Providence’s Jewelry District is slowly becoming a more active, vibrant neighborhood. One mark of this change is the The Village, a restaurant and club that has been keeping Richmond Street fed and entertained Wednesdays through Sundays.
I kept hearing positive reactions about this place. Some who worked in nearby offices went for lunch, others were enthusiastic weekend brunch fans, and a few were regulars at karaoke or club nights. It’s rare for a single spot to be praised on so many fronts, so I knew it was time to visit.
On this brunch trip, my husband and I arrived early. It might be rude to start sipping a beverage before friends arrive, but we couldn’t delay after our waiter’s description of The Village’s signature twist on a Bloody Mary, called a Hot Flash ($9). It’s a tequila-spiked concoction with muddled cilantro, Sriracha and pickled pepper slices. When our friends sat down a few minutes later, they had a more sober wakeup with some large iced coffees ($2).
As its name hints, The Village is a LGBT-friendly locale, a welcoming place for Providence’s diverse population (and it’s equally welcoming to folks like my husband and me). On our visit, the staff seemed genuinely cordial and cheerful, and the restaurant had a happy vibe.
We might have over-ordered; it’s a good thing The Village has large tables, because we definitely needed the real estate. I had the Eggs and Avocados ($8). Both halves of a ripe avocado were topped with poached eggs, sour cream and homemade salsa. This could have been an impressively healthy brunch had I not added a side of Cheesy Grits ($4). These grits were prepared with cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Perhaps I was born at too northern a latitude to officially judge grits, but as a lover of corn-based food I have ordered them all over the country. I prefer a flavorful, thicker grit dish, and these were totally my type.
My husband and one of our friends both ordered the Chicken and Waffles ($11) with a side of Hash Browns ($3). The fried chicken was served on pieces of Belgian waffle with a scoop of seasoned butter (a.k.a. “YUMM Butter”) and sides of maple bourbon mustard and maple syrup. The breading was well seasoned and although the bony chicken required a bit of work, it provided more flavor than easier-to-eat boneless versions. We also spotted a waffle sandwich version on the menu for those who don’t like fussing. The hash browns were simple but good.
Our other friend tried the Biscuits and Gravy ($5) with a side of ham ($3.50) and a mimosa ($6). The biscuits and gravy are made with a bacon sausage gravy, a burst of salty flavor. The dish was bigger than expected, given its low price and placement under Sides; it would have been even heartier with the addition of eggs ($2).
Based on its success as a night venue, I hadn’t expected the restaurant’s interior to be so attractive and lit just well enough for the brunch crowd to read the menu without aggravating their weekend hangovers. A wall-sized night photo of Providence provides some direction to the modern, minimalist decor.
After such a decadent brunch, there’s an obligation to finish memorably. We ordered a large French Toast Casserole with homemade maple bacon ice cream ($12.50). Lucky for us, this shareable dish came as four pieces topped with two scoops of ice cream and two long slices of crispy bacon. I’m not sure I could tell the difference between French toast casserole and bread pudding, but I wasn’t thinking too deeply as I inhaled my portion of this excellent brunch dessert. If this brunch sounds like it’s up your alley, you can find it on weekends between ten and three.
373 Richmond Street