Food News: PYO Berries in Middletown, Pride Pop-Tarts in Warren & The Reef Relaunch

The latest in East Bay dining


It’s PYO time at Sweet Berry Farm

With expanded strawberry fields and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, Sweet Berry Farm reopened for the season in late May with baskets full of fresh produce, strawberry scones and jam, swirls of premium soft serve ice cream, and take-home gourmet dinner platters all on the menu. The post-and-beam market and cafe features fruits and vegetables straight from the farm, supplemented with dairy, pantry, and other products sourced from local businesses, but if that isn’t close enough to the field for you, the pick-your-own season begins mid-June with strawberries, followed by raspberries and blueberries in July.  

“Our baker, Evelyn, is back this season and will be creating her signature floral cakes and cupcakes,” says co-owner Michelle Eckhart. “We love making celebration cakes here at Sweet Berry, but you don’t need an excuse to enjoy one of her freshly made confections.” Middletown


Rainbow pop-tarts in Warren support a LGBTQIA+ cause

To celebrate Pride month, a Warren-based food business all about comfort eats and vegan ingredients is taking the rainbow flag and turning it into a decadent toaster pastry. Though their menu is mostly plant-based burgers, “chicky” sandwiches, and tater tots, Basil & Bunny has become known for their MMMBop-Tarts, a spin on Kellog’s Pop-Tarts but with natural ingredients and fresh fruit filling like pineapple, mango, and blueberry or chocolate chip cookie dough and brownie Oreo. 

Last year’s Pride special featured strawberries from Four Town Farm for the filling, vanilla icing in rainbow stripes, and sprinkles, all naturally colored. “We’re going to be doing the same thing this year since last year was a big hit and we had so many customers miss out on it,” explains owner Lyslie Medeiros, “and we’ll be donating 10 percent of sales again to RI Pride.” This limited-edition pastry will go fast, so keep an eye out for the Bunny Mobile the last weekend of June, coinciding with Newport Pride, and preorder online. 


Waterfront restaurant in Newport enjoys a culinary relaunch

A familiar pandemic story, Robert and Leslie Flaxman had big plans for their new restaurant on 10 Howard Wharf in Newport when lockdown ground things to a halt. Closing shortly after their soft opening and taking the year to renovate the interior and refresh their menu, The Reef has officially relaunched with a culinary program headed by Jon LoPresti, whose resume of Newport dining includes chef de cuisine at Stoneacre Brasserie and executive sous chef at The Grill at Forty 1° North.

Taking cues from the waterfront views surrounding the dockside restaurant, along with international flavors, the menu is inspired by Robert’s affinity for boating and the travels of sailors to ports around the world. Classic lobster rolls and New England clam chowder are interspersed with elevated dishes like seafood bouillabaisse, empanadas, and chickpea fries. Guests can enjoy three distinct dining areas with coastal sensibilities or eat outside on a lively patio among palm trees with a summer sipper in hand and calamari for the table. The Reef is now open seven days a week. 


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