This is our 16th edition of all things Best. In the first outing, we noted that "within every neighborhood there are hundreds of Bests: vibrant centers that rival any for their bustle, commerce, and visual riot; tiny shops that have persevered for decades. Paying tribute to them is no small endeavor." It is our honor to continue that tradition on these pages. First the editors offer a few recommendations; on page 10, we turn it over to the real experts — you, dear readers. We tallied your votes for your favorite people, places, and things in 135 categories. Now get out there and enjoy the very Best.
PERFECT PIZZA ROLLS Arie Bates at Borrelli's Bakery. [Photo by Richard McCaffrey]
FOOD & DRINK
BEST TWISTS ON PIZZA
Every year we give props to some of our local favorite I-talian bakeries (shoutouts to Buono's, Crugnale, Calise, et al.), and this time we're spotlighting the delectable pizza strips from DIVOZZI'S and BORRELLI'S insanely addictive pizza rolls. DiVozzi's opened a third location in the heart of Little Portugal (aka West Warwick) last summer and business is booming thanks to crusty loaves of Sicilian bread, tempting sweets, and killer pizza strips (three for just $3.29). The Borelli's in Providence remains a longtime favorite with locals, with racks full of addictive mini-eclairs and cannoli. But their pizza rolls (no, not at all like the frozen Totino's variety) are just too perfect — and just 75 cents each! Pick up a dozen and try the spinach and olive, eggplant, or the carnivorous "Godfather," an Italian grinder packed into a small baked roll. Fantastic!
DiVozzi Italian Bakery, 27 Pike St, West Warwick | 401.826.2253 | divozzibakery.com
Borrelli's Bakery, 805 Charles St, Providence | 401.861.7955
BEST LOBSTUH CLUB
Dining at the CROW'S NEST is worth the wait — trust us. This Warwick landmark has been doing it right since the 1960s, filled with blue-haired beauties rubbing elbows with salty skippers and locals in-the-know. Hang in the lounge for super-friendly service and the best lobster salad in the state, hands down. But wait, it gets better — the Crow's Nest Lobster Club sandwich is a jaw-dropper, and always priced right (around $16 regardless of season). The lobstuh salad preparation is simple and easy on the mayo, served with a heaping pile of fries or slaw. Lobster and bacon, people – 'nuff said.
288 Arnolds Neck Rd, Warwick | 401.732.6575 | crowsnestri.com
BEST REGAL EATS IN RUMFORD
Rumford residents Nick Rabar and wife Tracy have a hit on their hands with AVENUE N AMERICAN KITCHEN, located in the revamped Rumford Center (former home to the famous baking powder). Nick is a familiar name around these parts, the renowned chef/entrepreneur/author and host of his own show on Cox, Nick Rabar Chef 2 Go. Bring some friends to Avenue N, for there are far too many apps to tempt the palate, like plump fried oysters, lamb sliders, and the Rabars' gastropub spin on a childhood classic — hand-battered corn dogs with mac & cheese. Stellar entrees include swordfish with whole wheat spaetzle and a fork-tender, molasses-brined bone-in pork chop. As for Sunday brunch, we're talking the best steak and eggs around, and Avenue N's signature burger (topped with an optional fried egg) is untouchable. Full bar (including Allagash on tap) with signature cocktails, too.
20 Newman Ave, Rumford | 401.270.2836 | avenuenrestaurant.com
BEST CHICKEN SOUP — FUGGEDABOUTIT!
There are many reasons to become a regular at MACERA'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT, like lunchtime grinders served on Buono's crusty bread, consistently perfect calamari, chicken Marsala to die for, and so much more. But they're best-known for their soup and sauce — "always ready to go!!" as their website proclaims. The chicken escarole soup keeps the small take-out counter jam-packed. Pick it up hot or cold by the gallon (bring your own container and save $1). Macera's is tucked behind a small strip plaza in Cranston —in Vo Dilunese, "It's right next to Mustang Sally's and across from the Bob's Store plaza."
1500 Oaklawn Ave, Cranston | 401.463.5303 | macerarestaurant.com
BEST (AND BOLDEST) DINING ADVENTURE
north is a dining adventure, to say the least, with a focus on an insanely eclectic array of dishes. Prepare for an international culinary jaunt courtesy of chefs John Chester, Tim Shulga, and James Mark (who has worked in renowned kitchens Momofuku and Nick's On Broadway). Wedge your way into the six-person bar area and snack on sea bream and savory country ham rolls with Korean mayo, or bring some friends and knock down one of their "north Feasts," including a fried chicken platter (with feet) or spicy rock crabs. And try the fried chicken and waffle sandwich or "Korean Hangover Stew" during Sunday brunch.
3 Luongo Memorial Sq, Providence | 401.421.1100 | foodbynorth.com
BEST CORNED BEEF HASH OMELET
West Warwick gets no love from us RIers in general, and that's why we are giving CLYDE'S HUNGRY HORSE a shout here. While many WW folks wait in line for a table at AJ's every weekend, some of us would rather drop in to Clyde's (formerly Papa's Place) and crush their king-sized corned beef hash omelet, made from scratch, of course. Add a homemade slab of grilled cornbread on the side. Plenty of parking in back. Clyde's is open daily at 7 am.
943 Main St, West Warwick | 401.615.7176