Your October Food News: Southern Food on Fed Hill, Specialty Ice Cream & Gracie's TeamShare Model

The latest in Providence dining

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Saje Kitchen’s spin on southern Americana cuisine

A recent addition to Federal Hill, Saje Kitchen serves up New American cuisine infused with a southern influence and hospitality to match. Owners Jessica Wilkin and Ethan Jaffe, who spent some time in North Carolina before settling in Providence, knew they wanted to open up their restaurant on the lively and historic stretch of Atwells. With a vision of crafting top-notch entrees and cocktails in a chic yet unpretentious setting, Jaffe explains, “Saje Kitchen is a place where anyone can come in, feel relaxed, feel well taken care of, and enjoy their time.”

Hams from Virginia, grits from South Carolina, Love Point oysters from Maine, and seasonings from Tennessee create a menu that runs the gamut of Americana. “Southern food actually works really well in conjunction with the local seafood and produce in the area,” Jaffe explains. “We’re able to take these authentic ingredients and create dishes that work with our local purveyors.” Favorites include Dirty Crab Rice, with blue crab and egg yolk, and Chicken and Waffles starring a bourbon barrel-aged brown sage butter. Plexiglass dividers, frequent cleaning, and other measures ensure a safe and leisurely dining experience. 

 

Specialty ice cream by the pint or paleta

Miss Naomi’s Ice Cream blossomed out of lockdown as owner Yojaida Heredia revisited an idea she had earlier in the year to start her own business. It seemed like too big of a lift at the time – “But the world shifted,” she explains, “a lot happened, and spending time at home made me realize my passion for ice cream, Providence, and my grandmother being appreciated while she’s here.” Named after her grandmother, and inspired by Heredia’s Afro-Latina upbringing, Miss Naomi’s is a pop-up ice cream purveyor featuring fruity paletas, or Hispanic-style popsicles, and rich ice cream flavors developed and created from scratch. Along with Cafe con Leche – “a Bustelo coffee ice cream with toasted Maria cookies” – and a vegan horchata flavor featuring rice milk, Heredia offers the creamsicle-like Morir Soñando, which means “to die dreaming” in English.

Miss Naomi’s Ice Cream debuted at the Dean Market this summer during Open Air Saturdays. More pop-up plans are in the works and announced on Instagram, along with new paleta flavors, collabs with local businesses, and giveaways. @MissNaomisIceCream

 

Gracie’s returns with new TeamShare service model

Gracie’s reopened in August to serve up their classic seasonally curated dishes both indoors and on a new outdoor patio, but not without first re-examining safety protocols and their service model in this post-COVID-19 era. Director of Operations Alan Freudeman explains, “When we started to reimagine the dining experience at Gracie’s, we also felt it was essential to look inward and reimagine the working experience for our team of dedicated professionals.”

The TeamShare initiative is a more sustainable and equitable model that replaces the standard practice of tipping with a 20 percent service charge added onto all checks, which is distributed to the team in the form of consistent wages and benefits. This means team members won’t have to suffer any loss of income when taking paid sick leave, avoiding the difficult position of having to choose between wages and health. “Every member of our professional team, from dishwashers to cooks to servers, plays a part in ensuring an outstanding guest experience,” says Freudeman. “This model rewards everyone for their hard work and dedication.” 

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