Where the former XO Café once served fine dining dishes, soon the new XO Bar moves into North Main Street shaking up creative cocktails. Chef Ben Lloyd (of Salted Slate and Providence Wine Bar) and business partner Scott Champagne are opening the new spot on the first floor of the historic John Updike House. The plan for the new establishment is “relaxed vibes, a lounge feel, smooth lighting, stellar beats, and over-the-top hospitality… comfortable and classic, the way it should be,” says general manager Alesandra Paolino Ottone. “We’re not reinventing the bar experience, just stripping it down and bringing it back to its roots.”
Ottone promises a “rotating original cocktail menu, classics made the right way, as well as those with some fun twists. Plus, a beer for everyone’s palate, from Bud Light to local brews, and an extensive, indulgent wine selection.” Although there won’t be a kitchen, XO expects to offer snack boxes with homemade potato chips, cheese, and charcuterie prepared by The Salted Slate. Providence, TheXOBar.com
“It’s always fresh” at Walker’s Roadside stand in Little Compton, according to owner Ian Walker, who recently took over the popular farmstand from his father Coll. “When Coll decided it was time to call it quits, I figured I’d hang up my hoe as well. But after a summer of crappy corn and tasteless tomatoes, I knew what I had to do,” he explains.
Walker decided to reopen the stand after the business closed last summer, carrying on the 40-year family tradition of growing everything from corn to raspberries, with a selection of other high-quality, local food items at the stand, too. “The farm was like a ghost town, the plow was in the rain, and summer would never be the same without Walker’s,” says Walker. “So I ordered some seeds, saddled up my tractor, and here we are. We’ll continue to grow the same fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs, and berries that Walker’s is famous for, while upholding the high standards set by my father and grandfather.” The farmstand is slated to return June 16. Little Compton, Facebook: Walkers Stand
No doubt, chowder always tastes better with a gentle sea breeze overhead. This summer, you’ll have the chance to experience it firsthand at Newport Chowder’s new seasonal space on Thames Street. Owner Katie Potter carries on the legacy of her family’s secret recipe from the beloved Murial’s restaurant in Newport. “I started Newport Chowder in 2019 as a spice-packing company with my mother’s spices and the recipe on the back, so that people could make their chowder at home,” she says. When the pandemic hit, she turned to food incubator Hope & Main. “I went through their entrepreneur program and then I started making the chowder, doing farmers markets, selling two gallons at a time.”
That led to a food truck and now a seasonal restaurant opening Memorial Day weekend, adjacent to Kilwin’s Ice Cream. With well over 100 events already scheduled for this summer, Potter and her crew will be busy stirring the pots. In addition to her award-winning seafood recipe, Potter has introduced a gluten-free corn chowder. “I guess I’m the chowder lady now,” she jokes. NewportChowderCompany.com
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