Your August Food News: Spanish Pastries, Inventive Tacos & Brand-New Brewery

The latest in Providence dining

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While lockdown has many of us pining to travel abroad again, a little storefront in Wayland Square has plans to satisfy that wanderlust. This month husband and wife Sergio Mendoza and Hercilia Corona will open Madrid European Bakery & Patisserie. Corona explains that their goal is for visitors to feel transported “to the bakeries in Madrid that Sergio grew up with and where he learned everything he knows about baking and pastry.” Beginning at age nine, Mendoza apprenticed in his father’s bakeries alongside master pastry chefs and later ran his own operations. Today, he upholds age-old traditions and artisanal baking methods right here in Providence.

“Our approach is simple,” says Corona, “to do things the right way – zero junk, zero short cuts.” An open concept kitchen will allow folks to witness these methods firsthand, whether it’s laminating croissants or caramelizing creme brulee. Find puff pastry treats, San Marcos cream cakes, and gluten-free almond tortes among their offerings. With community at the core of their vision, Corona hopes Madrid will become a neighborhood staple. 199 Wayland Avenue

There’s a new taqueria in town! It’s reinventing fast-casual cuisine with more $3 taco options than you could try in a day (depending on your level of passion for tortilla-wrapped eats). But here’s the thing about Casa Azul: Each dish is also cooked with care and based on family recipes, composed of the rich flavors of Coyoacán, Mexico City. Familia-owned, Javier Soto and Alejandra Ruelas both immigrated from Mexico City and got married in Rhode Island. The couple says, “We came to this beautiful state of ‘Hope’ and soon discovered our love and passion for foodservice.”

Located on Allens Avenue, a short drive away from Roger Williams Park Zoo, Casa Azul combines the skills of a passionate team to offer authentic Mexican dishes, all available for takeout. Burritos, tacos, and bowls come in carne asada, tinga, chorizo, tofu, and other varieties, along with plenty of platter, or platillo, options featuring specialty combos. The owners value creativity and seek to celebrate art and culture in their space: “We didn’t want to create something that felt artificial or stereotypical. Our culture is bright, bold, loud, and delicious, and we wanted a restaurant that made you feel all of that.” 890 Allens Avenue

Two veterans of the beer industry, Jeff Goodno and Bryan Benedict have had their sights set on opening Moniker Brewery in Providence since landing here in 2014. Inspired by the already vibrant food scene and craft brewery niche taking off in the city, the duo wants to join “the exciting craft beer culture that has blossomed in the US in the last 30 years,” according to Benedict – and they each bring years of brewery start-up experience to the task. If you’ve reclined in the verdant greenspace making up Taproot Brewing Co.’s Newport beer garden, you have Goodno to thank in part for his consulting on the build-out.

If all goes as planned, you can be knocking back a cold one in their beer garden on West Fountain Street as early as this month, just in time to beat the heat. Their goal is simple: to produce beer of uncompromising quality. While the taproom promises plenty of lively congregation over hops and shop talk in the future, their large patio space is perfect for sipping and social distancing, with pop-ups from local food vendors in the works for all your snacking needs. 432 West Fountain Street

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