Food News

Rhode Island Cheesesteak

With the opening of Tilly's, West Kingston is now home to the state's only cheesesteak joint

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There’s been a void in the southern RI food scene, one that Tilly’s Cheesesteaks aims to fill. Tilly’s features the classic shaved prime beef sandwiches topped with a melted cheddar sauce and caramelized onions, but with a few twists. Though chef and co-founder Jonathan Beres focuses on real foods at the store – so the traditional processed cheese product normally found on cheesesteaks isn’t on his menu – he says that those looking for authentic cheesesteak tastes haven’t been disappointed. “They walk out happy,” he says.

His vision for Tilly’s includes a Texas-style fusion, so there’s a nod to Southwest flavors on the menu. He serves up house made chips with Texas caviar salsa, jalapeño queso and a fajita cheesesteak sandwich that includes tomatoes and cilantro. He also whips up desserts, like the sopaipillas that blend Mexican cinnamon with local fried dough. There’s also a selection of cabinets (chocolate, vanilla and daily special flavors, like peanut butter) to wash it all down.

Jonathan’s also added Rhody-centric products to the menu. On the wall just above the kitchen service window, there’s a beautifully illustrated chalkboard showing a list of the local suppliers including Rhody Fresh, Narragansett Creamery and RI Mushroom Co., just to name a few. “We want to involve our community,” says Jonathan. Creating an accessible menu for a variety of dietary wants and needs is another way in which he seeks to be inclusive. “One thing I care about,” says Jonathan, “besides being meat centric, is having vegetarian and vegan options.” There are also gluten-free items on the menu, including a customizable cheesesteak served on a wedge of iceberg lettuce.

He adds that the restaurant is intended for everyone, not just URI students or out-of-town visitors on their way to the beaches. “I think people are excited to have something new here.” 3711 Kingstown Road, West Kingston. 783-7711.