Food News: Cinder in Westerly, Audrey’s Coffee House and Lounge in South Kingstown, Union and Main in East Greenwich

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Slow-cooked fast casual by the Pawcatuck

Situated along the Pawcatuck River, Cinder is a recently opened fast-casual dining experience. But don’t let the fast-casual part fool you: they’re slow roasting bold flavors. Co-owner Rory Douthit honed his palate at Daniel Boulud’s restaurants in New York City and London before returning to Rhode Island. It was the extensive time he spent in France, and around French cooking, that he realized the “fancy pants” French food – the Coq Au Vin and the cassoulet – are all prepared in advance. “It opened my eyes. You can serve really good food, really quickly.”

Inspired by the taco trucks and Halal carts, Cinder uses non-traditional cuts of meat – often more flavorful and less costly – and cooks them low and slow. The richness is balanced with herbs and pickled veg. “It’s the food of the common person,” Douthit says, noting America’s concept of food has broadened. “If you are eating with your hands, how pretentious can it be?” Westerly

Coffee, cocktails, and celebs in South County Commons

A cafe conceptualized by a couple who met on the set of Bachelor in Paradise is bound to have a romantic vibe, and Audrey’s Coffee House and Lounge doesn’t disappoint. Dreamed up by reality TV alums Jared Haibon and Ashley Iaconetti, Audrey’s is a swoon-worthy respite with its two fireplaces and overstuffed couches.   

Both Haibon and Iaconetti are film buffs, and their seasonal cocktail menu is a nod to the silver screen, with drinks like The Griswold Family Honeycrisp Sangria. Their coffees whimsically lean into The Bachelor franchise (The Most Dramatic Mocha Ever!). With pastries and bagels on the menu in the morning, items like build-it-yourself charcuterie boards make it a perfect pre-dinner pop in. “I hate bars,” says Iaconetti, a sentiment Haibon echoes. “I want to sit down and have a conversation and a drink. Here, there’s lots of comfy seating and you can grab a seasonal cocktail and have a cozy night out.” South Kingstown

New England comfort food on Main Street

The team behind Back40 Food & Drink in North Kingstown and Black Oak Kitchen & Drinks in Coventry brings a new gastronomical experience with Union and Main. They’ve completely reimagined the old Red Stripe building, with a 25-person bar now commandeering the front room and a cozy, more private 13-seat bar in the back (“great for dates,” advises co-owner Justin Dalton-Ameen). The build-out took an unexpected turn when they removed the drop ceiling and exposed the building’s original 15 footer. “We were able to bring back the old charm of the original building,” says Dalton-Ameen.

An experienced culinary crew from Back40 and Black Oak designed the New England comfort food menu, with some familiar items given a unique twist, like pickle-brined wings. Their progressive craft beer program features New England-focused independent craft breweries, including local faves like Tilted Barn and Grey Sail. East Greenwich

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