Food Review – Mae’s Place

8230 Post Road
North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Mae’s Place is small cafe located on the junction of Route 1 and 1A (or Post Road and West Main Street curve for those of you who are local.) Mae’s serves breakfast and lunch in a clean, cozy atmosphere.  They open promptly at 6:30 and close at 2:30.  There is ample parking but getting into and out of the lot can require a tiny bit patience when the Post Road traffic is heavy.

The restaurant is small, but well laid out.  There is a glass counter to the right for quick take out. It also does a brisk business.

Already, even though it is the off-season, Mae’s is already building a loyal clientele.  The place is immaculate and brightly lit.  The service is open and friendly.

The waitstaff is happy, friendly, and knowledgeable.  The portions are generous and are freshly made.  Food here is solid and even the weekly specials are intended to leave you happy and full rather than simply being “catchy”.  Food delivery is very fast considering the kitchen is small. Food arrives cooked to your requirements and hot.  Kudos to the cooks in the back.

This is a family place, not a “tie and tails” place.  Casual is the norm.

The restaurant is handicap accessible.  There is a concrete ramp leading to the main door.

The prices are reasonable and the weekly menu has a number of interesting choices if you want to try something a little bit off the beaten path.

For example, I found the Caramel Apple Belgian Waffle quite tasty.  A combination of flavors excellently blended without any one becoming overpowering (which the caramel has a tendency to do.) The apples were not bitter and not overcooked to mush.

A couple of other things to keep in mind.

For those who are Rhode Islanders, Mae’s has johnnycakes.  I took along a couple of locals who were both pleased with the offering.  Next, Mae’s has hash browns as an option instead of home fries.  I tend to avoid the extra carbs from home fries, but I rationalize like crazy to justify good hash browns.  Mae’s are very good.

Finally, buy a muffin – or six.  At the risk of losing my supply, they have a wonderful raspberry and white chocolate muffin which could easily substitute as a dessert on its own. Mae’s does not skimp on the size or the taste.

So for a good solid breakfast or lunch in a clean atmosphere visit Mae’s.
They’ll be happy to see you, and you’ll be happy you went.

Food Review – Aunt Carries

Aunt Carrie’s Seafood Restaurant

1240 Ocean Rd,
Narragansett, RI 02882

Not exactly breakfast, they typically don’t start serving until 11, but you have to mention them…

Aunt Carrie’s is a seasonal dining hotspot located near Point Judith very close to the ocean. Locals and vacationers have long crowded in during the summer for it’s excellent seafood  brunch, lunch and  dinners.  Not to mention the huge variety of pies they offer.

The building is a low single story affair with little parking. Locals will often park behind the ice cream store across the street (which is owned by the same people who run the restaurant.)

The entryway is wide enough for a wheelchair and, except for a small bump at the front door access is pretty easy.

Aunt Carries does not claim to be animal friendly, but people often buy from the open front booth area and then eat outside at the picnic tables in the back or across the street.
The food is very good, especially the seafood. The atmosphere is family friendly, not fine dining. You won’t find many suits at Aunt Carries, and you may find more than a few bathing suits outside.

I actually spent a good part of last summer trying each of the pies they offer and I found them all to be very good. The crust tends to be a bit doughier, mainly due to the fillings, so if you are expecting a light and flaky crust you might be a bit disappointed. You shouldn’t be disappointed by the taste, the size, or the quality of the ingredients in any of their meals.

Fish and seafood is fresh, and the batters are crispy. Meals are served quickly and the waitstaff is friendly and chatty.

Mark this one as another fun summer find and remember to save room for dessert.

Food Review – Tree House Tavern and Bistro

The Tree House Tavern and Bistro

1094 Centerville Rd..
Warwick, RI 02886
Please note address correction above.

The Tree House Tavern in Warwick does a booming business in the evening.  Which is why it is such a delight to visit early in the day for breakfast.  You can generally get in and seated right up to lunch with little waiting.

The Tree House has a fun atmosphere and as the weather warms up so do the options you can enjoy.  In winter you are typically limited to the main building – a collection of rooms of various sizes that you can dine in.  If you call ahead you can arrange to have your favorite.

But with the warmer weather the gardens begin to bloom (the bistro was a garden shop in a former life) and you can eat outdoors.

Outdoors, there’s a bit of bustle from the street, but it is easily ignored.  The parking area is adequate and very easy to navigate in the early morning.  There is even a traffic light to let you exit back onto the busy street.  The entryway is flat and handicapped access is easily possible.  There is a bathroom on the floor with a wide door as well.  Outdoor dining means that your pooch could come along, but check with the management about their policies.

Indoors you realize that things here are a bit… different.

I first visitied around St. Patrick’s Day and I entered to find an eight foot tall yellow stuffed camel with a green fedora on his head and a pair of bongos lodged between his humps.  There was Celtic music playing in the background. Later, outside the window by the small table where I was dining I could see a grey squirrel giving my meal the eye.  He’d climbed up a nearby tree to watch.

Feel free to “go walkabout” in the restaurant.  There are a several cozy rooms to visit and when you think you have seen them all a new one pops up.  No going upstairs or out into the kitchen, of course. The different sizes allow you to have groups of diners gathered for meetings or just a quiet meal.

Looking around the main dining area is a treat, with an odd collection of items hanging on the walls.  I personally loved the collection of old saws artfully arranged in an arc on the second floor wall.

Dining is confined to the first floor and the outside areas.  The covered open tool storage area with its giant picnic table makes it an interesting choice.  The actual treehouse (yes they have one) is off limits to diners but it’s low enough to the ground that a tall person could let a small person take a peek inside.

The food here is very good.  I went with traditional fare, but I’ve come back a couple times to begin working my way through several of the apple dishes that fill out the menu.  If you want an early morning mimosa or hangover cure they also have a fully stocked bar.

This is Rhode Island and seafood is a must try – even for breakfast.  I’ve had both the new England Benny with lobster, asparagus and hollendaise, and the smoked salmon Benedict.  Both were very good.  I’m also up for the Apple Pie French Toast, especially in October when apple season is in full swing.

I must also add that I had a very pleasant time chatting with the owner, a freindly sort with a wry sense of humor and a great attitude about his business and his life.

So for a fun time year round, and excellent food and service try the Tree House Tavern and Bistro in Warwick.

 

 

 

Food Review – Wood River Inn – Bar and Restaurant

The Wood River Inn

1139 Main St.
Wyoming, RI 02898

The people who stay at the Wood River Inn are winners every morning.  Tucked away in a separate area behind the bar is a lovely spot where they can enjoy a quiet meal, in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere and converse on the days events.  The food is quite good and the locals have been slipping in for breakfast for a very long time.

This would be a good place for a quiet meeting in the morning for a small group.  The coffee is good, the service is discreet, with suitable lulls in service for you to appreciate the quiet and the food.  The hardwood decor provides a relaxing atmosphere.

A sport jacket would not be out of place, but neither would a plaid workshirt.  This is not fine dining – at least for breakfast – but it would be a nice surprise place to take a date early in the morning on a weekend for a bit of conversation and planning of the days events.

Hint: Park in the back and enter from the rear of the building, rather than trying to find street parking,  There is a narrow driveway to the left of the building and a reasonable parking area in the back.

No sign of animals here, but there is access for the handicapped in the back and the doors are wide enough to admit a wheelchair.  It’s a bit tight though.  Once inside there is good space to maneuver.

The menu featured online does not show any of the breakfast offerings, but you can expect standard choices with an occassional surprise.  Eggs, bacon, home fries, toast are all well done and backed by a good cup of coffee.

Afraid you won’t find fifiteen types of omelettes, or a generous selection of toppings for your Belgian waffle.  This is more traditional New England food, farm fresh, and appetizing.  It is simple, filling, and  served in a quiet atmosphere.

It’s a lovely change of pace.

So, if you are out in the wilds of Wyoming look for the Wood River Inn and give it a try.  It’s a bit of quiet to start your morning.

 

Food Review – The Corner Cafe

The Corner Cafe

110 Broadway
Newport, RI 02840

Time for a bit of the Irsh while you wait for your tour of the mansions? The Corner Cafe is located right on Broadway in Newport and is a very busy place almost any time of day. The wait staff often has a genuine Irsh brogue and it comes with some very good bangers, rashers, and blood sausage (I prefer the white, but the black is not bad. Try them both and see which you prefer.)

Irish potato home fries here are disticntive.  You will also find a number of interesting choices on the menu.  Expect to wait to get in – summer or winter the place can be crowded and the space is small.  There are about a dozen tables, a small bar area, and a back area that has a bit more room.  The staff hustles, but the customers linger.  Not a place for a meeting, but a fun place to take a date for something different.  You won’t have to dress up, its casual, but a jacket and tie wouldn’t be too out of place.  In summer this place fills with tourists in flowery print dresses and sun hats.  Conversations can be heard in multiple languages and they are mostly news and  favorable comments on the flavors in the meals.

Being straight off the street they are handicap accessible,  but it’s a tight squeeze through the door and there is little room to maneuver inside the restaurant.  No pets inside, of course, and the street is too close for anything to happen outside.

Early in the morning  – say 6:30 – is your best chance for a quick table.  If you fail that another lull happens around 3:30.  They usually remain busy until close to closing at 9 pm.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

If you want to go Irish, try Fitzy’s Irish Fry Up.  Two eggs (your way), bangers, rashers, white and black pudding, grilled tomato and Irish black bread.  McCanns is also good as a twist on the traditional. The coffee is consistently good.  Strong but not too acidic.  You can also try a very large selection of non-traditional dishes – pancakes, cinnamon French toast,  all prepared in generous portions.

So, before your begin your tour of the mansions, or if you happen to own one.  The Corner Cafe is a wonderful place to start your morning.

 

 

Food Review – Ocean Mist

Ocean Mist

895 Matunuck Beach Rd.
Wakefield, RI 02879

Ready for a bit of adventure?  Ocean Mist is a former “biker bar” located right on the water in a building hovering above the beach and the waves.  You park on Matunuck Beach Rd. and climb a couple of steps to the porch, follow along a walkway and into the side of the building.

Not going to be easy to get a wheelchair up here although it looks like they may have a ramp system in the works (when I was there last there was construction going on.)  Not too pet friendly either, unless you took your meal outside and down to the water.

Inside the place is dark.  To your right is a rough wooden stage – painted black.  Overhead are some Klieg lights.  To your left is an island bar.  Beyond that are some small tables and a view of the ocean that makes the trip worth it.

Ocean Mist has an outer deck that is open in summer.  In colder weather the interior is your best bet.  In spite of the dreary appearance, the food here is first rate.  The service can be a bit spotty in the morning as things are sorting themselves out from the concert the night before.  But, despite initial appearances the place is kept clean, the staff is friendly, and the meals worth a couple of extra minutes.

There are several different dishes that are worth trying.  Check the menu online and dig a bit and you will be surprised at the variety of offerings.

I was very pleased with the Jungle Pile Up, a delicious combination of Mexican and American foods.  The omelet was tasty as were the beans, guacomole, and mushrooms.  The salsa was not too hot (but they can warm it up if you ask.) The nachos were fresh, and the cubed homefries had a touch of spice as well.  There are several other dishes that mix American and Mexican recipes and those I tried were consistently well done.

Of course, being near the ocean there are seafood combinations as well.  They offer a lobster, a crab claw, and a salmon benedict.   For those of you who love Hollendaise they actually have ten different benedicts you can try beginning with the Classic and stretching to an Irish Benedict.  Several have different ingredients added to the basic Hollendaise that sound intriguing.

So it you are heading to the beach for a day of fun and sun consider starting a bit early and hitting the Ocean Mist for a breakfast worth having.

 

Food Review – Crosby’s Cafe

Crosby’s Cafe

431 Main St
East Greenwich, RI 02818

Crosby’s Cafe is a relative newcomer to the Town of East Greenwich. Located further down main street than most of the older restaurants, it has a small parking area as well as the traditional on street parking.

The place is small, with only about six or seven tables. There is a ramp to the front door, but it would be a tight squeeze for a wheelchair and little room to maneuver once inside. The restaurant does not claim to be animal friendly, but there is dining outside which makes for a possibility of handicapped access and a well trained pet.

The menu consists of traditional breakfast and lunch fare, but there is also a large white board inside offering a number of interesting choices that can vary from week to week.
I found the atmosphere to be much like a typical diner, with friendly waitresses and cooks, a jovial atmosphere and a desire to make you a repeat customer.

This is not fine dining or haute cuisine. It is solid fare, quickly prepared. Expect to find mostly locals, and solid folk. Portions are reasonable, and your coffee cup will normally be filled as fast as you drain it. The TV in the corner is a bit of a distraction, I certainly wouldn’t pick it for a first date. But it would be a great place to meet a few friends for some solid food and a quiet atmosphere to discuss friendly topics.

I like to try the different choices that pop up on the white board as specials, and I applaud the cook for trying new things on a regular basis. It would be easy to slide into a much smaller average menu. Instead he is willing to stretch a bit, which makes the dining a bit more fun.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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Food Review – Two Gulls Restaurant

Two Gulls Restaurant

2 State St
Narragansett, RI 02882

Special Note:  I’m including this review because I liked the restaurant.  The review was written several months ago for Yelp.  Unfortunately, Two Gulls closed over the winter and failed to re-open.  My compliments to the owners for creating such an interesting dining experience and I hope your next endeavor proves to be a massive success.  I’m leaving the review just as I originally wrote it – in present tense as if the restaurant is still there.  For those who went, it is still there – at least as a fond memory.

Tucked away on the outskirts of Galilee, Two Gulls restaurant is a fun find on a cold blustery day. The restaurant is open with just a few tables, good lighting from large windows and a location that puts it within throwing distance of the fishing boats.

The food is hearty fare, served in good quantity. Don’t expect haute cuisine. This is make you warm, give you strength food. The people are friendly, and the locals like it on or off season. They have a small glass case near the register where you can find breakfast pasties, and the occasional quiche or two.

The steps do not allow for handicapped access and the doorway would make navigating difficult for a wheelchair – even if you got it up to the front porch entry. The restaurant does not advertise pet friendliness, but you can eat outside in summer so it might be possible to dine outside on the porch in the shade and have a canine friend nearby. Never tried it.

I liked the flavor and the portion size of the meal. I found the interior lacking in atmosphere, although the nautical theme was evident. I would say it is an open, friendly, place that would make a fun stop, but not a romantic or fine dining place.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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Food Review – Dante’s Kitchen

Dante’s Kitchen

315 Main St
East Greenwich, RI 02818

Dante’s Kitchen is located a fair distance down Main Street in East Greenwich. The food is very good and well prepared, but the menu is a bit sparse for choices. There are specials on a chalk board which add to the choices, but usually there are only two or three.

The thing that stands out about Dante’s is the quality of the food itself. Even a simple meal like scrambled eggs and bacon is tasty. Many restaurants that serve simple fare frankly taste little better than cardboard. Dante’s is a clear exception to this rule.

The dishes that are offered are interesting. I recently tried their burrito breakfast and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Alcohol is served and Mimosa’s and Bloody Mary’s can make for a more upscale meal.

The waitresses are friendly, and quick.

The place is small, a few tables of different sizes and an even smaller bar with a half dozen seats. The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed. This would be a good place for a small meeting, or an intimate breakfast in a corner by the windows. There is a large TV above the bar which can distract, but the sound is usually kept low.

No handicap access due to steep steps and a narrow door. No place for any animals either, although at one point in the late fall I did see some tables outside.

A pleasant dining experience for a reasonable price.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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Food Review – Phil’s Diner

Phil’s Restaurant

323 Main St
Wakefield, RI 02879

Phil’s Diner is a Wakefield landmark, located near the center of Main Street and Robinson. The restaurant has three different dining areas. The first and oldest, is a simple booth and table arrangement located on the first floor. There is a long counter area. The second is located above the first and has several small tables and a couple of nooks for intimate dining. The third area is upstairs and across a walkway for open rooftop dining.

Phil’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinners at all three locations. There are bars located on the second floor and on the rooftop so drinks can be had at any meal. The place has become popular with the college crowd and became a hero to the locals during a major power outage when they served food using their gas grills and battery powered lamps.

The food here ranges widely from straightforward hash and eggs to burgers to more elaborate meals in the evening. Pick your mood and pick your location. Outdoor dining doesn’t usually start until after 11 and is shut down during the cold weather or when serious storms are brewing. The second floor does have a large screen TV dominating one wall, which can give a kind of sports bar feel, but it usually has the sound off.

If you want to try something different and have a sweet tooth, try the cinnamon roll french toast. I usually have mine with bananas and whipped cream. Serious sugar shock – keep away from small children!

Simple items (scrambled eggs, bacon, hash, home fries) are generally cooked on the open grills on the first floor. More elaborate food is prepared in the kitchen in the back.

Phil’s also has some excellent desserts, and a friendly wait staff. They seem to adjust to the dining you are looking for. So expect, a friendly, garrulous waitress on the first floor and a more subdued waiter on the second. Outside the atmosphere is faintly reminiscent of open air dining everywhere. Cocktails and a slower meal so you can soak up the fresh air. I wouldn’t recommend it for serious business meetings or large gatherings though the space is difficult for those kinds of events.

For outdoor dining in summer I recommend arriving just before five pm. The crowd has not arrived. The sun is usually setting and the air has a mild but not annoying breeze. For breakfast get there early and don’t be surprised if there is a line in good weather, especially on Saturday.

Good food, good price and good ambiance depending on what you are looking for.

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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