Experience: The Helmway at The Pell in Middletown

A hotel restaurant dishes locally sourced eats for seafood lovers and landlubbers


Just over the Newport border, there’s a coastal oasis in Middletown, tucked away in recently renovated hotel The Pell, with a menu channeling the spirit of the City by the Sea. The open-to-the-public restaurant is a bright and airy space with large comfy leather booths, and Newport-themed accents like polo equipment and antique Newport Jazz Festival posters decorating the walls.

Upon entering The Helmway, my fiance and I agreed that the atmosphere is the perfect place to wind-down in the middle of a crazy week. Before putting in our food orders, I had a Whalers pale ale on draft while he sipped The Gilded Age, a take on the classic Manhattan perfected with a Luxardo cherry. Chef Will Wallbank came by our table to chat about the space and the positive response the restaurant has received since they opened last Fourth of July. He emphasized their focus on local ingredients and suppliers, and how it has made all the difference.

The menu is short and sweet but checks all the boxes for a savory dining experience. For starters, we got in more than our fair share of greens with a Grilled Caesar salad topped with crispy focaccia crumbs, and Fried Brussels Sprouts, which came with a condiment worth its own honorable mention – Old Bay Mayo, lending a little spice. Wallbank sent out an order of the Fish Tacos, which were generously garnished with a fresh shipment of microgreens from West Warwick-based supplier Interstellar.

For our main course, I had the Scallops dish, which is prepared with a no-frills approach, complemented by corn and bacon to add a sweet-and-salty flair. My fiance had the Blackbird Farm Steak, a flat-iron pan-seared steak sourced from Smithfield, towered over a sweet potato and carrot puree with grilled asparagus and a basil butter. The freshness of the produce was undeniable, and left our taste buds feeling energized.

We couldn’t leave without trying at least one dessert, so we shared our server’s suggestion, the Cinnamon Bread Pudding. Topped with French vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect palate cleanser after a delicious and decadent meal.

Despite being East Bay dwellers, Wallbank gave us a tour of the property after dinner. A stay-local visit at The Pell sounded enticing as we were getting ready to leave – and whether you’re a Rhode Islander or tourist, seafood lover or landlubber, The Helmway showcases fresh harvests that make the area special.   


The Helmway at The Pell

425 E Main Road, Middletown




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