Posted by Cindy Bracker, Communications Director
So usually I leave the food and other area points of interest to the locals, but after visiting Providence twice, I have found a few favorites of my own. I really had to think twice about whether to share them though, because I worry that they might become so popular that I can’t get a table! So, as you read this, keep in mind that if I show up at one of hese places and it’s packed, I might just decide to join your table….forewarned is forearmed? hahaha.
So in general Federal Hill is a great place to go to find a variety of restaurants, and it’s a short walk from the convention center. There was a greek-looking restaurant up there (sorry, I don’t remember the name) that I really wanted to try and never got a chance to get to. It will definitely be on my conference to-do (or rather, to-eat) list.
Also on my list will be a third trip to Angelos…and maybe a forth. Angelo’s is one of several Italian restaurants up on Federal Hill and, dare I say, the BEST of the bunch! So many tempting things on the menu, but both times, I had the (drumroll, please), CINDY SPECIAL (yes, that’s a real thing….I think I even instagrammed it…) It’s described on their menu as “A golden brown chicken cutlet covered with spicy capicola on a bed of penne pasta covered with melted mozzarella and marinara sauce” It’s described by me as YUM. I mean how can you beat a bed of fresh warm carbs covered by a pan-fried crispy piece of chicken covered in salami and smothered in cheese? Of course I got it with a salad to make it healthy….oh, but it gets better. Let me just tell you about the chocolate torte that they have…..wait, no! Don’t let me tell you about it…hmm, I better call to warn them to triple their usual stock of that thing. It is easily the most delicious chocolate concoction I have ever put in my mouth, so save room…or eat your dessert first….I won’t tell.
Also up on Federal Hill, just about a block past Angelo’s is the Providence Oyster Bar. After our last board meeting I had some time to kill before my flight, so Dori (Conference planner) and I asked the hotel concierge for suggestions and that led us to this place. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of oysters, but I do like other creatures from the sea and I LOVE chowder. This place is pretty hard to beat (Brian Kohl, are you reading this? Hint hint….we’re going here..oh, and they have shrimp puttanesca for you) Between a big bowl of the chowder and an order of Pt. Judith Calamari (off the appetizer menu – calamari and hot peppers….YUM!) I was well-satiated for the plane ride home. I think I napped on the plane and dreamt about that chowder. If you go, be sure to ask them about Rhode Island Clam Chowder, which is different than New England Clam Chowder. I didn’t know that before. 🙂
AS 220 is also a short walk from the convention center, but in the opposite direction. I was introduced to this gem by Jay Lacouture at our first board meeting in Providence. I have a bit of a rule of thumb that I’ve learned in my almost 5 years on the board – go where the locals go, so when Jay took off walking, I followed him. It was just the two of us, which was also fun because Jay is such a great storyteller and so knowledgable about the history of NCECA. AS220 offers unique meals from locally sourced ingredients in counter-service style. It really is delicious, and it varies with the season, but you’re sure to find something you like on their menu, and chances are, it’s one of the healthier options near the convention center. An added bonus is that AS220 is also an arts complex of galleries & performance spaces, and is hosting several shows in conjunction with NCECA.
If you’re on your way to AS-220, you might get tempted to take a detour by the delicious aromas coming from nearby Trinity Brewhouse. It’s your basic bar and grill, but it’s really tasty and a fun environment. If you’re into beer, they do brew their own, right there on the premises. They also received a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Fest for their Imperial IPA. And even this Kansas girl gives their burgers a thumbs up. The beer battered cod is also quite tasty.
Providence Coal Fired Pizza is also on Empire Street, just a little further past AS-220 you’ll find Providence Coal Fired Pizza. Now, I didn’t actually eat at this place, but I wish that I had. Some of the other board members went there for lunch one day and they came back raving about it, so it’s definitely on my list.
If you find yourself up late into the evening and possibly needing a late night snack, then you need to wander up to Providence City Hall to enjoy the diner food at Haven Brother’s Food Truck. This was another Jay-gem from our first board meeting in Providence, and while I didn’t personally partake in the provisions, check out this video of someone who did (there’s even a bit of bonus footage of Federal Hill at the beginning). In any case, the food truck will fill you up from 4pm until 5am. It’s like they were made for NCECA.
Hope you enjoyed reading this list. Now I’m going to go find some lunch!