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Rhode Island’s Best Neighborhood Joints

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Back in November, we picked 5 of our favorite neighborhood joints. But our city-state is ripe with selections in this category, so we've uncovered 5 more places for you to check out in your, or your neighbor's, 'hood.


Shannon View Inn, Warwick

When the owner of one of our other faves, Jack Doherty of Doherty's in Pawtucket, branched out to Warwick we were psyched as we're Rhode Islanders and don't like to drive "all the way" to The Bucket. Doherty's features an incredible beer selection and really good pub food. Our hopes were high, and met, at the Shannon View Inn. The same attention to detail. The same interesting beer selection. The same hearty food. It was all here, including brunch. Diners in Warwick quickly caught on to the good things going on here. The build your own burger on a pretzel roll is perfect if you want to make your own creation or check out one of their creative options. The 3 Little Pigs burger is, literally, an a-pork-alypse. Burger...pulled pork...jalepeno bacon and maple brown sugar bacon...pretzel roll. It is quite amazing. (Although probably not on most New Year's resolution lists.) Pair it with one of the craft beers--the bartender suggested a great I.P.A.--and some sweet potato tater tots. We will also be back for brunch sometime soon. The 32 ounce pitchers of Bloody Marys or Mimosas are calling our name. You've got to love an Irish pub that helps heal the hangovers it created! 1901 Post Rd. 732-0999, www.shannonviewinn.com

Pour Judgement, Newport

We like the Broadway section of Newport because it's colorful and tourist-free. That is a bonus because the establishments need to be good AND affordable when battling for locals' business. Nobody wages as good a battle as Hank Whittin and Pour Judgement. This is exactly what you want in your local watering hole: good food, good drink and lots of local flavor. The food was such a draw here that earlier this year Whittin opened PJ to GO just up the street from the original location to great success and acclaim. You'd be hard pressed to find a better deal in Newport than P.J.'s "Burger and a Beer" special -- burger, fries, draft beer for less than ten bucks. Whittin also created a very cool craft beer festival last spring that brought an amazing array of local and national small-batch brewers to this little bar. And it's pretty cool that this local watering hole does a daily nori preparation, right? Ask for our fave bartender Amie -- tell her we sent you. 32 Broadway, 619-2115, www.pourjudgement.com

Tavern 743, Smithfield

This neighborhood was craving a fun bar with really good upscale pub fare and a perfect place to watch a game...and along came Tavern 743. Owned by chef Jamie Beaulieu and Damon Laurito, the 743 is just that kind of perfect neighborhood joint. You can come here with the guys to watch a game; with a girlfriend to enjoy some apps and a Cosmo; or with the kids for an early supper. In season there's a great patio for eats and live music. We caught a local band there recently and left very happy after a flavorful chicken pesto pizza, a huge pile of nachos and some pot stickers. We particularly like that, while we weren't from the area, everyone else seemed to know one another and everyone, including the owners, were super friendly and accommodating. 743 Putnam Pike, 349-3888, www.tavernat743.com

O'Rourke's, Warwick

One of the best things about local hangouts is that they give you that "everybody knows your name" kind of feeling. If ever there was a place where this were true, it's O'Rourke's. Sit at the bar for a bit and you'll notice that the bartenders greet just about everybody by name, and in return, most regulars here have their favorite, be it Pete, Brian, John or Sue. You'll find your standard cocktails and a selection of beers on draft here, but the standout is the food. Great Reubens, homemade meatballs, and the best shepherd's pie in New England, not to mention their "specialty" -- Irish nachos (you know, nachos made with kettle potato chips instead of tortilla chips). In keeping with the potato theme, O'Rourke's makes their own fresh french fries. No crisp-coated, pre-cut spuds here -- nothing but the real, twice-cooked thing. 23 Peck Lane, 228-7444, http://www.orourkesbarandgrill.com


The Avery, Providence

Long the home to some of the coolest people and places in Providence, the West Side is currently the hottest food and drink neighborhood in Providence. One of the coolest in this, or any, neighborhood in our Gotham is the Avery. Sleek. Sexy. Suggestive. This cool little bar is all of those things and more. This is a cocktail lovers paradise -- the drinks are expertly crafted and balanced. Cocktails aren't supposed to blow your head off, you know. Like good food, they entice, whet, educate. These drinks have soul. The balance of alcohol and citrus and mixers made for smooth concoctions. The tap selections seemed interesting but we stuck to the drinks. We were never lucky enough to drink in a Prohibition-era speakeasy, but we think this must be what it was like. Throw in some well-thought-out bar snacks and it's easy to see why the Avery helps the West Side hit its stride.18 Luongo Square, www.averyprovidence.com


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Okay, my "never go up 146" friends, we have two places in Woonsocket that MORE THAN QUALIFY for this distinction. One is Kay's, in business since 1967, offering arguably the best steak sandwich in the state; and River Falls on South Main Street.

Come visit! We really are a part of Rhode Island even if you don't seem to have any desire to visit, though I understand you do occasionally come all the way to North Smithfield to get your Beef Barn fix.

Comment #1 by John Ward on 2013 01 24

Kay's and River Falls? Are you serious? I agree that the steak sandwiches at Kay's are awesome, but it's a bit old and stodgy. River Falls is pedestrian at best. Vintage across the street is a much better destination. I don't believe that any place in Woonsocket really fits the description of this article. You're better off just going for those comfort foods like Ye Olde English Fish & Chips, Chan's or New York Lunch for belly busters "all the way". And the Beef Barn over the line in North Smithfield is great as well. I lived in Woonsocket for 40+ years and now live over the line in North Smithfield. If I moved to Providence I doubt I would drive to the Woonsocket area for anything other than New York Lunch, Beef Barn, and a steak sandwich at Kay's.

Comment #2 by Rob Felber on 2013 01 24

I understand what you're saying Rob, but I didn't know these articles are intended to entice me into leaving my city to travel to these places. I thought it was more about identifying places for people when they happen to be in these areas or actually live neaby and haven't heard about them yet. I agree with you about Vintage and Chan's, and teh gager's too. But even when this ublication reviewed weiner joints, they completely ignored the four good weiner joints in Woonsocket. I really think they believe Woonsocket is not a part of Rhode Island.

If I moved to Providence, I wouldn't be driving out to Woonsocket to eat just to visit a restaurant or pub either; and I sure owon't be plannnig to go to these places either, unless I happen to have another reason to be in the area.

My point is that GoLocalProv regularly ignores the northern parts of the state (unless to criticize), and especially these two "north-averse" food commentators.

Comment #3 by John Ward on 2013 01 24

John. There's a reason no one goes to Woonsocket. It's because it's Woonsocket. Enough said.

Comment #4 by Ron Restivo on 2013 01 24

Thanks Ron. Maybe Ann & Michael feel the same way. BTW, I forgot to mention Ciro's Tavern, a Woonsocket legend that been brought back to life.

Comment #5 by John Ward on 2013 01 25

Hey, Ann & Mike...How about you do a column on the best Fish & Chips around Rhode Island and see if you can continue to ignore Woonsocket!

Comment #6 by John Ward on 2013 01 29

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