Over a plate of fresh Maine lobster that they brought back to the city themselves, husband-and-wife duo Ralph Gorham and Susan Povich wondered aloud, “Why doesn’t someone in New York start a fresh-seafood business?” Their destiny as restaurateurs was realized the moment those words were uttered: they opened Red Hook Lobster Pound a mere six months later. Gorham began traveling to Maine every weekend, scoping out catches and making deals with fisherman, choosing only those that partook in environmentally sustainable practices. Meanwhile, Povich experimented with recipes in order to add to an already lengthy repertoire of lobster-based recipes she learned while growing up in the Northeast. Word of mouth helped spark interest in their eatery, and before long, the demand compelled them to expand their storefront to include a picnic-style dining room. They’ve even added a food truck––nicknamed "Big Red"––that brings lobster-based dishes to diners across the city. According to The New York Times, success has had little effect on Red Hook Lobster Pound’s menu: “It tastes as fresh as can be, which matters when you’re dealing with a trend that’s growing so fast.” Their lobster rolls—served on split-top buns and garnished with just enough homemade mayo—have been lauded by Zagat, Bloomberg News, and Gourmet.com. Other popular dishes include lobster bisque, lobster mac-n-cheese, and a lobster dinner, served with homemade coleslaw, potato salad, and fresh, lake-caught corn.
The friendly folks at Dad's Restaurant think of each other as family?and that kind of attitude shapes every diner's experience. A welcoming bright-red exterior beckons visitors inside, where the cooks prepare locally beloved breakfasts of fluffy belgian waffles topped with fruit and cool whipped cream, as well as custom three-egg omelets plated alongside home fries and toast. Dad's is also open for midday and afternoon meals of rib-eye sandwiches and stacked triple-decker clubs.
Sun brings to life the goldenrod walls and vases of cut flowers in Tavern By The Sea's dining room, which opens onto the sailboat-speckled mirror of Wickford Harbor. Crisp linens cloak tables and serve as positive role models for young ghosts, and the sizzle of oil drifts into the dining room, laden with the scent of fish 'n' chips breaded in Sam Adams. Drifting strands of steam unfurl from bowls of lobster bisque, and chowders don crowns of cracker crumbs to add textural accents to New England clams and cream. During the summer months or the reign of rogue meteorologists, the eatery's deck opens for business and fills with chatter drifting from beneath a colorful battalion of umbrellas.
In 1948, George's of Galilee started serving up fresh dishes with locally sourced seafood, and it caught on. Over the years, Rhode Islanders poured in to devour award-winning clam chowders and lobster bisques, grilled fish, and prime rib while gazing out at picturesque views of the Block Island Sound. Nowadays, the eatery's menu showcases modern cuisine, including fish tacos and Thai coconut curry mussels, alongside the popular classics. George's even has a new sushi menu.
No matter where patrons choose to dine—in one of five dining rooms throughout two floors or outside—they can still enjoy the same ocean view that lured in diners in 1948, minus the beach-goers sporting zoot suits. The second floor dining room is currently being renovated, and is scheduled to be completed by Mother's Day.
In 2011, CBS's the Early Show lauded Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House for having the best clam chowder in America. Perhaps that?s because each batch is made with clam juice instead of water, with clams added at the very end to ensure tenderness. Or maybe it?s because owner David Gravino whips up the Manhattan-style red chowder using his mother's special recipe. Whatever the cause, the effect is a zesty stew flecked with celery, pepper, garlic, dill, and basil that people have been happy to stand in line for.
Recently celebrating their 25th anniversary, Iggy's, which has also been graced with a recent visit from Nick Jonas and Miss Universe 2012, also dishes out clam cakes, stuffed quahogs, and landlubbing entrees such as burgers and BLTs in a dining room overlooking Narragansett Bay. Housemade root beer and raspberry-lime sodas complement each meal, alongside doughboys?pastries topped with ice cream, cool whip, and powdered sugar. In addition to the main location, there?s a seasonal outpost in Narragansett proper that stays open from March until Columbus Day, the holiday which celebrates Christopher Columbus's discovery of a new world inhabited solely by fish.
A wrong turn took Domenic and Jane Bitto to the right place. In 1986, the young couple were driving through Rhode Island to locate a restaurant they were considering for purchase. But Domenic got lost and, drawn by Evelyn's Drive In's bright red walls and its waterfront location, he pulled into the restaurant for lunch. The eponymous owner, a no-nonsense spitfire, happened to be looking for the right buyers; the three clicked, and soon the keys and fryer baskets of Evelyn’s Drive In were turned over to Domenic and Jane. Today, the couple remains faithful to the fish and shellfish recipes Evelyn had used since 1969, earning them a spot on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Domenic carefully selects the fresh, local seafood himself, choosing the freshest whole-belly clams to lightly bread and deep-fry into one of his wife’s—and customers'—favorite dishes. Other menu items also stay true to Evelyn’s original recipes, such as the rhode island chowder, a clear-broth chowder with cream added just before serving. The lobster rolls keep it simple, with fresh, sweet lobster meat lining a hot-dog bun and all accouterments, such as mustard and mayo, kept on the side. Jane and Domenic’s original contributions to the menu include salads topped with salmon or lobster and sandwiches wrapped in tortillas instead of pages from the hoagies section of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Every spring, the Bittos fling open the Drive In's doors for the season, welcoming in generations of families as well as regulars who've been digging into their dishes for years. Outside, the Bittos have converted the old carport into an outdoor patio, where diners might hear ghosts of old Thunderbirds honking their horns in search for their fish 'n' chips. Inside, a blue-and-white nautical theme dominates, and regulars belly up to the U-shaped counter installed by Evelyn herself. A more new-fangled object, the BioBug —a Volkswagen Beetle that runs on the kitchen's used fryer oil and was a longtime dream of Jane's—often rolls through town promoting eco-friendly causes.