Just when you thought you’d heard it all, someone comes up with a new twist on dining out – in this case, a pretzel twist. The Malted Barley at 42 High Street in downtown Westerly is an upscale beer bar with 35 craft beers and a menu of gourmet pretzels.
The optimistic owners are a young couple, Colin and Stephanie Bennett, who both have experience in the restaurant business and brewing industry. They met while working at a brewery in Honolulu, and eventually returned to Stephanie’s hometown to open their labor of love. The Malted Barley has 62 seats plus a 16-seat patio along the Pawcatuck River.
The very affordable menu honors the soft pretzels, offering them as savory appetizers ($3 to $6), as sandwiches ($8) and in desserts ($4 to $5). For starters, the pretzels come simply salted or flavored with asiago and parmesan cheeses, jalapeno and cheddar or mozzarella and tomato with pesto on the side. Dipping sauces are also available, from a warm blue cheese to a spicy brown beer mustard to an aromatic apricot butter. The pretzel sandwiches feature turkey and havarti, roast beef and goat cheese with sliced pears and arugula, served with seasoned kettle chips. You can cap off a meal with a sugar and cinnamon pretzel or a waffle pretzel with Nutella and ice cream.
In addition to micro-brews, they offer 30 domestic and imported bottled beers as well as beer flights and beer by the barrel. Instead of a pitcher, you get a pour-it-yourself barrel for your table. If a trendy craft beer is not your thing, you can order cocktails or wine. The Malted Barley is open Wednesday through Monday from 3pm to 1am. Call 315-2184 for more info.
HOW SWEDE IT IS
Nancy Swanson and Patti Reslow are using the state-certified kitchen at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Greenwich for six months to see if there is a market for Swedish coffee bread and other baked goods. The women say they will be doing their baking on what was once known as Swede Hill. They plan to donate some of their product to the church’s food pantry.
Rhode Island’s unique loft-style hotel in Warwick, NYLO, has reopened after more than a year of reconstruction to the first floor that was damaged by the historic floods in March 2010. The Loft, a stylish bar and restaurant, is part of the major renovation. Serving modern American cuisine in a casual setting, The Loft, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, has a new chef and a new menu.
Nicholas Dadona is now the chef de cuisine. Previously, he worked at Eleven Forty Nine in Warwick and Meritage in East Greenwich. His new menu offers creative regional dishes with bold flavors. The Crispy Calamari ($9) is tossed with a choice of balsamic reduction or ginger-garlic butter. No ordinary burger, the NYLO Burger ($14) features grilled onions, smoked bacon, roasted garlic aioli and jack cheese with hand-cut fries. The Overnight Braised Beef Ravioli ($20) stars a cremini mushroom and sherry pan sauce, truffle oil and shaved asiago cheese. The ever-evolving menu is built on farm freshness using seasonal ingredients from local growers and purveyors.
For a glimpse of the entire menu, visit www.nylohotels.com/warwick. The kitchen is open until 10pm during the week and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations are recommended (call 734-4460), and walk-ins are always welcome. Make sure you check out what the restaurant staff is wearing: their entire wardrobe was designed by Daniel Vosovic, a star of Project Runway.
FALL INTO FALL
Sadly, it’s time to close up our little house near Scarborough Beach in Narragansett. But there are plenty of fall activities to keep us busy.
Newport Gourmet Tours has added a chef-led walking tour of Broadway to its schedule. Every Thursday from 2-4pm, the tour makes its way up Broadway with a half-dozen stops at gourmet shops, restaurants and hotel kitchens. Participants sample food or a beverage at each location with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the culinary world and a chance to meet chefs. The tour begins at the White Horse Tavern and proceeds to Donick’s Ice Cream for savory ice cream, then it’s on to Pour Judgement for a Thomas Tew rum tasting, Pan Handler’s gourmet shop, The Fifth Element, Mad Hatter Bakery and finally Perro Salado. The original Newport Gourmet Tour explores Bellevue Avenue. Tickets are $45 per person for either tour and can be purchased at www.newportgourmettours.com. Questions? Call 787-4058.
Try 20 different Oktoberfest and Pumpkin brews at Mews Tavern (456 Main Street) in Wakefield. Every Wednesday is pint night: buy a featured beer and get a free pint glass.
The 10th annual Harvest Festival at Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, Connecticut, is set for October 1 and 2, from noon to 6pm. Gourmet food vendors, live music, a grape-stomping contest, hayrides, an artisans’ tent and, of course, wine tastings will be offered. For details, call 860-535-0202, or visit www.jedwardswinery.com.
If you have news dealing with food, restaurants or chefs, feed it to Linda Beaulieu at Lindab2720@aol.com.