Small State, Big Eats: Where to Dine in Rhode Island Now

Where to dine in Rhode Island

Prateek Shewakramani may have gone to Providence to go bar-hopping with friends, but he found some of the best food he’s ever had — and that’s saying a lot from someone who lives in New York City.

“The wings at the Rosendale are some of the best I’ve ever eaten, even better than the hundreds here in NYC — tons of flavors and fried just right,” he said. “And the chicken and waffles I had the next day was an amazing brunch. Everything is so close-by you can walk and get a few different experiences and vibes — you still have the old family-run places, but there are all of these new places popping up with creative menus and twists on traditional cuisines.”

Among his favorites is Local 121, half restaurant, half “saloon-like” bar that after years of being used as a dining hall by Johnson & Wales University—whose culinary school has become a Providence talent incubator—was renovated to reveal beautiful original woodwork. Today, cafeteria trays are nowhere to be found, but the hideaway spotlights local beers, creative cocktails, and such inventive apps as pizza with a fried-dough crust.

Where to dine in Rhode Island

Shewakramani is just one foodie singing this small city’s praises, which is also a favorite day trip for area chefs. Michael Schlow makes it a point to do at least one summer drive from his home in Boston for a lobster roll at Hemenway’s, and Rachel Klein, an alum of several Boston hot spots including Liquid Art House and Providence’s X.O. Café, thinks of her former home fondly.

“It’s an awesome city — it’s so small but there’s so much going on, especially on the food scene. You’ve got Gracie’s, Nick’s on Broadway, and now Champe Speidel’s opened Persimmon.”

Robert Sisca, another J&W grad who lives in nearby Cranston, R.I., commuted over an hour to Boston’s Bistro du Midi before deciding this winter to keep it as locally sourced as his produce. Now with a shortened commute as the corporate executive chef at the ProvidenceG, a historic building that includes swank Garde de la Mer, the all-seasons upscale bar Rooftop at the G and Providence GPub, he’s able to dedicate his time to inventive menus, training kitchen leaders, and working with local farmers and vendors. The results are apparent tableside: delicate Hamachi crudo with Asian pears, green garlic, and almonds (pictured), smoked white asparagus soup with a poached egg, prosciutto, and frisse, and layers of crispy-sweet French toast topped with duck confit, lingonberry, and a cured egg yolk all grace the menu.

Where to Dine in Rhode Island

But the creativity doesn’t stop on the plate, says ProvidenceG director of operations Jeff Mancinho. “Art is such a foundation here, just like the culinary scene. We’re trying to integrate it all and capture everything that is Rhode Island,” he said. Mancinho’s latest endeavor includes working with local artists on digital pieces for his renovated space that will transform over time, and reflect the city’s attitude of changing with the times.

Where to dine in Rhode Island

Providence hosts outdoor arts festivals and music events almost each weekend from spring through fall and as home to the Rhode Island School of Design there’s a larger focus on integrating compelling media into the everyday (including painting murals on large brick building “canvases” downtown) says Christina Robbio of the city’s visitors bureau. The most famous art installation, the eighty bonfires installed on rivers running through the city center as part of the WaterFire sculpture by Barnaby Evans, are incorporated into several evenings of music and entertainment annually.

Where to dine in Rhode IslandContinue Reading

Headed to South by Southwest? Find Out What We’ve Got Brewing at #SXSW Job Market Booth 510!

South by Southwest (SXSW) is where music, film, and technology meet against a backdrop of Austin’s influential dining scene. At OpenTable, we power the memorable dining experiences you’ll find in ATX — but that’s not all we’re doing there. This week, on March 13 and 14, you’re invited to meet us at the OpenTable SXSW pop-up, pour-over coffee cafe to learn about professional opportunities with OpenTable in San Francisco and around the world.

Visit us at SXSW Job Market stall 510 on the second floor of Austin’s JW Marriott on 110 E. 2nd Street on Friday and Saturday between 10AM-6PM. Our barista will serve you the perfect pour of complimentary drip-brewed coffee while you meet leaders representing different departments at OpenTable, including our talented engineering and design teams. You can also apply for openings in person, drop off your business card for a chance to win $500, and get all the delicious details about our one-of-a-kind #100opentables giveaway.

The SXSW Job Market is open to the public with free guest pass wristbands, available in advance or onsite at the event. Visit for more information. SXSW badge and wristband holders do not need a guest pass to attend.

Can’t make it to SXSW? You can still apply to take a seat at our table at

Tweet of the Week: We’re Feeling the iOS 7 Love!

This week, after a great deal of dedication and inspiration, OpenTable for iOS 7  was released to, we are pleased to say, much acclaim from diners and design folks alike. Mee-Sun Yuk (@meesasun), Christian Palino (@christianpalino), Olivier Larivain (@olarivain), Ari Braginsky (@lemonkey), Chloe Park (@chloepark), and Stanley Ho make up the talented OpenTable iOS and Experience Design teams that breathed new life — and better looks — into our app. Much gratitude to Reid Butler (@rbutlersf) and everyone who tweeted their feedback and support! And, if you haven’t yet done so, download the app today to see what all the fuss is about!



Adria’s Brand Goes to the Dogs; A Star Chef, Defined; Restaurant Design Nominees + More

Goats on a roof is a much safer idea than snakes on a plane, right?

Dining news from around the world and the web…

* Viva Las Vegas! Celebrity chefs are heading back to Sin City once again. [USA Today]

* Looks count. Here are the 2013 Restaurant Design Awards nominees. [Los Angeles Times]

* Food allergies are nothing to sneeze at. An expert offers some know-before-you-go tips to avoid allergic reactions at a restaurant. [CNN]

* Forget snakes on a plane. It’s all about goats on a restaurant roof. []

* How boy met grill. Bobby Flay (Mesa Grill) discusses his history with backyard barbecuing. [TheTownTalk.comContinue Reading