Food News: Specialty Market in Middletown, New Warren Restaurant & St. Joseph's Day Desserts

The latest in East Bay dining

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Specialty market to feature Rhody restaurant faves

The Newport Restaurant Group will venture into prepared foods this summer with Foodlove, a specialty market in Middletown, to meet the demands of an ever-evolving COVID-era hospitality landscape. “The menu will feature a wide variety of offerings, from soups and sandwiches to satisfying meals to put on the family table at the end of a long day, and all of the components you can think of to throw a great dinner party,” says Karsten Hart, director of restaurants for NRG. The concept for an upscale market has been in the works for a while, but now, with the help of an outside investor and designed by East Greenwich firm McGeorge Architects, it will be a reality.

Along with grocery staples and standard made-to-order fare like pasta, paninis, and rotisserie chickens, find favorites from NRG restaurants all in one place: Avvio’s Chicken Parmesan, Trio meatballs with polenta and tomato sauce, and Boat House Shrimp Scampi – even heat up Mooring’s beloved clam chowder at home and grab a sandwich made on Seven Stars Bakery bread. Middletown

 

New Warren joint all about friendly vibes and fun eats

Changes are coming to 40 Market Street, the former home of Eli’s Kitchen. Chef Eli Dunn is leaning into a new catering venture and passing the torch to chef Sam Duling and Joanna Ray who will be opening Hunky Dory in his former Warren digs. While the duo envisions a new menu, fans of Eli’s Kitchen can expect some similarities, including the warm, inviting atmosphere and streamlined approach to takeout, which Duling worked with Dunn to develop before this latest transition. “It’s a really intense time to start a restaurant,” Ray admits, “but the community here is amazing and the space itself provides a lot of room for flexibility to adjust for service during a pandemic.”

In the short term, expect plenty of comfort food that transports well, like veggie-forward grain salads, soups, and baguette sandwiches. Duling brings his southern Appalachian upbringing, plus high-quality local ingredients, to a menu that’s fun and accessible. Says Ray, “If we can provide some upbeat music, friendly faces, fun cocktails (obviously), and delicious snacks, then we’ll be happy.” Warren

 

St. Joseph’s Day desserts with a French twist

March means zeppole season for those honoring Saint Joseph on the 19th, or for anyone with a sweet tooth for pâte à choux. Traditional Rhode Island versions of the cream-filled pastry usually feature a cherry on top, but The French Confection takes it a step further with flavors for all tastes. On the menu this season are vanilla, chocolate, Grand Marnier (a French orange liqueur), raspberry, mocha, and lemon zeppole.

We know what you’re thinking: Aren’t zeppole Italian? Chef Xaxier Mauprivez, a fifth-generation French baker, honors the original but takes some creative liberties, too. “I put a French impression on mine,” Mauprivez explains. “I use puff paste (cream puff dough), diplomat cream, and fresh whipped cream.” Topped with a dusting of sugar, the result is decadent Italian donut that also feels right at home among a display case of eclairs, croissants, and cream puffs. Find Mauprivez’s zeppole now through Easter, and watch for Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s day and hot cross buns twice a week through lent, too. Middletown

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