will have the option to be paired with a thoughtfully selected cocktail, wine or beer. The book will change each month.

The East End in Providence recently started lunch service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu includes warm sandwiches like Cubans, a cheesesteak, seasonal soups and salads and plates like crab cakes and steak frites. Feel free to go ahead and have a martini lunch as the entire bar remains open for lunch, too.

Join Jamestown Fish in Jamestown for Vintage Thursdays: a casual and affordable exploration of wine and food where the only agenda is enjoyment and education. Guests are invited to not only sample the provided offerings of the night, but to also bring their own bottles that fit the occasion to enjoy and share with others (if they wish). There is no set time to arrive. Enjoy a two-course dinner, paired perfectly with these wine samplings for just $25.

Join special guest sommeliers and wine experts at Massimo Italian restaurant on Federal Hill in Providence to enjoy a sophisticated evening of wine tastings on the first Thursday of every month, from 6–8 p.m. While admission is only $25, reservations are recommended. Call 401-273-0650 or visit the website to guarantee a spot to try the delicious wines, meats, cheeses and hors d’oeuvres, as well as to pick the brains of the seasoned wine connoisseurs

Ella’s in Westerly offers a two-course pre-fixe menu for $25 per person. Choose from appetizers like pate, the dynamite oyster, a mixed greens salad and cavatelli, and entrees like squid arrabiata, pan-seared flounder, shrimp tempura and momma’s chicken. For reservations, call 401-315-0606.

Join Chair 5 at the Break Hotel in Narragansett for specials all week long! Every day from 4–6 p.m., enjoy buck-a-shuck on the rooftop or enjoy appy hour, five appetizers for $5. Wine Wednesdays is available from 6–7 p.m. Enjoy three wines with a common factor (producer, varietal or region) and munch on a small bite to accompany each selected wine. Visit dinechair5.com for additional information.

Massimo has new beverage and menu selections on the brunch menu, which is available every Sunday from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Choices range from lobster crepes and pork belly with fontina polenta to brioche French toast with strawberries and mascarpone. Don’t miss the Drag Brunch on the first Sunday of each month in the upstairs dining room from noon–2 p.m.



PTX Lounge, a new bar from the owner of the Avery, John Richard, and radio host Doug Palmieri, is now open in Pawtuxet Village. Read more about it here.

Johnston welcomes a new restaurant, Strings Bar and Grill, located on 183 George Waterman Rd. The spot features local music Tuesday through Sunday and it also support local artists.

Foolproof Brewing Company unveiled a new light beer called Ocean State Lager that will be distributed throughout New England and New Jersey. Available in draft and sixteen-ounce cans, a portion of the beer’s Rhode Island sales profits will be donated to the University of Rhode Island to benefit student-led aquaculture and fisheries research in Rhode Island.

Knead Doughnuts

Knead Doughnuts on Elmgrove Avenue. Photo from Knead’s Facebook page.

Knead Doughnuts has opened its second location at 135 Elmgrove Avenue in Providence. With art by Rebecca Volynsky and Paul Robert Berman, the shop with serve up the same special gourmet doughnuts as the downtown location.

Mercer’s Delicatessen is now open at 485 Angell St. in Wayland Square in Providence (formerly the Olive Tap). Some of the specialties include knishes, pastrami sandwiches on seeded rye, black and white cookies and more.

White Dog Distilling, Rhode Island’s third craft distillery, is now open. The small batch distillery is craftting bourbon, whiskey, rum and gin and has renovated a Pawtucket space previously held by two popular Pawtucket breweries. For more information on tasting room hours and events follow them on Facebook and Instagram: @whitedogdistilling.

Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling Company released Rhode Rage, a new unfiltered, Double IPA. The juicy hop flavor and sweet notes of apricot and tangerine make this a perfect brew to sip on during the summer. Four packs of sixteen-ounce cans can be bought for $16 at liquor stores and restaurants all over the state. Visit the website for additional information.

Second Story Theatre in Warren has officially opened its restaurant within the same building. The restaurant, Union, is open for dinner Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and on Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 3 to 9 p.m. Check out the menu here.

Sift Bake Shop of Mystic, Connecticut, opened a second, seasonal location in Watch Hill. The shop will be open on weekends from 8 a.m. starting May 1, then it will begin opening daily from 8 a.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Dave’s Coffee has a new spring kitchen menu, which includes a selection of breakfast sandwiches, toasts (including apple almond and avocado), and the grab-and-go strawberry poppyseed salad, couscous salad, granola and yogurt, and spinach and artichoke hummus. The egg sandwich can be topped with Daniele prosciutto and cheddar cheese on a scratch-made English muffin, or you can try it with cheddar and vegan carrot bacon. The vegetarian add-on option has been a huge hit. The carrots are thinly sliced and marinated overnight, then the slices are baked until crispy.

After closing on account of January’s bomb cyclone and the burst pipe that it produced, the Greek American restaurant, Andreas on Thayer Street, reopened its doors on March 20. Fans of Andreas might not recognize the restaurant, however, as the reopening sees not only a fixed pipe, but also a full interior renovation and menu additions such as Greek egg noodles and meatballs, as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options. The new look also includes an expanded function room perfect for any upcoming reunions, graduation parties and more.




North restaurant will be reopening its former location as a new restaurant, called Big King, sometime (maybe) in May. The restaurant will focus on “raw stuff/grilled stuff/fried stuff and it will have “reservations/sake/limited hours,” according to the @foodbynorth Twitter feed. Follow @bigkingpvd for more updates. At the same time, North Bakery will be closing this month. According to the Instagram page, last service will be May 28: “Successes, failures, joy and heartache. We’ve watched the neighborhood change before our eyes. Thank you to everyone who gave the weird bakery across from the battery store and auto body shop a shot.
Stop in for one last cookie while you can folks.
Love you all.


Pastaio will be closing its doors for good on Sunday, May 27. They are not accepting new reservations and existing reservations will be honored. Parties with gift cards can call or email for a reservation or refund. A message on the Facebook page reads: “We cannot thank you all, Rhode Island, our customers, or our team, enough to express how much you all truly mean to us. The support you all have shown since day one has exceeded our expectations and we will miss serving you the most. Pastaio Handmade pastas will still be available at Stock, Hope & Thyme, & Mercer’s Deli. We hope to see you all around soon, and again, we thank you.”

The Savory Grape in East Greenwich is expanding next door with a build out and more enhanced shopping experience at its location. A bigger space means more warm, personal service; more wine, beer and spirits; and of course more fun. More details to come soon!

Besos Kitchen and Cocktails, located at 378 Main Street in East Greenwich, has been sold to the Martucci Group. The Martucci Group currently owns Safehouse Modern Neighborhood Eatery, an upscale establishment inspired by the ski culture of Jackson Hole Wyoming; the Trap Brew Pub and Grill, featuring pub fare, a wide beer selection and live entertainment; and Chianti’s Catering; providing Italian-inspired dishes for personal and corporate events. Previously owned by husband and wife Mike and Kristin Della Grotta, Besos has been family run since 2011 and it will continue to be family owned and operated by The Martucci Group.



The Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Gilded Tomato the 2018 Home-based Business of the Year for Massachusetts. Gilded Tomato earned the recognition for its innovations in the food industry with a mobile craft pizza business that has also established itself as a community social enterprise.  Gilded Tomato offers a true farm-to-table catering experience, growing and harvesting seasonal produce, herbs and honey from their farm, based in Massachusetts and traveling with their mobile ovens to locations throughout New England.

More than 600 guests attended the Eat Drink RI Festival’s Truck Stop: A Festival of Street Eats, which raised more than $150,000 to support the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s ongoing efforts to feed Rhode Islanders in need. Also, thanks to many generous Rhode Islanders – and their letter carriers – the Rhode Island Community Food Bank received more than 60,000 pounds of food through the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive on Saturday, May 12.





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