Restaurateur Callum McLaughlin and his family traded NYC for Rhode Island when COVID hit. “We arrived for spring break with the kids and never left,” he says, only half joking. Now rooted in the state, he recently opened Cabana in the old Salvation Cafe space in Newport.
One of the partners behind NYC’s celebrated Lower East Side restaurant Grey Lady, named for Nantucket, McLaughlin admits to a bit of a fetish for island-style eateries. Cabana is Caribbean themed with a New England beach bar twist. He’s kept Salvation’s team intact, but the menu is all new, with island flavors like Jerk chicken and vegetable curry nestled beside reinvigorated classics like a lobster BLT (served on thick slices of toasted sourdough) and an old-school smash burger. The vibe extends to the cocktails, which are inspired by beach bars McLaughlin’s visited across the world. New England brews fill the taps. 140 Broadway, CabanaNewport.com
An upscale New Orleans-style speakeasy above Wally’s Wieners? According to Wally’s owner Bradley Head, the juxtaposition of a hot dog or burger with a high-end cocktail was a concept too delicious to pass up. “The plan was always to open a speakeasy or lounge,” Head says. But with the configuration of Wally’s Thames Street spot – namely, its second floor – the opportunity to open The Copper Club presented itself.
The menu features classic cocktails from old-school NOLA spots like Galatoire's or Commander’s Palace. The bourbon-heavy offerings include Milk Punch, Sazerac, and the Vieux Carré. The atmosphere in the intimate 30-seat, two-room lounge is classic speakeasy. Red velvet-covered banquettes fill one room while the dark wood bar with its copper backsplash welcomes revelers in front. The full Wally’s menu – including the beer, wine, and cocktails served downstairs – is available. Head says it’s also available for private events. 464 Thames Street, CopperClubNPT.com
The relocation of Yagi Noodles from Thames Street to Long Wharf Mall was unexpected but fortuitous. With double the square footage, co-owner and chef Basil Yu and his partner Kodi Keith can flex their culinary muscles and stretch their imaginations. “We’re combining two units,” explains Yu, enabling them to expand their kitchen and storage areas, have a larger dining room, and add a boba-focused cafe, not to mention oodles of outdoor dining space.
Yu sounds most excited about installing a noodle room, a 10x10-foot former office that’s being repurposed into a low hydration space where customers can watch the noodle making process. The humidity-controlled chamber is also perfect for making Asian-inspired desserts to serve at the cafe. Although the new space doesn’t come with a liquor license, they plan on continuing their robust spirit-free beverage program. “There’s a lot of fun possibilities,” the chef teases. 20 Long Wharf Mall, YagiNoodles.com
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