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The 9 Hottest New Restaurants in Providence, Rhode Island

Where to find smoky brisket, spicy Korean fried chicken, and beet-flavored bagels

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For the first time, Eater heads to Providence, Rhode Island, to check in on nine dining and drinking destinations that have been garnering some serious buzz. And for this initial installation, Providence-based writer Molly Birnbaum has kindly offered up her picks for the hottest restaurants of the past 12 months.

Among her selections: stylish Greek cuisine (Kleos), a beer hall modeled after a traditional Munich biergarten (Bayberry Beer Hall), spicy Korean fried chicken (Den Den Korean Fried Chicken), and a bagel shop worth waiting in line for (Rebelle Artisan Bagels). Also on Providence’s radar: North, one of the best restaurants in New England, is moving to new downtown digs later this month.

Here now, and in geographic order, the Eater Heatmap to Providence:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Rebelle Artisan Bagels

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110 Doyle Ave
Providence, RI 02906

This East Side bakery — where bagels are displayed on long wooden pegs behind the counter — began as a pop-up but moved to a brick-and-mortar storefront this summer, filling a bagel-sized hole in Providence’s food offerings. Bagels flavors range from pumpernickel to beet, and cream cheese offerings include kimchi and strawberry. Rebelle uses King Arthur flour and both hand rolls and cold ferments its bagels. Pro tip: Bagels often sell out before closing time, so get there early.

Bagels at Rebelle
Photo: Facebook / Rebelle Artisan Bagels

2. Durk's Bar-B-Q

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275 Thayer St
Providence, RI 02906
(401) 351-2807
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Good barbecue and the Brown University thoroughfare Thayer Street didn’t seem like the perfect match. But then Steve Durkee, owner of the Downcity cocktail bar the Eddy, teamed up with menu consultant Jake Rojas, chef and owner of Tallulah’s Taqueria, and Durk's Bar-B-Q was born. Order on paper and then get a plate of smoky brisket (served either sliced or chopped, fatty, or lean), pulled pork, or pork ribs. Meat sells by the half pound. On the side: mac and cheese, cornbread, coleslaw, or a “Dirty Durk,” a sausage and pulled pork sandwich. Wash it all down with one of the many American whiskeys on offer.

Barbecue at Durk’s Bar-B-Q
Photo: Facebook / Durk's Bar•B•Q

3. Den Den Korean Fried Chicken

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182 Angell St
Providence, RI 02906
(401) 234-9955
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Den Den Fried Chicken opened right off of Thayer Street this spring to a lot of buzz. The buzz came in part because its sister restaurant is Den Den Café Asian, a beloved spot on Benefit Street, but also because Korean fried chicken — prepared with wings and drumsticks double-fried to achieve a very thin, crackly crust — can be addictively good. Den Den’s signature dish comes in two flavors — dark (soy-garlic) and red (spicy). Other menu options include ramen, Korean barbecue, katsu, spicy rice cakes, and sweet-and-sour dumplings. A plus: It’s open every day, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Korean fried chicken at Den Den
Photo Credit: Facebook / Den Den Korean Fried Chicken

4. Knead Doughnuts

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32 Custom House St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 865-6622
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Providence’s latest addition to the artisanal doughnut craze, Knead Doughnuts, opened in Downcity this year, serves (relatively) frill-less gourmet doughnuts in traditional, cake, or brioche varieties. Run by a team of Providence food experts — including Todd Mackey and Bryan Gibb (co-founders of Bolt Coffee) and Adam Lastrina (long-time general manager at Seven Stars) — Knead Doughnuts understands the market: It will deliver doughnuts anywhere downtown.

Doughnuts at Knead
Photo: Facebook / Knead Doughnuts

5. Kleos

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250 Westminster St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 443-4083
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Smack next to Oberlin, the golden child of Providence’s current restaurant circuit, Kleos opened this summer to serve rustic yet stylish Greek food. Run by Lauren Lynch and Tom Bovis, the folks behind Rosalina, a three-year-old Italian restaurant also downtown, Kleos takes on both the burden and privilege of being one of the city’s only Greek restaurants — fitting, as Bovis is from Greece. The high-ceilinged space is filled with earth tones and the food is prepared with ample olive oil, lemon, and feta. The menu is classic, with mezze platters, gyros, moussaka, and Greek lasagna.

Kleos
Photo: Facebook / Kleos

6. The East End

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244 Wickenden St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 433-9770
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The East End, a new gastropub on bustling Wickenden Street, is the perfect place for whiskey lovers near Brown University. In addition to its 300 bottles of whiskeys, the East End offers frequent talks and organized whiskey tastings, like “The Finer Things,” in which participants sample rare tipples from East End’s collection, plus snacks, for $50. The bar inside has a speakeasy vibe, while outside there’s a lush seasonal patio. Both provide a solid venue to enjoy the charcuterie platter, cured in-house.

The East End
Photo: Facebook / The East End

7. Jahunger

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333 Wickenden St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 861-2735
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This understated restaurant, which opened on Wickenden Street this summer, serves food from the northern Uyghur region of China. There are brightly colored pillows on some of the seats, and camels on the wall. The menu features dishes like the Lamb on Dry Land, which mixes cumin-heavy lamb with saucy chunks of naan-like bread, and ding ding noodles, stubby hunks of dough — similar to spaetzle — in a rich and spicy broth. Note: Jahunger does not serve alcohol.

A dish at Jahunger
Photo: Facebook / Jahunger

8. Bayberry Beer Hall

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381 W Fountain St
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 383-9487
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Right down the street from North, North Bakery, and Bucktown restaurants, this new American beer hall with high ceilings and shared tables is in good company over on the West Side. Owners Tom and Natalie Dennen were inspired by the communal feeling of Munich biergartens, and bring to that New England ingredients and brews. Order at the bar and pick up the food at the call of a buzzer, then sample the robust beer list along with a sourdough pretzel and mustard butter — or a Gastros hot dog in a pretzel bun — while sitting in the swinging chairs in the corner.

Dishes at Bayberry Beer Hall
Photo: Facebook / Bayberry Beer Hall

9. Pastaio

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9 Parade St
Providence, RI 02909
(401) 421-1513
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This small pasta spot on the West End is run by partners Adam Baffoni and Bethany Caliaro, both graduates of Johnson and Wales, the culinary school that has brought many talents to the city. Pastaio’s menu is contained and ever-changing, made up of small plates and entrees. Baffoni grew up on his family’s farm in Rhode Island, and brings that local earth-driven ethos to the table. Pastas — tagliatelle with chicken sausage, gnocchi alla romana, chicken liver agnolotti — are the stars. Other hits have included cured fluke and corn risotto topped with a soft-poached egg.

Triangoli at Pastaio
Photo: Facebook / Pastaio

1. Rebelle Artisan Bagels

110 Doyle Ave, Providence, RI 02906
Bagels at Rebelle
Photo: Facebook / Rebelle Artisan Bagels

This East Side bakery — where bagels are displayed on long wooden pegs behind the counter — began as a pop-up but moved to a brick-and-mortar storefront this summer, filling a bagel-sized hole in Providence’s food offerings. Bagels flavors range from pumpernickel to beet, and cream cheese offerings include kimchi and strawberry. Rebelle uses King Arthur flour and both hand rolls and cold ferments its bagels. Pro tip: Bagels often sell out before closing time, so get there early.

110 Doyle Ave
Providence, RI 02906

2. Durk's Bar-B-Q

275 Thayer St, Providence, RI 02906
Barbecue at Durk’s Bar-B-Q
Photo: Facebook / Durk's Bar•B•Q

Good barbecue and the Brown University thoroughfare Thayer Street didn’t seem like the perfect match. But then Steve Durkee, owner of the Downcity cocktail bar the Eddy, teamed up with menu consultant Jake Rojas, chef and owner of Tallulah’s Taqueria, and Durk's Bar-B-Q was born. Order on paper and then get a plate of smoky brisket (served either sliced or chopped, fatty, or lean), pulled pork, or pork ribs. Meat sells by the half pound. On the side: mac and cheese, cornbread, coleslaw, or a “Dirty Durk,” a sausage and pulled pork sandwich. Wash it all down with one of the many American whiskeys on offer.

275 Thayer St
Providence, RI 02906

3. Den Den Korean Fried Chicken

182 Angell St, Providence, RI 02906
Korean fried chicken at Den Den
Photo Credit: Facebook / Den Den Korean Fried Chicken

Den Den Fried Chicken opened right off of Thayer Street this spring to a lot of buzz. The buzz came in part because its sister restaurant is Den Den Café Asian, a beloved spot on Benefit Street, but also because Korean fried chicken — prepared with wings and drumsticks double-fried to achieve a very thin, crackly crust — can be addictively good. Den Den’s signature dish comes in two flavors — dark (soy-garlic) and red (spicy). Other menu options include ramen, Korean barbecue, katsu, spicy rice cakes, and sweet-and-sour dumplings. A plus: It’s open every day, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

182 Angell St
Providence, RI 02906

4. Knead Doughnuts

32 Custom House St, Providence, RI 02903
Doughnuts at Knead
Photo: Facebook / Knead Doughnuts

Providence’s latest addition to the artisanal doughnut craze, Knead Doughnuts, opened in Downcity this year, serves (relatively) frill-less gourmet doughnuts in traditional, cake, or brioche varieties. Run by a team of Providence food experts — including Todd Mackey and Bryan Gibb (co-founders of Bolt Coffee) and Adam Lastrina (long-time general manager at Seven Stars) — Knead Doughnuts understands the market: It will deliver doughnuts anywhere downtown.

32 Custom House St
Providence, RI 02903

5. Kleos

250 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903
Kleos
Photo: Facebook / Kleos

Smack next to Oberlin, the golden child of Providence’s current restaurant circuit, Kleos opened this summer to serve rustic yet stylish Greek food. Run by Lauren Lynch and Tom Bovis, the folks behind Rosalina, a three-year-old Italian restaurant also downtown, Kleos takes on both the burden and privilege of being one of the city’s only Greek restaurants — fitting, as Bovis is from Greece. The high-ceilinged space is filled with earth tones and the food is prepared with ample olive oil, lemon, and feta. The menu is classic, with mezze platters, gyros, moussaka, and Greek lasagna.

250 Westminster St
Providence, RI 02903

6. The East End

244 Wickenden St, Providence, RI 02903
The East End
Photo: Facebook / The East End

The East End, a new gastropub on bustling Wickenden Street, is the perfect place for whiskey lovers near Brown University. In addition to its 300 bottles of whiskeys, the East End offers frequent talks and organized whiskey tastings, like “The Finer Things,” in which participants sample rare tipples from East End’s collection, plus snacks, for $50. The bar inside has a speakeasy vibe, while outside there’s a lush seasonal patio. Both provide a solid venue to enjoy the charcuterie platter, cured in-house.

244 Wickenden St
Providence, RI 02903

7. Jahunger

333 Wickenden St, Providence, RI 02903
A dish at Jahunger
Photo: Facebook / Jahunger

This understated restaurant, which opened on Wickenden Street this summer, serves food from the northern Uyghur region of China. There are brightly colored pillows on some of the seats, and camels on the wall. The menu features dishes like the Lamb on Dry Land, which mixes cumin-heavy lamb with saucy chunks of naan-like bread, and ding ding noodles, stubby hunks of dough — similar to spaetzle — in a rich and spicy broth. Note: Jahunger does not serve alcohol.

333 Wickenden St
Providence, RI 02903

8. Bayberry Beer Hall

381 W Fountain St, Providence, RI 02903
Dishes at Bayberry Beer Hall
Photo: Facebook / Bayberry Beer Hall

Right down the street from North, North Bakery, and Bucktown restaurants, this new American beer hall with high ceilings and shared tables is in good company over on the West Side. Owners Tom and Natalie Dennen were inspired by the communal feeling of Munich biergartens, and bring to that New England ingredients and brews. Order at the bar and pick up the food at the call of a buzzer, then sample the robust beer list along with a sourdough pretzel and mustard butter — or a Gastros hot dog in a pretzel bun — while sitting in the swinging chairs in the corner.

381 W Fountain St
Providence, RI 02903

9. Pastaio

9 Parade St, Providence, RI 02909
Triangoli at Pastaio
Photo: Facebook / Pastaio

This small pasta spot on the West End is run by partners Adam Baffoni and Bethany Caliaro, both graduates of Johnson and Wales, the culinary school that has brought many talents to the city. Pastaio’s menu is contained and ever-changing, made up of small plates and entrees. Baffoni grew up on his family’s farm in Rhode Island, and brings that local earth-driven ethos to the table. Pastas — tagliatelle with chicken sausage, gnocchi alla romana, chicken liver agnolotti — are the stars. Other hits have included cured fluke and corn risotto topped with a soft-poached egg.

9 Parade St
Providence, RI 02909

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