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Rhode Island’s Best Sandwiches

Thursday, June 02, 2011


It's the first full week of summer, and that gets us to thinking about long days at the beach, romantic picnics by the bay, or long days spent sailing. The next thought? What goodies to pack for lunch, of course. Run-of-the-mill white bread sandwiches just don't do it for us...they somehow tarnish the feel of the day. So here are seven -- one for every day of your vacation week -- where you can pick up the most beautiful, inventive, delicious sandwiches around. Care to thank us? An invitation to go sailing will do.

J’s Deli, Smithfield, Cumberland, Woonsocket

No crazy or artisan ingredients, nothing intimidating or frou-frou here. Just great sandwiches. If you can’t find a sandwich you love at J’s, well…you just shouldn’t be reading this article. There are 17 different combinations of turkey or chicken alone.  Then there’s ham, corned beef, roast beef, shaved steak, veal cutlets, salami, meatballs, eggplant... it goes on and on. Everything’s fresh and portions are huge.  285 George Washington Hwy, Smithfield, 231-0823; additional locations in Cumberland, Woonsocket and Attleboro, MA.

Provender, Tiverton

This longtime staple of Main Road is a favorite stop for those en route to Sakonnet Point and Goosewing Beach. This pleasant little shop has a Hamptons feel to it, and you almost expect to see Ina Garten perusing the aisles, filling a basket with treats. What you will find is a selection of sandwiches, all made to order and mouthwatering and beautiful. We like the Scarlet Letter—turkey, tarragon mayo, cranberry chutney and sprouts—but the selection is vast, creative and

fresh as can be. Don’t miss the scones, lemon bars, or epic cookies, either. And if the beach isn’t your thing, there’s a gorgeous lawn out back you can stretch out on and enjoy. 3883 Main Rd, 624-8084.

Olga’s Cup and Saucer, Providence

When you’ve been baking the best damn bread this side of Brooklyn for the better part of a decade, it doesn’t take much to elevate the sandwich to an artform. A few quality ingredients and some whimsy is what makes Olga’s special. One of our favorites is the Mayan chicken salad with chipotle mayo, spinach, and cheddar, served on sourdough. There are also old school basics such as turkey and cheddar on sourdough. Don’t miss out on fresh-baked cookies and muffins in the case out front. 103 Point St, 831-6666.

Farmstead, Providence

Fans of Chef Matt Jennings’ Wayland Square cheese shop were beyond delighted when a new Downcity locale opened offering creative artisan sandwiches, many featuring some of the fine cheeses he stocked. With the closing of that location, the Wayland Square shop will now begin to offer some of those crave-worthy combinations, and a day at the beach can be made so much more decadent. Think corned beef tongue with mustard-braised cabbage and Babbo’s mustard, house-smoked pork loin with anchovy and black olive aioli and greens, or chicken salad made with harissa, spinach, toasted almonds and yogurt. I mean. Grab some of his wife Kate’s sweet treats and you have a beach picnic made in heaven. 186 Wayland Ave, 274-7177.

Le Petit Gourmet, Newport

For the longest time foodies in Newport had to make the trek off-island for great gourmet grab and go. Frustrated by the situation, Maria Chiancola decided to do something about it and in 2008 opened Le Petit Gourmet right next to her

popular wine shop, Newport Wine Cellar. Le Petit features these great little sandwiches made in-house daily with local, fresh ingredients. They are served on fresh baked bread from Pain D'Avignon in Hyannis and they are always $4. On a recent pop-in, we got one with smoked duck, local arugala and Tallegio cheese and it was to die for! Le Petit Gourmet also partners with Spark restaurant to feature fresh salads and to-go soups and take and heat meals. You can also call ahead and the always knowledgeable staff can put together a cheese tasting for you to take to the beach or really just wherever. 26 Bellevue Ave, 619-3882.

Meeting Street Cafe, Providence

If a great sandwich is what you're craving, you can't do much better than the Meeting Street Cafe. Opened in 1984 with a mission to bring fresh, overstuffed sandwiches and house-made desserts to the College Hill crowd, Meeting Street Cafe is always a great choice for grab and go food. The sandwiches are legendary: the beef is roasted in-house daily for the roast beef sandwiches and the pastrami is always lean and juicy. We love the New Yorker, with a double portion of corned beef or pastrami on rye bread with mustard. The sandwiches are just one part of the equation however; you can get an enormous fresh-baked cookie to take with you. We battle between chocolate chip and peanut butter, but really everyone is a winner here! 220 Meeting St, 273-1066.

Seven Stars Bakery, Rumford

Headed out to the Cape or to Bristol for the parade? Take a stop off at the beautiful Rumford Center and visit Seven Stars Bakery for a sandwich on their incredible freshly baked breads. Seven Stars was opened in 2001, on Hope Street, and has grown to 3 locations and an off-site kitchen to handle all that baking. While the focus here is on the coffee and the delectable selection of pastries, scones and cookies, each day they make a French-style baguette sandwich that you can grab and go with. The selections are very limited as are the quantities, but expect turkey with greens or tomato and fresh mozzarella-type combinations. 20 Newman Ave, 521-2200.

Photos: Farmstead, Olga's Cup and Saucer, Meeting Street Cafe

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Anthony's Deli on Admiral Street in Providence is also the original home of the "sangwich." Whatever that is. All I know is they have some delicious stuff too. Wish they made this list as well as J's...

Comment #1 by Tim Fogarty on 2011 06 02

Go into Venda Ravioli and have them make a grinder for you on the spot. The Italian rolls are fresh and crusty, and on a good day you can get a seven-grain alternative, also fresh and crusty. Have them put on a little olive oil _ then I like turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion and roasted peppers. Sit outside in the sun and enjoy. Then grab a cappuccino, take it back outside, close your eyes, and, without much difficulty, imagine you're in Italy. M. Charles Bakst

Comment #2 by Charlie Bakst on 2011 06 04

Olgas? You've got to be kidding or else you got special treatment because they knew you were
from the press. Their food always looks good but it's mediocre. The only award they could win is for the staff with the most attitude.

Comment #3 by Ellen Shatter on 2012 02 04

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