One of Providence’s best-kept secrets in the pizza scene, A Guy & His Pie started slinging pies in 2020, operating under the IFYKYK shroud of Instagram posts sharing deets of upcoming pop-ups as said “guy” labored away on new ‘za varieties in a covert kitchen space – until he found himself with a waitlist of over 300. “It started out as a joke actually,” says Brian who spent the COVID lockdown experimenting with recipes. “A friend of mine introduced me to Detroit Style Pizza and I was hooked. I just loved the focaccia-style dough and the way the cheese caramelized on the edge of the pan.”
With very few others specializing in pizza like this in PVD, Brian quickly found his niche and expanded reach by collaborating with the likes of CHOMP, PVDonuts, Mings, Masa Taqueria, and The Dump Truck to introduce ever crazier toppings. Now, from his Lorraine Mills kitchen, he is expanding the one-man show to hire staff, broaden menu offerings (think cannolis and wings), and add hours to get more pies in the hands of his fans.
Ken Zorabedian, who created the fledgling food delivery app DASAP, has partnered with Johnston restaurateur Rick Melise to open Bodega on Smith. Zorabedian’s original plan was for the storefront to serve as a fulfillment center for DASAP. But the Smith Hill resident saw a unique opportunity to offer grocery items and prepared food to an area along route 44 that’s a veritable fresh food desert.
The micro grocery features traditional deli sandwiches as well as a vegan menu (like a teriyaki tofu sandwich and a fennel and grapefruit salad) from chef Chris Collins, who embraced plant-based cooking during his time as executive chef at AS220. As Bodega on Smith finds its footing, Zorabedian plans to expand their offerings to include produce and meats from Rhode Island farms. A full liquor license is also on the horizon, as is a breakfast menu. “You can sip a mimosa while doing your Sunday morning shopping,” says Zorabedian.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” says Kristin Gennuso who, with her husband Matt, owns Chez Pascal. When they announced before the holidays they were ending their 19-year run at the beloved East Side eatery to head to Singapore for an offer of a lifetime for Matt to teach charcuterie, an outpouring of support flooded the couple.
The Gennusos bought the restaurant from Pascal and Lynn Leffray. A consultant advised them to keep the name, being told that it would keep customers coming in the door. Gennuso says, looking back, that was a mistake. “The Rhode Island food scene is wonderful. People love to try new places.” She hopes that the new owners, whoever they are, will make the cherished place their own while recognizing the wonderful community that comes with the purchase. In the meantime, Gennuso, an avid reader, is looking forward to finishing a book in under two years. “A customer suggested a Signaporian author who writes food mysteries,” she says, eager to dig in.
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