The idea behind Feed the Cheeks is nothing new; when foodies Mahran Izoli and Shahida Roslan set out to open up shop in Wayland Square, they weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, they wanted to perfect a classic: the chocolate chip cookie. “We are fortunate enough to have travelled far and wide, always looking for the best food spots in any city or country we have visited,” says Izoli, a native Rhode Islander well-versed in Providence’s shining food scene. “We wanted to bring something simple, yet unique to our city. Providence was lacking a good cookie shop, and we thought: Who doesn’t love cookies?”
Branded with a smiling baby face, the couple’s cookies are all about brightening your day, made with premium ingredients and rigorously taste-tested by friends and family before opening last month. Special flavors will rotate monthly, but Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip will always be available for a melt-in-your-mouth comfort snack go-to. - Abbie Lahmers
An East Side staple in the heart of Wayland Square, with a second location on the Bryant University campus, L’Artisan Cafe & Bakery now finds its third home in the Jewelry District’s Davol Square. Owner Ghassan Daou, along with franchisee Ourania Voulgari, seek to bring a little pleasure to visitors’ daily lives with a prime location steps from the Point Street bridge and outdoor seating near the canal. “L’Artisan Cafe brings a sense of cheer and happiness, the chance to disconnect from life’s everyday challenges and connect with friends, neighbors, family, strangers, or business associates,” says Daou. “It is undoubtedly a European feeling being able to savor a cappuccino with a freshly baked croissant, or a glass of wine on the terrace with a cheese board.
Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch of fresh salads and wraps from their refrigerated grab-and-go case or warming up with a steaming cuppa over Belgian chocolates and housemade baked goods, L’Artisan promises to be a neighborhood fixture in its new home. - Abbie Lahmers
Bob Burke, owner of Pot au Feu, won the second place prize of $25,000 in Barclays’ Small Business Big Wins contest. Burke answered the UK-based bank’s call for entries open to US small business owners. With a short application window, Burke quickly penned an essay and submitted a photograph illustrating how the events of 2020 affected his livelihood and his response. “A plea came,” the essay reads, “meals for front line caregivers. More than two thousand meals. Just like always: bread, salad, homemade dressings, entree, dessert, and a rose.”
“There was so much pent-up frustration and pain,” Burke reflects. “But once I began to gather all that happened in my mind, the ‘fog of war’ began to clear and I realized how many comrades in arms I wanted to thank.” Pot au Feu garnered more than 16K votes from 19 countries. The restaurateur known for slicing the top off a bottle of champagne with a saber notes that all funds will go directly to payroll “to keep our amazing staff working.” - Elyse Major