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A new Spanish tapas bar coming to downtown Providence, and more food notes

Plus, chef Nikhil Naiker, formerly of Fortnight Wine Bar, is wrapping up his pop-up dinner series at Bolt Coffee where he’s serving Rhode Island bounty with Fijian Indian flavors

An experimental dish of smoked barbacoa beef cheek in its own jus created by Chef Jonathon Kirk.Jonathon Kirk

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Since 2021, Masa Taqueria has been fulfilling all of Providence’s birria taco (and birria ramen and birria bao) needs out of a food truck and Federal Hill’s Rock & Rye bar. Finally, owner Jonathon Kirk has found a spot for his first brick and mortar: the former Rosendale space (which closed last year) on the side of The Strand Theatre in downtown Providence.


He’s planning a modern Barcelona-style tapas restaurant with a raw bar for small plates. The beverage program will focus on draft cocktails and wines from Spain and South America. They’re planning to stay open until 1 a.m. during the week and until 2 a.m. on the weekends. The restaurant’s name is still up for debate, but Kirk tells me the food truck will remain under the Masa brand. Construction is starting soon, but he’s starting to fundraise $100,000 from interested investors on Mainvest over the next two months.

An experimental dish of Tuna Toro with celery, horseradish, cucumber, EVOO, sea salt and lemon by Chef Jonathon Kirk.Jonathon Kirk

Here’s what else you should know in food this week.

🐟 A must-attend pop-up: Formerly of the now-shuttered Fortnight Wine Bar, chef Nikhil Naiker has long explored the intersection of Rhode Island bounty and Fijian Indian flavors. For the last several months, he has taken his talents around New England to host pop-ups and collaborate with other restaurants. Through the end of the month, on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Naiker is cooking composed “tropical New England” small plates at a pop-up at Bolt Coffee on Washington Street in Providence. This weekend, his menu includes dishes such as the raw tuna salad with a watermelon dressing and fennel; a pan-roasted blue fin with masala-marinated tomatoes, and peppers; and sweet, spicy and crunchy bhooja. His last night at Bolt is Aug. 26. Stay tuned to his Instagram for updates.


A dish of spicy and charred squid with cucumbers, yogurt, lemon, and zucchini achaar prepared by chef Nikhil Naiker.Nikhil Naiker

🫖 Coming soon: Amber Jackson, the owner of The Black Leaf Tea & Culture Shop, is planning her first brick-and-mortar shop in Providence. She’s been posting construction updates on her Instagram.

🦪 A move: The crew at Oberlin is officially moving out of their long-loved space at 186 Union St. in Providence. But don’t fret: They are moving across the street over the next month. For now, check out their sister restaurant, Gift Horse.

Chef Benjamin Sukle at a table inside Oberlin with staff members: Gift Horse's Chef Sky Haneul Kim (center), Oberlin's Chef Chris Pfail (right rear) and Mina Bahadory. DebeeTlumacki

🍇 Calling all wine lovers: The Ocean House Collection restaurant group (Coast, The Restaurant at the Weekapaug Inn) has tapped Matthew MacCartney as its new wine director for all of its Rhode Island-based resorts. MacCartney previously worked at Gramercy Tavern and Daniel in Manhattan. He originally moved to Rhode Island in 2011 and was the co-owner of Jamestown Fish before it closed in 2019.

🍷 Speaking of vino: Wine Spectator honored 18 restaurants in Rhode Island for their wine lists. See the full list here.

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