Husband and wife team Rob and Courtney Kenerson love coffee: their first date was over a cup of joe. The newlyweds are both in the hospitality field, and during the pandemic pause, brainstormed ways to remain in the industry that were more sustainable and family friendly. A cafe, with its earlier hours, was the perfect solution. With COVID still raging, they opted to start with coffee.
The eco-friendly Bellwether electric roaster matched their commitment to the environment so they invested in the roaster and began selling their hand-roasted beans online. A few serendipitous moments led them to open Lighthouse Coffee Roasters and Café with Rob’s sister Elizabeth, who scratch-makes the baked goods. Authentic New York bagels are shipped in daily from the Bronx. “We opened the cafe to be a welcoming space for the community; it’s overwhelming how they’ve welcomed us in return,” says Courtney. North Kingstown, LighthouseCoffeeRI.com
As if you needed another reason to head to Westerly, the recently opened High Hope Tavern is the latest addition to downtown’s burgeoning food scene. Robert Ceraso, co-owner of NYC’s Endless Hospitality Group, began coming to Westerly on the advice of his business partner Pete Canny, who grew up in the area. Social summer visits turned into business conversations and the restaurant group committed to building out a space at 18 High Street. “There’s a lot going on in South County,” says Ceraso.
The menu features elevated cocktails and an unpretentious menu that’s sourced as local as possible. High Hope’s large kitchen means Ceraso’s team can do even more with farm-fresh ingredients than in a NYC kitchen, including in-house butchering. A small raw bar is housed beside the tavern to take advantage of Rhode Island’s ocean bounty. Westerly, EndlessHospitalityGroup.com
If you follow Iggy’s Instagram, you know owner David Gravino had an epic end-of-summer road trip, driving a custom-made 32-foot food truck off the Indiana production line to the Ocean State. “It has four fryers, a grill, a six-burner stove, a convection oven,” Gravino rattles off its tricked out interior like a kid at Christmas. “It’s as big as the kitchen in the old Narragansett Iggy’s.”
The food truck was years in the making, starting with a hefty research and development stage. It not only needed to handle the traditional menu items, like doughboys and clam cakes and chowder, for food truck events and fairs, but also needed equipment to prepare a more extensive menu for weddings and events. “You have to love what you do,” says Gravino. “And I sure love what I’m doing.” Narragansett, IggysRI.com
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