Warwick/Cranston restaurants featured at “A Taste of Rhode Island”


Over 50 restaurants and related businesses were showcased at last week’s Taste of Rhode Island at Warwick’s Crowne Plaza.

The owners and employees introduced themselves to the attendees, passing out samples of their signature foods, wines, beers and spirits, according to event organizer Pat Paolino Cruz.

The colorful event featured many of Warwick and Cranston’s finest, including Iggy’s, Thirsty Beaver, Chapel Grill. Legal Seafood, and Warwick Ice Cream.

Entrepreneur Ed Brady stood in front of his booth, greeting friends (He seemed to know everyone who walked through the door) as his crew served up his famous Thirsty Beaver meatballs.

“I love this event,” Ed said. “Not only do food lovers get to taste some of the best that Rhode Island has to offer, those of us in the industry get to celebrate each other and share our successes.”

Brady, in addition to turning the Park Theatre into an active entertainment and food venue, is opening another Thirsty Beaver on Frenchtown Rd. in North Kingstown.

“Taste of R.I.” is a unique Rhode Island event, so there had to be calamari on site. The folks at Iggy’s never had a moment’s rest, serving up their version, along with Iggy’s famous clam chowder.

Legal Seafood moved from Warwick to Cranston’s Garden City four and a half years ago and continues to be a popular destination for seafood lovers.

“People don’t appreciate our sushi and sake enough,” said manager Gary, “so we are featuring it.

 Food aficionados at this event seemed to appreciate it, as the staff worked hard to keep up with them. Their miniature lobsters were popular take-home items.

Thomas Bucci, whose Italian immigrant great grandfather founded Warwick Ice Cream in 1930, has been keeping the tradition going, scooping out the creamy ice cream and talking about the fourth generation of Bucci’s.

The booths spilled out of the Grand Ballroom and into the foyer, where there were several beer, wine and spirits companies giving “sips” of their products.

Our friends from Kin in Providence were there serving a smooth Sweet Tea Margarita. We have added Kin to our list of favorite downtown restaurants after tasting their catfish and candied sweet potatoes.

Paula Arlin, manager at Cranston’s Solitro’s was passing out their delicious cookies and R.I. strip pizza, along with her three daughters, who work at the bakery part time when they are not teaching school.

By 7:30 the place was hopping with the band playing, Chef Terranova demonstrating how to cook fish, and barrels of cups and plates reaching their capacity as attendees sampled everything from Jamaican jerky to saugy hot dogs.

MEA, a non-profit organization helping the homeless, was one of the beneficiaries of the event, along with the participating businesses that introduced their food, special drinks and goodwill to over 500 people.