Summer makes everything better, even food and drink. The days are long, the living is (or should be easy) and we’ve made it through another pandemic winter. This should be an extra sweet Memorial Day to welcome summer.
In Rhode Island, great food adventures start with passion. But add in some local ingredients and what a dish you have! Of course, those many, many ocean views don’t hurt either.
A lot of new people have moved to Rhode Island over the past two years. No doubt they are exploring the great food and drink culture. But if not, let this guide be a starting point.
This list is also meant to help if you have company coming to visit. Either explore with them, or hand it over and send them off to delight in the flavors of Rhode Island.
Visit a farm brewery
There are now two in Rhode Island.
Ragged Island Brewing just began operating their new Farm Brewery at 54 Bristol Ferry Rd. in Portsmouth, seven days a week. Owners Matt and Katie Gray remodeled a 1890s farmhouse for sampling and retail sales with multiple outdoor decks to showcase the stunning views of Narragansett Bay.
As they’ve grown to a 10-barrel system, they also hired a new brewer but one that comes with great experience. He’s Derek Luke who co-founded Coastal Extreme Brewing in Newport.
Details: 54 Bristol Ferry Rd., Portsmouth, raggedislandbrewing.com.
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Rhode Island’s first farm brewery opened in late 2020. It’s the expansive Titled Barn Brewery that owners Kara and Matt Richardson built on her family farm. The post and beam barn is 10,000 square feet. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor space to enjoy their craft beers.
The Brewery will also be hosting a Farmers Market from June 8 through Oct. 12 on Wednesday nights from 4-7 p.m.
The focus here is also on the real working farm, animals and all. The Richardson began their move to brewing starting a hop farm back 15 years ago. Exploring the farm and learning about brewing are part of the experience.
Details: One Hemsley Place, Exeter, tiltedbarnbrewery.com.
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Go to a gourmet market
This list is perfect for when it’s hot and you don’t want to cook but you want to stay home. There are fabulous prepared foods at these five spots. They are also gourmet grocery stores with the best kind of kitchen staples.
Foodlove Market, 1037 Aquidneck Ave. in Middletown.foodlovemarket.com, not only has prepared foods from the Newport Restaurant Group’s spots like Trio and Avvio, they have seafood dishes and desserts.
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Neapolis, 60 South County Commons Way, Wakefield, neapolisri.com, is a most wonderful market. Ready to take home are homemade gelato, Roman pizza, sold by the slice, prepared dinners and soups, unique cheeses and freshly baked Italian pastries.
Bubbie’s Market & Deli, 727 Hope St.,Providence, is where you’ll find kosher foods, sandwiches and prepared foods. Everything here is meant to remind you how wonderful food and family are so you can taste the history.
Venda Ravioli,275 Atwells Ave., Providence, has imported olive oils and ingredients that make great meals. Or you can buy their wonderful pastas or raviolis and sauces to make at home. The deli, meat and cheese counters are excellent, as are the olive bins.
Drink at an urban beer garden
Before many of today’s popular craft breweries were but a dream, there was Trinity Brewhouse in Providence.For the past few seasons, there’s been the outdoor Trinity Beer Garden at 2 Kennedy Plaza in Biltmore Park. It’s seasonal and weather permitting through Oct. 16. Follow on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for updates.
They have a rotating variety of local food vendors and food trucks (Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m.) plus live comedy (Saturday night from 7-10 p.m.) and music (Saturday 1-5 p.m).
What a year!:Rhode Island got 41 new restaurants, breweries and wineries in 2021. Check them out.
Did you know they also offer wine and a variety of batched cocktails, too? And they use Sons of Liberty’s spirits distilled in South Kingstown for some of the coktails. Try the Sugar Honey Iced Tea featuring Honey Chamomile whiskey, half lemonade and half iced tea. Details: trinitybrewhouse.com/beer-garden
Be on the lookout for the Trinity Brewhouse beer cart from 4-10 pm Monday to Wednesday in downtown Providence!. Follow on Instagram for the location.
There’s a lot going on here in the East Bay.
Hunky Dory is serving its stellar farm to table menu including fried chicken and some Southern specialties at 40 Market St. They’ve added a few garden patio tables that are first come, first serve.
Trafford’s restaurant has reopened for waterfront dining at 285 Water St.
Chomp Kitchen & Drinks serves great burgers, sandwiches, cocktails and more as well an outdoor beer garden at 440 Child St., Warren.
Perella’s Ristorante, 311 Metacom Ave., is thriving after a Robert Irvine makeover for “Restaurant Impossible.”
Freshly made pasta, cheese, gelato, cannoli are on the menu for the Prica Farina shop at 2 Market St.
There’s also a lot more, especially along Main Street. Take a stroll.
Find a new local food business
Hope & Main is Rhode Island’s unique culinary business incubator. Their business program and commercial kitchens have helped launched hundreds of small food producers from condiments to cookies to home delivered meals.
During the summer, their Schoolyard Market is held every Wednesday (beginning June 15) from 4-7 p.m. at 691 Main St., Warren. You can try the local, unique foodstuffs which include the best dog snacks you’ll ever have, Buppy Pets.
You’ll also meet the makers like the American Pecan Company founder Matthew Bailey. He and his wife visited Rhode Island and then moved here from Georgia. But their farm down south is providing the exceptional nuts used to make their products.
If you want stories, you’ll get them here.
Go back in time at a historic diner
When Pawtucket’s Miss Lorraine Diner was named to the National Register of Historic Places, it became the fifth diner so designated in Rhode Island and the fourth still in business.
The Miss Lorraine, 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, misslorrainediner.com, is a rare 1941 semi-streamline diner from the Worcester Lunch Car Company that opened as Donwell’s Diner in Hartford, Connecticut. It moved twice including to Middletown in 1969, where it was Squeak’s Diner. It sat vacant after it closed in 1997 and even after being purchased in 2003 by Colin Strayer, a filmmaker, preservationist and diner buff.
Enter Jonathan Savage, owner and developer of Lorraine Mills. He bought the diner in 2011 and brought it to Pawtucket. It was the ultimate restoration project, taking more than a decade for the stunning restoration. Find all-day breakfast, comfort food and Italian specialties here.
Jigger’s Diner, 145 Main St., East Greenwich, jiggersdiner.com, sits on busy Main Street in East Greenwich in an old-style diner car. The small, domed building which was manufactured by the Worcester Lunch Car Co. in about 1947.
They promote their farm to table menu and list all the farms and fishermen from which they buy. But you can still get a coffee cabinet here. They serve jonnycakes made with Kenyon’s Stone Ground Corn Meal. They have bagels and lox, too. They also offer lighter fare with egg white omelets and an oatmeal platter.
Rhode Island’s other historic diners are the Modern Diner (built in 1940), 364 East Ave., Pawtucket, moderndinerri.com and the West Side Diner (1947), 1380 Westminster St., Providence, westsidedinerri.com.
Go strawberry picking
A freshly picked strawberry is better than any candy. But in New England, the season is short. So waste no time watching for strawberry news in June.
These six spots managed to offer pick-your-own berries last year during the pandemic, so they will no doubt be at it again this year. They are: Quonset View Farm, 895 Middle Rd., Portsmouth, (401) 683-1254; Four Town Farm, 90 George St., Seekonk, (508) 336-5587, fourtownfarm.com; Salisbury Farm, 11 Peck Hill Rd., Johnston, (401) 942-9741, salisburyfarm.com; Goodwin Brothers Farm Stand, Providence Pike and Greenville Road, North Smithfield, (401) 765-0368, on Facebook; and Brandon Family Farm, 592 Fairgrounds Rd., West Kingston, (401) 932-6481; and Sweet Berry Farm, 915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown, (401) 847-3912, sweetberryfarmri.com.
Have lobster rolls at the beach
The Easton’s Beach Snack Bar is home to the popular twin lobster roll deal. The 2021 price is $25.97 for two. You can order online for pickup or beach blanket delivery. They have other seafood as well. Order online at https://twinrolls.square.site/ or call (401) 855-1910.
The beach speaks for itself. First Beach, as it is also called, is located on Memorial Boulevard at the start of the Cliff Walk. It’s lovely.
Bring yourself to Bristol
There will be more new food and drink within the old walls of Unity Park in the Bristol Industrial Park. Originally home to the National Rubber Company, which launched in 1865, the property became Kaiser Aluminum in 1957. After years sitting vacant, developer Joe Brito is creating a new food destination.
Don’t forget a trip to a clam shack
Rhode Island’s iconic clam shacks are all going to please with their food.
But if you like to sit almost on the water, you can’t do better than Quito’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar, 411 Thames St., Bristol, (401) 253-4500, quitosrestaurant.com; Johnny Angel’s Clam Shack, 523 Charlestown Beach, Charlestown, (401) 419-6732; Blount Clam Shack on the Waterfront, 335 Water St., Warren, (401) 245-3210, blountretail.com; Evelyn’s Drive-In, 2335 Main Rd., Tiverton, (401) 624-3100, evelynsdrivein.com and Champlin’s Seafood Deck, 256 Great Island Rd., Narragansett, (401) 783-3152, champlins.com.
For the most historic of the clam shacks, visit Aunt Carrie’s, 1240 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, (401) 783-7930, auntcarriesri.com.
Dine like a royal
You may not be prepared to pay the room rates for Westerly’s sister luxury properties of The Ocean House in Watch Hill or The Weekapaug Inn at 25 Spray Rock Rd. But maybe you can splurge for their dining.
At Ocean House, new seasonal experiences have been added to its year-round dining at the upscale dining room, Coast. Dalia by chef Danton Valle, is a new casual, open-air lunch and dinner dining concept on the Seaside Terrace with views of the Atlantic. The restaurant offers a coastal Mexican menu. The Secret Garden is a pop-up champagne bar with breakfast service. Then between noon and 9 p.m, it is for adults-only with music, crepes and Veuve Clicquot cocktails. At The Verandah, locally sourced oysters, clams, and hot and cold lobster rolls are served. Details at oceanhouseri.com.
At the Weekapaug Inn, dining choices include The Deck with main level and upper deck seating, with beautiful water views of Quonochontaug Pond. Coastal classics such as clam chowder, clams and watermelon salad are served. The Bath House is their premier beachside breakfast and lunch spot, with an expanded menu featuring casual summertime items and healthy favorites. Open between 2:30-9 p.m, the SeaRoom and The Bar are offer afternoon light bites, casual dinners and laid-back night caps by the fireplace. Details: (888) 565-5023, weekapauginn.com.
Shop at a Farm
Local farms aren’t just about fresh lettuce and tomatoes. Some do a lot of baking, others have prepared foods and stock their farm stores with local products. This has made them one stop shops. Plus, going to them makes for a fun, scenic road trip.
Check out the baked goods, prepared foods and other treats at these six farm stores: Emma Acres, 143 Ten Rod Rd., Exeter, (401) 294-7555, on Facebook as EmmaAcres; Mapleville Farm, 544 Victory Highway, Burrillville, (401) 568-0544, maplevillefarm.com; Sweet Berry Farm, 915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown, (401) 847-3912, sweetberryfarmri.com; Young Family Farm, 260 West Main Rd., Little Compton, (401) 635-0110, youngfamilyfarm.com; Jaswell’s Farm: 50 Swan Rd., Smithfield. (401) 231-9043, jaswellsfarm.com (curbside); and Pelloni Farm, 56 Ashaway Rd., Hopkinton, (401) 377-8975, on Facebook.
Savor iconic Newport dining
Few spots have the cache of the Castle Hill Inn, especially in summer. The stellar service and the setting make it unique. A visit here doesn’t have to break the bank. You can lunch on the patio where the views are as wonderful as the food. It’s is more casual than the Dining Road which is inside. Executive chef Lou Rossi makes it worth your while to dine at either spot. Details: 590 Ocean Drive, Newport, (401) 849-3800, castlehillinn.com
The Café at the Chanler is a most wonderful restaurant that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. They’ve made it very comfortable on the outdoor, covered terrace. It’s now open year round with new heating and siding. The public can dine, with reservations for lunch or dinner. The magic of being high over the water, yet shielded from the elements is special.
Of course for special dining, you can try the Chanler’s Cara restaurant which is elegant dining at its best. For details on either, 117 Memorial Blvd., call (401) 847-2244.
Pick your own blueberries
The season for highbush blueberries generally starts in July. It can run well into August because many farmers have planted different varieties that ripen later than others. Picking your own is fun, and delicious. Who doesn’t love a blueberry pie?
Keep an eye on these farms which usually offer PYO: Rocky Point Farm, 130 Rocky Point Ave., Warwick, (401) 732-6206, rockypointblueberries.com, on Facebook; Jaswell’s Farm, 50 Swan Rd., Smithfield, (401) 231-9043, on Facebook and Instagram; Harmony Farms, 387 Saw Mill Rd., Glocester, (401) 934-0741, harmonyfarmsri.com; Pinecrest Farms, 1 Pinecrest Rd., Richmond, (401) 364-3793; Sweet Berry Farm, 915 Mitchell’s Lane, Middletown, (401) 847-3912, sweetberryfarmri.com; Smith’s Berry Farm, 320 Shermantown Rd., North Kingstown, (401) 295-7669, on Facebook; Dame Farm, 91 Brown Ave., Johnston, (401) 949-3657; Boughs & Berry Farm, 255 Peckham Rd., Little Compton, (401) 635-8582; and Goodwin Brothers Farm, 458 Greenville Rd., North Smithfield, (401) 765-0368, on Facebook.
Stroll Sims Avenue, Providence
So much is happening on this small corner of Providence. The new Farm Fresh Food Hub is there at 10 Sims Ave. in a 60,000-square-foot building that houses their popular Saturday farmers’ market each week from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
They also have tasty tenants.
You can enjoy coffee and cocktails, as well as take coffee classes, at New Harvest Coffee Roasters.
There’s beer at Providence Brewing Co. where they opened a taphouse earlier this year. Efren Hidalgo, founder and brewer, has a six-barrel brewery with 16 taps in 3,000 square feet of inviting space (children and dogs welcome).
For food, you can enjoy Tallulah’s Taqueria and their tacos in Jake Rojas’ newest location.
Wright’s Creamery is the newest outpost of the North Smithfield dairy (and bakery) where ice cream is made cow to cone. A glass viewing window has been installed and you can pre-order milk, ice cream, and baked goods from Wright’s before they fully open. Find the order form and deadlines online at thewrightscoopri.com/wrights-creamery for Saturday and Sunday pick-up.
Across the street is The Industrious Spirit Co., ISCO, which has a lovely space for their tasting room at 1 Sims Ave., (401) 626-4696.
And for artists, the Steel Yard is next to ISCO giving the street that wonderful eclectic vibe.
Enjoy a food truck event
From vegetarian to tacos to waffles, food trucks in Rhode Island cook up a wide variety of cuisines. There are weekly dates (Carousel Fridays at the Roger Williams Park Zoo) and monthly events which feature a rotating group of the trucks and that means some fun dining.
Warwick Food Truck Night is select Thursdays at the Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick. Food Truck Concert Nights are select Thursdays at Diamond Hill State Park, Cumberland. Food Trucks Roll Into Richmond on select Thursdays at Richmond Town Hall, Wyoming. Food Truck Sunsets are select Saturdays at New England Safe Harbor Boatworks, Portsmouth. Food Trucks and Concerts at Chase Farm are select Saturdays at Chase Farm, Lincoln
For a full lineup, visit foodtrucksin.com/food-truck-events and see when and where you want to eat.
Have ice cream with a view
The Sweet Spot offers divine ice cream with an equally divine water view in Galilee, right next to Champlin’s Seafood on the breachway. You might even think you are sitting on the water when you eat on the patio. It’s at 256 Great Island Rd., Point Judith, (401) 782-1646. On Facebook.
Other favorites for ice cream are Brickley’s Ice Cream, 921 Boston Neck Rd., Narragansett, (opening May 20) and at 322 Main St., Wakefield, (401) 782-8864, now open; and Sunshine Creamery, 305 North Broadway, East Providence, (401) 431-2828, on Instagram @sunshinecreameryri.
Also, Gray’s at Tiverton Four Corners. There, at 16 East Rd., (401) 624-4500, graysicecream.com; Inside Scoop at 30 Ten Rod Rd., North Kingstown, (401) 294-0091, theinsidescoopri.com and The Ice Cream, 4288 Diamond Hill Rd., (401) 333-5053, Cumberland, icecreampie.com.
The Wright Scoop is cow to cone and new to the ice cream lineup. The ice cream comes from Wright’s Dairy Farm & Bakery. Find their fun trailers at 200 Woonsocket Hill Rd., North Smithfield, and 335 Water St., Warren. Check out Sims Street in Providence for their indoor location coming soon.
The Sacred Cow Scoop Shop serves Monroe Dairy Ice Cream at 187 North Brow St., East Providence. Food Trucks & Sundaes at Sacred Cow will be their special events for four Sundays, May 29, July 10, Aug. 7 and Sept. 4 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Try the newest winery
A historic South Kingstown estate that had been vacant for more than 8 years — has been resurrected as a winery and boutique hotel. Shepherd’s Run, 4780 Tower Hill Rd., https://shepherds.run/ and does tastings and pours by the glass. On weekends, 401 Oyster Co. brings their oysters from the Charlestown Breachway. They pair with several of the wines.
Have pizza in a great seaside town
Village Hearth Bakery & Cafe, 2 Watson Ave., Jamestown, villagehearthbakerycafe.com, does Friday night pizza every week from 4 to 7 p.m. You have to pre-order and it can be ready to eat, or take and bake at home. They have kids meals if you need that on the side. And just visiting Jamestown always makes one smile.
Go to a seafood festival
The Charlestown Chamber of Commerce annual Seafood Festival 2022, the 37th, is set for Aug. 5-7 at Ninigret Park. There will be local restaurants serving some of the best local seafood around in a county fair setting. Bookmark charlestownseafoodfestival.com/festival-information/ as they upload the schedule of events, or call (401) 364-4031.
Enjoy breakfast in Watch Hill
The perfect summer morning starts with a pastry and coffee from Sift Bake Shop and sitting on Bay Street enjoying the harbor view in Watch Hill. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside with a chocolate filling that’s divine, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a hazelnut chocolate latte, made with housemade ganache. Food Network crowned chef/owner Adam Young, the “Best Baker in America” in 2018 and that’s when he opened the second outpost from his Mystic bakery. Details: 102 Bay St., (401) 315-2655, siftbakeshopmystic.com
Sail away with a drink
Newport has a few options for special sails including from these two companies.
Sailing Excursions offers Champagne Sunset Sails a Newport cocktail cruise and a Dark & Stormy Schooner Cocktail Sail on Schooner Adirondack II. Learn more at sail-newport.com, 23 Bowen’s Wharf, (401) 847-0000.
Sightsailing offers daily scheduled public sailing cruises out of Bowen’s Wharf in Newport. Enjoy being on the water in Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay, They have a Champagne Sunset sail and Morning Mimosa sail. Find them at 32 Bowen’s Wharf Newport, (401) 849-3333, sightsailing.com
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