This year is off to a positive start as far as the local restaurant scene is concerned. Where one door closes, another opens.
The Post Office Café in East Greenwich is expected to reopen after being closed for the past year. The interior isn’t the only thing being renovated. Other updates will include menu changes (with light fare such as gourmet burgers being offered), added entertainment and perhaps even a new name for the restaurant, which has occupied that historic spot on Main Street since 1995.
Since two of East Greenwich’s much-loved breakfast spots – Audra’s and Jigger’s – closed last year, many were happy to see the Village Café open on Main Street. Let’s hope the third time’s the charm; this is where The Sweet Nest and Twisted Dogs used to be located. The Village Café, owned by Anne Steger, offers traditional diner fare with eggs, waffles and pancakes on the breakfast menu and soups and salads at lunch. Early morning specials include banana split waffles and cranberry-walnut pancakes. Midday specials will have an Italian bent with veal and chicken parmesan on the menu. Open every day of the week, the café will serve dinner on Fridays with chowder and fish and chips available.
It was sad to see Tricia’s Tropi Grille in Jamestown close, but the good news is that it will reopen as Jamestown Fish, an upscale seafood restaurant, thanks to the owners of the Narragansett Café across the street. We hear the chef there has an impressive resume, having worked at three New York kitchens: Colicchio & Sons, Gramercy Tavern and Peacock Alley in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
It was also sad to learn that the Cheeky Monkey closed for good in Narragansett. However, that space is now taken by SoHo, a contemporary Italian restaurant with a martini list that features a 10-ounce martini and drinks named after famous artists. Located at 21 Pier Marketplace, SoHo is the dream of Lisa Delfarno-Lavigne and her husband, Anthony Delfarno. The restaurant has a sleek new look that includes pop art. The menu offers traditional Italian dishes as well as American regional fare such as Block Island cod and New York prime sirloin. The restaurant is open for dinner every night except Tuesday.
Also at Pier Marketplace is the Lunch Lady, a new sandwich shop that takes over the spot formerly known as the Lunch Box, which closed in November. Owner Mike Baffaro is serving traditional deli food to include soups, salads, wraps, panini and sandwiches. Check out the T-Rex, an impressive sandwich that consists of six deli meats plus cheese.
Giro’s (501 High St.), the Peace Dale restaurant long known for its spaghetti and meatballs, is open again with an Italian and American menu. The restaurant closed in 2008, was sold to a new owner, and has undergone major renovations. For a time, plans called for the space to become an Asian restaurant, but owner Kenny Yng ultimately decided to stick with Giro’s tried-and-true Italian format, which dates back to 1933 when Giro’s Spaghetti House first opened. The new Giro’s is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week.
Change is in the air at the Pump House (1464 Kingstown Rd.) in Peace Dale. That unique restaurant really used to be the town’s pumping station, built in 1888. It has been leased to Stu Tucker, who’s well known for his two North Kingstown restaurants, Duffy’s Tavern and the Oak Hill Tavern. Major renovations include a new entrance foyer and extensive kitchen work. The restaurant will have a new name – the 108 Roadhouse.
Simply Thai has opened in the Kingston Emporium, 99 Fortin Road, near the University of Rhode Island, in the space formerly occupied by Papa’s Bistro.
You’ll see major changes at George’s of Galilee this year. The downstairs dining room is getting its first facelift in 40 years, and that includes a new fireplace. Bars are being added and relocated, including a portable bar for the new patio, just a few sandy steps from Salty Brine State Beach.
Red Stripe in Narragansett has closed for the winter and will reopen in the spring.
Go Pasta at 32 Old Tower Hill Road in South Kingstown is planning to open a sit-down Italian restaurant in the adjacent building. Owner John Russo is seeking a beer and wine license for that venture. Paul Kay, owner of Woodhouse Fire-n-Coal Pizza at 402 Main Street in Wakefield, is also seeking permission to add beer and wine to his menu.
Adam Crowe, whose family owns and operates Bistro by the Sea in Matunuck, is heading out on his own with Adam Crowe Catering, offering food and service for private parties, weddings and corporate events.