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Everyone’s got to eat. When it comes to food and dining, Rhode Island has stories to tell

The state’s food and dining scene touches all of us, from current chefs to former bartenders, tourists to townies, casual consumers to fine-dining aficionados.

After closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sartos reopened in Providence in 2022.MARK STOCKWELL FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

PROVIDENCE — My last day as a bartender was March 15, 2020.

We were in the middle of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but I only had a handful of guests because of the deadly virus that was taking hold in the US.

My manager cashed out my tips early that night, handing me an envelope with less than $40 for eight hours worked. I asked when he thought we’d return and he solemnly, but accurately, predicted that it would be more than the two weeks the state had ordered a shutdown.

I loved bartending. The job paid my rent and allowed me to support myself through college and grad school. Besides, there’s nothing quite like the rush you get on a Friday night when you’re in the weeds, or when an old regular pops in to catch up, or when the drink you concocted lands on the permanent menu. That feeling you get when you and your co-workers are bonding over a round of shift drinks while rolling silverware at 3 a.m., or at a late-night haunt filled with off-duty chefs and waitstaff? Fellow food industry workers, you know what I’m talking about.

As a customer, there’s a similar rush to be found. That perfect bite. A tiny eatery with a boutique menu of dishes they specialize in. A mocktail that feels like a treat. A staff that celebrates with you. That place where they always get your favorite dish just right. Figuring out how to replicate a recipe in your own kitchen. A neighborhood dive where you just feel like you belong. Brand-new concept restaurants, funky fusions, foods that remind you of home.


As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down beloved bars and restaurants throughout the region, we’re reminded that the dining scene in Rhode Island, which punches well above its weight, nourishes our community. The state’s food scene touches all of us, from current chefs to former bartenders, tourists to townies, casual consumers to fine-dining aficionados.


Everyone’s got to eat, but it’s about more than food. Old favorites have closed but new restaurants have opened. Entrepreneurs have rethought what restaurants and bars look like in a post-pandemic economy. Chefs are innovating, and foodies are flocking to them. People are pushing for progress and change — and everyone from industry experts to everyday diners are taking note.

Globe Rhode Island wants to tell the stories of food and dining in Rhode Island that go beyond the quick reviews, the fancy dishes, and the lists of places to visit. We want to examine inequities, discuss sustainability, take readers behind the scenes with chefs and owners. We’re looking for the stories of Rhode Island as told through food — the stories we’re all hungry for.

Welcome to Food & Dining in Rhode Island. We hope you enjoy what we’re cooking up for you.

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Alexa Gagosz can be reached at Follow her @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.