Living on Main Street in Warren, several months ago I noticed that the Subway storefront had closed. “No big loss,” I initially thought. But then, like a vermilion flash, I began to excitedly wonder exactly what could take its place. The real estate is prime: Along this essential road in town, institutions like Rod’s Grille, Delekta Pharmacy, and the Coffee Depot stand alongside newcomers like Nectar De La Vida, Galactic Theatre, and Eli’s Kitchen (technically 30 paces from Main Street). It’s our downtown; it’s always busy, always packed with cars and people, and it’s the ideal spot in Warren for a new business.
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t tried Rhody Roots’ food truck. I’d heard positive things about them, but they had eluded my specific culinary journey through mobile eateries in Rhode Island. I knew they had good food and focused on locally sourced ingredients. When I saw that Rhody Roots would be taking over the open storefront, I was brimming with excitement.
Out of nowhere one day, my girlfriend texted me a picture of the front door that said “Poutine! Down roots in Warren. 9 to 3.” Rhody Roots was officially open. I ran down the street to meet her there. When I walked inside, I was sold on the identity. Comic book pages lovingly cut up and carefully placed under glass serve as the counter for the bar. Vivid multicolored doors, curtains, furniture, and repurposed window frames adorn the entire restaurant. Huge windows surround the dining area, making it brightly lit and inviting. Hanging bench seats sit in windowed enclaves. The restaurant boasts framed paintings of Batman, Magneto, Ghost Rider, and the Infinity Gauntlet, as well as a monster mural of Spider-Man and the Dark Knight. Patrons are even invited to write down their own superpowers with Sharpie on a wall near the restrooms – a fun way to include customers in the atmosphere of the restaurant.
Rhody Roots is open twice a day – once for brunch, once for dinner. Some dishes cross over between both menus. With three visits now under my belt, I must insist that their Papas Poutine ($12) is the first thing you should order; duck fat papas bravas, cheese curd, and romesco gravy are topped with a fried duck egg. Poutine can be overwhelming, ordered by people looking to fill up on comfort food. But here, it’s a delicious build on French fries (during dinner) or home fries (during brunch) that feels like a more elegant and reserved take on the dish – with a focus more on controlled flavor profile than indulgence. It’s Peachy ($12) is literally a plate of peach slices tossed in a cinnamon agave glaze with whipped blueberry goat cheese and popped quinoa. It’s an excellent, light, sweet dish that borders on dessert without quite crossing that line. Finally, the Short Rib Bolognese ($22), also available with mushrooms instead of short rib, is absolutely delicious. The pasta choice of what appeared to be bucatini worked perfectly for a thick, meaty dish like this, which included a specific balance of carrots and onions in its bolognese; it’s another plate that surprised me with its level of meticulous planning and execution – which I’ve come to expect as a hallmark of the eatery.
Rhody Roots is a welcome, and dare I say perfect, addition to downtown Warren. Upscale, high-quality food in a tastefully relaxed and inviting atmosphere – that’s their superpower.