Just a bridge or a ferry trip away from Newport is a burgeoning culinary destination on the bay – that’s right, we’re talking about Jamestown. After spending a day that turned into night at this underrated coastal town, we found an abundance of options to get your foodie fix. Here’s a taste of the date night adventure we elected.
First stop was the Village Hearth Bakery & Cafe. The amazing wife-and-wife duo Stephanie and Lindsay Haigh are the owners and operators of this cute bistro, and they ooze passion about what they do. Scratch-made pastries, breads, sandwiches, and more, as well as local organic coffee from Dean’s Beans, are all created and curated with the utmost care.
One step onto the ethereal property and we were immediately drawn to its charm. Secluded outdoor seating underneath a canopy of trees makes for the perfect intimate getaway, or a beautiful deck filled with private and communal seating options is perfect for friend groups. All of this is complemented by the aroma of fresh-baked goods and coffee filling the air. We dined on a couple of delicious bites: avocado on multigrain toast with all the garnishes and a breakfast sandwich with thick-cut bacon on a sweet Portuguese muffin. Then we grabbed some sweets and headed to Beavertail Lighthouse for a stroll, taking in the views of stunning Narragansett Bay.
After working up our lunchtime appetite, we settled into a cozy table at Narragansett Cafe. Known locally as “The Ganny,” this spot has been a Conanicut Island staple since 1946 for quality pub fare, live music, a relaxed atmosphere, and staff that make you feel as though you’re family.
When Cecelia Verta and Joseph Colon (both now in their 70s) learned that the downtown landmark was up for sale at the end of 2020, they were afraid that Jamestown wouldn’t quite be the same without it. They set out to purchase the establishment with the sole purpose of “keeping things the way they are,” they share, and to ensure there’s always “a safe place where locals can come to eat, drink, and mingle.”
Our favorite eats on the menu were the fish ‘n chips with homemade tartar sauce, gigantic clam cakes, and crispy onion rings. We made a promise to each other that we would come back for the live music they feature weekly (with no cover charges, ever).
Strolling through downtown Jamestown is a treat in itself; souvenir shops, housewares, and art galleries are all on hand. After a bit of shopping and watching the many sailboats in the harbor, we sauntered over for an early dinner at Beech, just steps away from The Ganny.
Beech is a newcomer to Jamestown’s eclectic dining scene and aims to be an all-seasons gathering place built around a 150-year-old beech tree. If you’re familiar with the former Simpatico, the location is now the home of Beech, where you can find several romantic dining areas, including a lively outdoor bar and rooftop nicknamed “The Treehouse.”
Operating partner Kevin Gaudreau and executive chef Eric Warren do a terrific job of showcasing the unique terroir of the region by using locally sourced produce and seafood to create imaginative yet familiar dishes.
Because of the newness of Beech (we were lucky enough to be their first seated guests), we wanted to sample as much as possible. Highlights include the crispy fried Brussels sprouts with a green onion aioli and chili peppers; toasted clams with parmesan, oregano, and butter; and George’s Bank scallops with a lemon beurre blanc – we can’t stop thinking about this exquisite coastal risotto dish.
A return trip to Jamestown may have to include a couple of repeat visits, but thankfully for us, there’s even more to explore along Narragansett Avenue that a single day out couldn’t contain.
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