There are many things that make the East Side special. A knack for creating an environment for living and working communities is just one of them, and a big one at that. Hope Street is crawling with local clothing stores, eateries and knick-knack shops. Wickenden and South and North Main Streets boast the same. And then there’s Ives Street, a conduit from the heart of the East Side into Fox Point.
There is a slew of mainstay shops on Ives Street as well as a resurgence of businesses like the East Side Creamery, which is now the East Side Creamery and Pizzeria. I spoke with the new owner George Forte, and he is thrilled to add to the vitality of this community. He’s a born and bred Rhode Islander who’s spent the last seven years working – and succeeding – in Manhattan. But as his two girls have gotten older, he’s realized that he is needed at home.
His focus with East Side Creamery and Pizzeria is to add to the mom and pop joints that dot Ives Street. This is of paramount importance to him, especially after seeing the corporatization of Manhattan. To him, Ives Street is reminiscent of old Brooklyn, a place he loves, and his goal is to feature and support as many local producers as possible. “If I can find a small vendor, I’ll go out of my way to highlight them,” George emotes. “I want that feel to be here. I want to make everyone proud of this place.”
He’s had his eye on this spot for a while. So when it finally became available he snatched it up. In fact, it’s his brother-in-law, Albert Pacheco, who owns the building – and Captain Seaweed’s next door – and has greatly helped him. “I couldn’t have done this without Albert,” George beams.
George will also not be an absentee owner, oh no. He plans on being at East Side Creamery and Pizzeria for the major parts of the day. As I spoke with him on a sunny afternoon, I was impressed with how many folks he said hello to – by name – in the neighborhood as they walked by. You also may have noticed the term pizzeria added to the title of the cozy corner shop. That’s right, he’s bringing pizza to the creamery. “I like Caserta-style pizza, the biscuity, crispy dough. That’s real pizza,” he says. And he likes it because that’s what he grew up on. He remembers going to Tummy’s Pizza in Cranston or Caserta on the Hill with his family, and also fondly recalls bakery pizza, which he is proud to call, “bakery pizza,” which is, of course, the correct name.
But what can a passerby expect at the creamery? Soft and hard serve ice cream and creative sundaes. The Hot Fudge Brownie sundae is served in a perfect hand-sized cup complete with a brownie and your choice of ice cream and toppings. Then there’s the Strawberry Shortcake Sundae, which has cake on the bottom. George recommends choosing strawberry ice cream to go along with it, which he’ll then top with whipped cream and more. Or you could try the ice cream sandwiches made with from-scratch chocolate chip cookies.
He’ll also be offering steak and cheese sandwiches, Italian grinders, wraps and apps. With a Portuguese wife and therefore Portuguese in-laws, he’s representing that heritage with a chourico and pepper sandwich, bifana sandwich and is creating a Portuguese sandwich, complete with thin-sliced marinated rib eye, an egg and sauce.
He’s trying to recreate a childhood memory with East Side Creamery and Pizzeria. Memories of cheerful, local business men and women that run a destination eatery that the whole family can come to and have a wholesome time. That’s what he’s been missing, so that’s what he created. 170 Ives Street, Providence. 865-6088
Hail to the Cheese
“Oh I’ll only have one cube of cheese,” said no one ever. Perhaps you were being polite when you declined extra cheese; perhaps you were embarrassed to be caught in a hedonistic cheese frenzy. Well, frenzy on at the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese. Yes, this exists, and yes, it’s open to the public. On August 1 say good-bye to politely declining cheese and plow full-steam-ahead with an all out sampling of over 1,600 American artisan and specialty chees.es. To top it off, there will be plenty of accompaniments to the cheese including charcuterie plates, honey, ciders and more. $60. 7-9:30pm. Rhode Island Convention Center. 1 Sabin Street, Providence.
The Dog Days Aren’t Over
Hot dogs are not just reserved for backyard festivities, nor should they be. On August 4 and 18 head over to Aurora from 5-7pm for their Downcity Dog Days. InDowncity has teamed up with Aurora for free hot dogs, drink specials and barbecue-related events like bean bag tosses and ping pong. Oh and they’ll have some giveaways for local retailers and restaurants. So you should probably head over there and have, like, a good time, or whatever. 276 Westminster Street, Providence.