Your January Food News

A tiny bar's big debut, Caspian replaces Cafe Zog, and new pop-up restaurants


Looking to get cozy with some adult beverages? Say hello to Tiny Bar, the intimate, upscale jewel-box bar that opened late November, smack-dab in the middle of the Jewelry District next to Olga’s Cup & Saucer. “The little building had been used for storage…once it was empty, we decided to open a bar!” explains owner Joanne Chang. “It’s a completely separate business from Olga’s, a completely different look, feel, and vibe.”

The interior is airy and feminine, with large painted florals as an “homage to the beautiful patio we share with Olga’s” says Joanna. “We’re very grateful to have this urban oasis and wanted to hew closely to the nature we were gifted with.” They also partner with The Avenue Concept for a rotating mural on the south exterior, the current design done by artist Vespia1, and feature the handiwork of Providence Painted Signs. Tiny Bar serves classics with a twist, like an Autumn Mule, Double Oaked Sour, Black Cherry Hatten, and French Negroni. -Chuck Staton

“Come visit the ‘Omelet House of Wickenden!’” Turan Abgarmi, owner of Caspian, says with enthusiasm and a touch of pride. “Our eggs have the best flavor.”

Turan and his wife, Feredh, took ownership of Café Zog in the summer of 2018, but after six months of sticking with the same name, they decided to begin with a clean slate. They renamed their restaurant after the Caspian Sea, where they both grew up, and transformed the space from a café to a real restaurant. Turan bought new equipment for the kitchen – including a grill – and now they serve breakfast and lunch all day. Craving a gyro or falafel wrap? These are authentic. French toast and a smoothie? Caspian has that, too. But Turan is most proud of his omelets, which are made with local eggs and fresh vegetables – the Greek and the Corned Beef Hash omelets are two of the best sellers.

“Slowly, families are starting to come,” Turan says. “They say, ‘The food is really delicious, I’ll be back!’” -Jenny Currier

Vinya Test Kitchen is an incubator kitchen for up-and-coming chefs in Providence and specializes in small, private dinners for unique culinary concepts. Chef Massimiliano Mariotta, culinary mastermind behind Vinya, tells us about two pop-ups that debuted in the latter half of 2019.

The first is Twelve Plants, conceptualized by Chef Peter Carvelli. Mariotta tells us that Carvelli had the idea for the entirely plant-based tasting menu, “so we took it on and gave him space.” Dishes include a chickpea panisse, a honeynut squash, sage, cranberry, and pecan tortelloni, and a barbecue maple-roasted carrot with carrot crumble, puree, and pesto.

The second pop-up is Lagotto, an “immersive truffle experience,” serving an eight-course dinner focused around black and white truffles. “Lagotto is the name of a dog breed used to find truffles,” Marriotta explains. Their dinner includes a scallop crudo with truffle celery sauces, a sous-vide cod with celery, tapioca, and truffle, and even the Italian dessert Zabaione with truffle honey-gelato.  -Chuck Staton


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