We invited Joe Ricchio, a Maine bon vivant and food editor of that state’s acclaimed Down East and Dispatch magazines, to go on a few larks this year. Follow along as he shares his perspective on things to do, eat, and drink on Nantucket. With writing credits from Bon Appetit, Vice, The Guardian and Boston Magazine, we hope you enjoy his unique voice and insights.
Though it’s likely you’ve come to be a permanent fixture at any one of its stunning beaches, the most important element to summer travel is a contingency plan in case of a rainy day in Narragansett – and if that plan involves eating in a manner that is not conducive to wearing your swimsuit than this guide is for you.
Your Guide for a Rainy Day in Narragansett
While there are a number of more progressive eateries in the area, it is equally important to seek out the classic institutions to really get a feel for the local cuisine. One such mainstay is George’s of Galilee (250 Sand Hill Cove Rd, Narragansett), where the rain won’t stop you from finding a suitable perch near the windows upstairs to enjoy the dreary yet beautiful views of Block Island Sound. Open since 1948, this is a perfect venue at which to acclimate yourself to the Rhode Island “Clear” chowder, washed down with sparkling water bottled in nearby Providence. Fresh Point Judith Calamari is served the traditional way, fried with pepper rings, or a more beer-friendly sauté tossed with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, hot peppers, and plenty of garlic. While the menu is literally sprawling, you can always count on a plate of “stuffies (baked stuffed clams),” the fritter-esque clam cakes, and a baked stuffed lobster accompanied by an ocean of Moet & Chandon Brut NV. It also worth noting that the size of the dining rooms makes this an ideal choice if you happen to have a gang of restless children in tow.
Not far away you will find Crazy Burger Café & Juice Bar (144 Boon St, Narragansett), where you can swiftly elevate your mood with one of “Cammie’s Phat Phrappacinos, loaded with both espresso AND coffee, plenty of cream, and a “jigger of chocolate,” blended with ice. The selection of their namesake ranges from a classic patty melt to more outlandish creations like “Mahi mahi taco burger,” all customized with a different bun and great with a side of hand-cut fries. The quality of ingredients utilized allow one to be more adventurous with the expansive menu, and there are few things more delicious than their lean beef burger patty cut with chorizo alongside a frozen lemonade. The no-frills, roadhouse-style ambience is deceptive given that they serve a “Massaged kale salad,” tossed with avocado, tahini, and peppadews, as well as “Pacific Rim Rolls,” one of their more famous creations of chicken stuffed won ton that tickled the fancy of food clown Guy Fieri on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
If it’s raw bivalves that you crave, there is no better place to slurp down dozen after dozen on a rainy day in Narragansett than the Matunuck Oyster Bar (629 Succotash Rd, Narragansett). Be sure to sit upstairs where you can get a look at Potter Pond, where they grow and harvest their own Matunick Oysters, which are conveniently offered as a package deal with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot right at the top of the menu. Big, plump shrimp, Alaskan King Crab legs, and raw littlenecks will complete a memorable shellfish platter to snack on while considering what are simply the best examples around of hallmark Rhode Island Fare (the stuffies are mind-numbingly good). Dishes like Jambalaya, linguine with clams, and a seared rib-eye round out the menu and ensure that there is something for everyone. Though they open at 11:30, on a rainy day the dining room can often begin to fill up much earlier to get there quickly and take advantage of the complimentary valet parking.
Lastly, if you came in search of hot dogs, a rainy day in Narragansett is a perfect excuse to load up the family trickster and head north to Providence where you will find Olneyville New York System (18 Plainfield St, Providence), home of what the locals like to refer to as the “gagger.” Hot dogs are ordered “All the way,” topped with celery salt, chopped onion, mustard, and a very special spice mix that will, around you third bite, have you considering another large order of the same. Don’t come back from RI claiming you had the hot dogs until you have experienced these.