Mew’s Tavern is a long-time favorite of locals in the Wakefield area. They’re famous for their huge tap list of craft beers, their awesome burgers, some fantastic pizza, and the tree in the main dining room. But it doesn’t stop there: there’s comfort food galore coming out of this kitchen, everything from gourmet mac’n’cheese to seafood, sandwiches, and creative appetizers. Have a peek below and head into the kitchen with us in our “South County Sampler” episode.
Tucked away in an unassuming building in a shopping plaza on the outskirts of Westerly is one of the best Italian restaurants in the state of Rhode Island: Casa Della Luce. At the heart of the menu here are delicious pasta dishes using pasta that is hand-made fresh daily in small batches from the finest ingredients possible. There are very few restaurants these days making all their own pasta in-house, but Casa Della Luce is one of them. The house favorite, a cavatelli with sopressata made locally at Westerly Meat Packing gets sauteed broccoli rabe, garlic, olive oil and parmesan, and it is one of the best pasta dishes you will ever have outside of Italy. The texture of the cavatelli is perfect – springy and tender, and the salty-sweetness of the sopressatta (known locally here as “soupy”) perfectly offset the bitterness of the broccoli rabe.
Owner and founding chef, Mark Lacz, also made us a fresh spinach and cheese stuffed ravioli with a decadent sun-dried tomato and cheese sauce, topped off with toasted pine nuts, that was just out of this world, bursting with flavor and savory richness.
In addition to the pasta dishes, Casa Della Luce is home to some of the best NY style pizza and calzones anywhere, with wildly creative varieties like taco and cheeseburger pizzas that attract a rabid local following.
The menu varies seasonally, and also features other dishes like steaks, fried fish and chips on Fridays, and a clam chowder topped with clam cakes that is delicous. This is Rhode Island, after all. Do yourself a favor and head on down to Casa Della Luce for some amazing, hand-made Italian food in a cozy, friendly space. And don’t miss our upcoming “South County Sampler” episode where we’ll feature Casa Della Luce plus other local gems.
For more info go to: casadellaluce.net
George’s of Galilee has one foot in the past, and another in the future. The Durfee family, which has owned and operated this spot since the 1940’s, can trace their local heritage, and even some family recipes, back to the 1600’s. For years George’s has been one of the most iconic seafood restaurants in the Ocean State, serving up authentic clam cakes, classic Rhode Island clear-broth chowder, and fresh seafood sourced directly from the fishing docks just steps from the restaurant. And today, George’s continues to set the standard for quality seafood by making a big push towards utilizing local, sustainable fish species such as skate, sea robin, and scup.
A few minutes from Charlestown Beach is the Breachway Grill, one South County’s favorite local restaurants and watering holes. They take their food very seriously at the Breachway, and all ingredients are sourced with a great deal of thought and care. Originally founded on their signature fish tacos, which are now legendary amongst locals, they expanded the menu to include everything from fish and chips to gorgeous pasta dishes and some of the very best New York style pizza we’ve tasted. This is the social epicenter of Charlestown, in Rhode Island’s laid-back southern side of South County, and when you come here it’s as much for the company as it is for the food. Both are excellent.
The Matunuck Oyster bar is one of the most popular spots in all of Rhode Island. Founder and owner Perry Raso has created an amazingly ambitious operation that combines an oyster and shellfish farm with a full-service restaurant and two terrestrial farms for the ultimate pond-and-farm-to-table experience. Part three from our episode, The Oyster Renaissance, on our Rhode Island PBS series A Taste of Rhode Island.
For more info go to: rhodyoysters.com
One of Rhode Island’s best kept “secrets” isn’t really a secret at all, but one of the state’s top culinary destinations. Nestled in the woods of Charlestown, the Nordic Lodge has been rated one of the top ten seafood buffets in the world by the Huffington Post. People flock here from all over the U.S. to indulge in all-you-can eat lobsters, crab legs, steak, and almost every kind of seafood you can imagine. Plus lots of world-class oysters from Watch Hill Oyster farm, just down the road and delivered fresh daily, straight from the salt pond. Family owned and operated by the Perssons, the Nordic Lodge is an epic, must-experience dining event when you’re in the mood for some serious food! Check out some of the offerings in the video above as we taste everything we can! Part of our “Oyster Renaissance” episode.
For more info go to: www.nordiclodge.com
In the 1700’s and early 1800’s, Rhode Island, specifically Narragansett Bay, was one of the most productive oyster fisheries on the planet, and fishing and aquaculture drove much of the local economy. But the arrival of the industrial revolution and the mill and textile industries situated on waterways that led into the bay created massive amounts of toxic runoff that wiped out the oyster and fishing industries. But years of diligent clean-up strategies have restored much of the bay, and Rhode Island, with a big push from URI’s aquaculture program, is once again leading the country in aquaculture. Oyster farming is the star attraction, with farms established in various locations around Narraganset Bay, and also in the salt ponds along the shores of South County.
Jeff Gardner established Watch Hill Oysters over twenty-five years ago, on Winnapaug Pond just outside of Westerly. He is one of the fathers of modern Rhode Island aquaculture, and his oysters are sought after the world over. In addition to being a wonderful character, Jeff is a wellspring of knowledge and experience. We spend a day with his hard-working crew and learn all about oyster farming and oysters, and what makes Watch Hill oysters unique. After harvest, we’ll follow the oysters to the world-famous Nordic Lodge, just up the road in Charlestown.
Go to Watch Hill Oyster’s website: www.watchhilloysters.net