There are plenty of juicy tidbits on the local food scene this month.
An East Greenwich native, who now operates restaurants in New York state, plans to invest more than $25 million to debut a bakery-caf concept to compete against Panera Bread and other “fast-casual” dining outlets in Rhode Island and nearby Connecticut. Glenn Beattie, who with his wife Tina are among Denny’s restaurants’ biggest franchisees, will open the first of six Corner Bakery Cafes in Rhode Island by the summer of 2013. Each cafe will be roughly 4,000 square feet, with indoor seating for 125 and outdoor patio space for another 25 or so patrons. Each will average 30 to 50 em- ployees, meaning 150-300 new jobs for Rhode Island when all the locations open.
Two South County landmarks are for sale. Ten acres of land on Narrow River in Middlebridge is available. On that parcel sits what is now called Logan’s Landing, a quaint little restaurant that in years past was known as Wiley’s and Duke’s at Middlebridge.
Also available is Jessica’s Quick Rick’s at 58 High Street in Wakefield. I started going there back when it was simply Quick Rick’s, owned by Richard Lema. Rick moved south and sold the business to Jessica Masci.
Phil’s Restaurant in downtown Wakefield has been granted a full liquor license to accommodate diners on the first and second floors, as well as on its new 1,100-square foot rooftop deck. Owner Kenneth Tetzner says he’s hoping “the martini crowd” will stop in, especially before and after performances at the near- by Contemporary Theater Company.
Dave’s Coffee is set to open at 396 Main Street in Wakefield. The coffee bar will serve espresso-based beverages, regular coffee and iced concoctions as well as baked goods.
Gabe the Fish Babe, a wholesale seafood operation, has opened at 83 State Street in Galilee. Co-owner Gabe Stommel is purchasing fresh fish from local fishermen and shipping it to restaurants within 24 hours. The new business provides seafood to upscale restaurants in New York, and she hopes to expand into local and regional markets.
Jackie’s Seaside Cafe is the new spot on Boon Street in Narragansett, offering breakfast and lunch every day of the week and dinner on Friday nights. We’re looking forward to checking that out real soon.
For years, we’ve been fans of The Mews Tavern at 456 Main Street in Wakefield. They now have an “After Work Party” Monday through Friday from 4 to 6pm that’s pretty hard to beat. For the Beer ‘n’ Buffet, you can choose from one of the 69 microbrews on tap, and take a pass through their buffet for only $3. They also offer the M-and-M Buffet (martinis and margaritas), which includes a choice of a raspberry or white grape martini, a Cosmo or a Cuervo Gold margarita and a pass through the buffet for only $5.
David Roebuck now serves shucked oysters and raw bar items on-the-go in the Shuckin Truck in Narragansett. The seafood comes directly from the Roebuck family fishing vessels, Salt Pond Oyster Company and other local fishermen from the Point Judith area. Currently on the seasonal menu: Georges Bank Sea Scallop Roll, Block Island Lobster Roll, Point Judith Calamari, Black Sea Bass Stew, Codfish Cake Sandwich, Salt Pond Oysters and Clam Chowder. Watch for the Shuckin Truck at festivals and farmers’ markets. The rolling raw bar is also available for private parties and weddings.
The Andrea Hotel at Misquamicut Beach in Westerly has an intriguing new menu. All the basics are there as well as asparagus fries with a pepperjack fondue, clam fritter poppers and rosemary-skewered sea scallops finished with a drizzle of truffle oil. And that’s just for starters. Entrees range from baked scallops and haddock to grilled Cajun tuna and grilled sirloin topped with balsamic onions and blue cheese. The pasta dishes are tempting, especially the mussels zuppa served over linguine. A kids’ menu is also available, including nonalcoholic strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas.
Mel’s Downtown Creamery in Pawcatuck is under new ownership; Dennis and Melanie Goggin bought the shop, located in the old Higgins Building. It’s a modern take on the classic ice cream shop of the 1950s, including a black-and-white checkered floor, red walls, a jukebox mural and vinyl records as decor. The menu offers 29 ice cream flavors plus soft serve, ice cream cakes and ice cream pizza. They are open seven days a week from 11am to 9pm.