East Bay Restaurants Get a Retail Boost

Hope & Main’s DishUp RI program helps put dine-in staples on grocery store shelves

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Seeing a need in the restaurant industry to diversify offerings in our post-pandemic world of more time spent in home kitchens and backyard grills, the foodie creatives behind Warren incubator kitchen Hope & Main devised DishUp RI: a program that lets food businesses take their signature sauce or menu item and make it market-ready.  

“Hope & Main assembled a team of experts to provide the technical assistance required to take a product from ideation to the starting line,” explains President and Founder of Hope & Main Lisa Raiola. “This is a complex process. It involves everything from working with a research chef for recipe formulation and scaling to developing packaging and labelling for the product,” not to mention licensing, pricing, and merchandising. 

“Chomp Burger Sauce has been a huge hit,” says Raiola, listing some of the new restaurant-to-retail products the program has teamed up with local eateries to help produce, “and customers are showing up from throughout New England for Cooking Con Omi’s Sofrito.” Since a late-April launch of these goods and a dozen others from restaurants across the state, they’ve been flying off the shelves, with many having already sold out a few times over. 

With a successful first run underway, a second official launch day is planned for September 10 to spotlight these makers, and Raiola looks forward to seeing the program expand, as other restaurants have already inquired about participating. In the meantime, watch Dave’s Fresh Marketplace shelves and the WhatsGood online app for East Bay-based offerings like clam chowder from Black Pearl, Bywater baked goods, Chomp Burger Sauce, wing sauces from Flatwaves Food Shack, marinara from Quito’s Restaurant, and Sauced Kitchen & Provisions (an extension of Newport Playhouse).

 

Cooking Con Omi

Social media influencer and chef Omi Hopper went through the DishUp RI program to bring her sofrito, a traditional Puerto Rican sauce, into RI homes. Hopper shares her Rice & Beans recipe that can go with your protein of choice, like chicken, and you can follow her online for cooking videos. 

 

Puerto Rican Rice & Beans

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil  
  • 1/2 cup Cooking Con Omi Sofrito 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped  
  • 1 (1.41 oz) package sazón
    seasoning with achiote  
  • 1/2 Tbsp adobo seasoning  
  • 2 cups medium-grain white rice 
  • 1 1/2 cups water  
  • 1 (15 ounce) can gandules
    (pigeon peas) OR pink beans  
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro 
 
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized caldero or nonstick pan. 
  2. Stir in Cooking Con Omi Sofrito, garlic, sazon, and adobo.  
  3. Cook for 4-5 minutes, making sure not to burn garlic. Add pigeon peas or pink beans. Add water and bring to a boil. Add your rice and stir.  
  4. Once all liquid has been absorbed and rice looks like it has little holes throughout, reduce heat to low. Cover and leave for 20 more minutes. Add fresh cilantro on top and enjoy! 
 

Chomp Kitchen

If you’ve ever visited Chomp Kitchen in Warren or Providence then you’re familiar with their staple sauce, which you can now purchase by the jar. Slathering Chomp Sauce on a burger is always a good choice, but chef Tanner Larkin shares a fun alternative recipe for this flexible ingredient. 

Chomp Turkey Club

  • 3 pieces of thick-cut sourdough
  • 3-4 pieces of sliced turkey
  • 2 provolone cheese slices
  • 2-4 pieces of bacon
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • Chomp Burger Sauce
  • 2 tomato slices
  • Greenleaf lettuce

Follow this top-to-bottom build for the ultimate double-decker sammie: Slice of sourdough, Chomp Sauce, greenleaf lettuce, tomato, sliced avocado, bacon, Chomp Sauce, slice of sourdough, provolone, turkey, greenleaf lettuce, Chomp Sauce, slice of sourdough

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