When Angel and Jay Winpenny opened The Patio on Main in early 2020, they couldn’t have imagined their moniker of “patio” would be translated so literally. But faced with restrictions keeping most operations outdoors, they designed a different kind of oasis, with potted palm trees swaying in the summer and then heaters and a vented tent to keep things lively through the winter.
“We envisioned a small neighborhood eatery where our customers could come for lunch and later on grab a craft cocktail or beer with their friends,” Angel recalls now, after a whirlwind first year. “With such a small space, we had communal tables to maximize it but also wanted to seat everyone together to push the community theme we had going.” Think close and cozy diner, the kind folks used to wait in crowded yet delightfully buzzing entryways for a coveted seat close to a window – an experience many of us are likely vying for a return to.
This is the vibe the Winpennys carefully designed but never got to fully indulge. “We really had to reinvent ourselves. First by perfecting our take-out process and then creating an outdoor space so we could serve our customers safely.” Though a new face on East Greenwich’s bustling Main Street, they quickly emerged as a patio destination, where diners could socially distance over burgers and brews – or crowd-pleaser sandwiches like the EG Avenger with fried chicken, prosciutto, mozz, and the works on an artisan roll – all beneath umbrellas and transplanted greenery.
While the restaurant has been reconfigured in big ways, the inviting, neighborhood atmosphere has always remained at the core. Angel says the true joy of the job is the customers: “We love that we got so many regulars so quickly. At any given time you’ll see all ages of people, and with their kids or dogs, inside the tent, enjoying themselves.” Through the winter months, they’ve even managed to create a nightlife scene under the tent with live music and comedy from local talent like singer-songwriter Kevin Herchen and comedian Brad Pierce with Golden Mike Promotions. Ticketed sip and paint sessions and classic fun like BINGO and trivia are all part of the experience.
A menu of sandwiches, salads, and small bites rotates around what’s seasonal and fresh, so hearty specials will be traded for lighter fare and cocktails (plus frozen bevvies) this month with the launch of their spring and summer menu, but you’ll never have to worry about not finding a burger decked in toppings to fit your taste. Ask about the off-menu lobster roll, which Angel hints will be making a comeback, too.
Someday soon you may be able to squeeze into a communal table again, but in the meantime, there’s no better spot to enjoy some salty air while sipping a fruity cocktail. “We are a completely different restaurant now from when we started,” Angel reflects, “but we are blessed to be in East Greenwich and by how much the town has helped us navigate through COVID.”