The first thing you notice once you've met your first couple of "Rhodies" is just how passionate Rhode Island's locals are about their community, their history, and most noticeably—their locally-sourced food haunts.
Chefs, master distillers, taxi drivers... they'll wax lyrical about the smallest state's fresh, farm-to-table (and sea-to-table) tasting menus, community-driven eateries, cafes, artisan bakeries, and craft scene. With new local distilleries, restaurants, and rooftop bars opening all over town, from Providence to Warwick and Pawtucket.
From fine-dining private dining rooms to craft breweries in historical mills, there are plenty of culinary delights at this conveniently located destination (Providence is a three-hour Amtrak from Manhattan or a one-hour ride from Boston).
Here's where city-dwellers should venture when taking in a wholesome weekend respite in the Ocean State. Come hungry.
Where To Grab Breakfast
Smashed avocado and flat white fans make a beeline for Australian cafe, Sydney in Downtown Providence. Sweet toothed-folk are advised to follow-up Aussie brekkie with incredible gourmet doughnuts at Knead Doughnuts. They have vegan doughnuts, too.
Those looking for heartier fare go to Pawtucket's Modern Diner––the first American diner to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's been operating inside an old rail car since 1941 and their Custard French Toast was named the Food Network's number one Diner Dish in America back in 2015. No carb counting over here.
If brunch is your game, and eggs Benny's calling your name, head for Milk Money in Providence. The rustic-industrial spot serves locally sourced "Hip New American" food. Come here for a fresh take on classic brunch items and an interesting cocktail list.
For a grab and go, there's downtown Providence's Greek answer to Eataly; Yoleni's. The extensive Greek yogurt bar is well worth a visit. It opened in May and is the first branch outside of Greece.
Where to Have Lunch or Dinner
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year is downtown Providence's 2018 AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant, Gracie’s. This fine dining institution continues to champion its local staff (who've worked there for years) and the locally grown food. Opt for the chef's tasting menu paired for the full experience, and make your reservation for the downstairs private wine room for an intimate dinner.
New kid on the block, Sarto, serves up "Rhode Island inspired regional Italian cuisine". The contemporary Osteria and Salumaria in downtown Providence just opened this month and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinners from local chef Robert Andreozzi (previously Blue Hill at Stone Barns). Don't skip the focaccia and the salami.
Another Rhode Island institute gearing towards its 20th anniversary is CAV, serving beautifully prepared food such as "Walnut Encrusted Brie, Brandied Sundried Apricots" and chef specialties like "Black Truffle Ravioli With Shaved Turnips and Broccoli Rabe, in Lemon Sage Vinaigrette."
If you're nearer the sea, then head to Watch Hill where five-star Ocean House hotel's Coast is a must.
Where To Drink
Female-owned Apponaug Brewery in Warwick opened this fall in a converted mill where they serve eight of their own beers straight from the tanks along with some exquisite bites, sliders, and flatbreads. The brewery sits along the Pawtuxet River and NYLO Hotel Warwick is just a five-minute walk away.
For cozy cocktails that come with a lot of atmosphere, go to the weather-proof Rooftop at Providence G. There are firepits, cheese boards, and the cocktails here come with "house lavender", "garden slapped mint", and flavored champagne popsicles. Newly opened Providence rooftop bar Mare is also worth a visit (make sure to reserve before you go).
There a few speakeasy-style bars peppering Providence. The Dean Hotel's discreet cocktail lounge, The Magdalenae Room is a hedonistic bolthole with velvet booths, softly framed by flickering candlelight. If belting out tunes is your thing, then the hotel's The Boombox karaoke bar is just next door.