Unknowing passersby often overlook the inconspicuous entrance to Vanity due to its clever—albeit anachronistic—disguise as a telephone booth. A tribute to the profusion of speakeasy clubs that popped up in the Prohibition era, Vanity decorates its posh interior with black-and-white photos, vintage-inspired décor, and coat racks that look suspiciously like undercover cops.
However backwards-looking the décor, the menu reflects ultra-contemporary tastes with its mix of New American and Italian flavors. A selection of starters—aptly named "temptations"—include Italian eggrolls stuffed with shaved cold cuts, and "Vanity plates" include such colorful dishes as the Double Cross Delmonico rib-eye steak. Like any respectable speakeasy, Vanity features a lengthy drink menu with elderflower-flavored cocktails, sugar-rimmed martinis, and gin and tonics garnished with fresh eviction notices.
Providence Pizza Company's dough czars concoct specialty and traditional pizzas, in addition to an array of sandwiches, calzones, pasta, and salads. Snag a bubbling slice of Bianca, a cheesy mix of ricotta, feta, mozzarella, and fresh garlic, or the Dorito pizza, a ranch-sauce-slathered pie topped with tomato, hot peppers, onions, olives, and Doritos. All specialty pizzas are available in 12-inch or 18-inch rounds ($9.99, $16.99), and pizza DIYers can amalgamate up to three of Providence's 20 toppings atop either size of dough disk (12" $7.50, 18" 12.75; additional toppings $1 each).
The staff members at Amore Espresso Gelato Bar craft 20 different flavors of their signature gelato and sorbetto fresh each day. They make each small batch with local farm fresh milk from Wrights Dairy Farm and natural, preservative-free ingredients imported from Italy. Flavors include amaretto, cake batter, nutella, and wildflower honey.
The ingredient architects at Bienvenida's Latin Grill sculpt a menu of authentic Latin American cuisine that includes sandwiches, mofongo, and grilled pizzas. Diners sink fangs into succulent grilled chicken breast accessorized with peppers and onions ($9), and fork tines become a glinting blur as the shovel up mouthfuls of shrimp mofongo ($20) with garlic sofrito and fried plantains, which chefs grind with a pestle and mortar instead of pressing them through a screen door. The pulled-pork pizza divides into saucy sectors ($7), and the island burger's seasoned pork and beef patties send signal flares to taste buds with guacamole, marinated onions, and house sauce on toasted sourdough bread ($7). Vegetarians can also get their eat on with grilled vegetable quesadillas ($7) chaperoned by beans, sour cream, guac, house salsa, and at least one burly cousin.
Outside, gaslight-style lamps and the gilded lettering spelling out Mile & a Quarter Restaurant recall an old English pub; inside, the eatery has a 1940s vibe. Tiffany-style pendant lighting hovers over tables surrounded by deep leather seating. Dark-wood wainscoting beneath exposed-brick walls give the space a warm feel as diners gather to break bread over classic American food. Marinara sauce is crafted in-house and ladled over veal and chicken parmigiano, while roasted chicken rests in natural au jus. The paella dish draws together a sea-faring party including clams, mussels, and shrimp tossed in rice simmered in a seafood broth.