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Twin Oaks

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I grew up in Rhode Island and am there once a month...I am Woodstock Generation and in all my years , somehow Twin Oaks got by me. It IS a Rhode Island institution. At my Ma's suggestion, she, my aunt, and I went there for lunch Saturday. The menu is quite large traditional Italian. There were people who were actually eating pasta and chicken parm and such for lunch. I had a shrimp cocktail; and, one can buy it by the piece. My Mother and I split a lobster salad which they willingly split in the kitchen. My aunt had the same and brought back some to my uncle. And that ain't all...they bring sides WITH the meals. I thought that lobster salad was a bargain at 17.00 (MP that day); I could not finish my half. Also, Twin Oaks is old fashioned in the way that you see groups of people, families, etc., and, they are all conversing with one another, not on their cell phones. Even in the lobby, when we were leaving, I was observing...again, not one person on a cell phone....people were ACTUALLY engaging one another. (The cell phone thing is an issue with me...what does everybody else know that I do not? Why would one bother to go out for a meal and then hang on the phone? I am convinced that many people wait until they are at their table, and THEN turn the phone on...can't it wait until after lunch or dinner? And I commend the restaurants who have a definitive policy about cell phones in the dining rooms)...Okay, the rant is over. I bought two jars of the Twin Oaks marinara sauce to take home (I live in the Berkshires). To anybody reading this who lives in Rhode Island, I would recommend Twin Oaks as a real Rhode Island instituion.

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  1. Nidalou, came across your post in a search. I go to Twin Oaks frequently for lunch, and I also see families and groups unselfconsciously engaged in conversations and rarely, almost never on their cell phones. There was always a long wait for a table on Sundays and for dinner, but I think that there are now so many new places in the area, it might not be such a long wait. At lunch I gravitate to the mini specials, like the smaller baked stuffed shrimp dish, single pork chop, etc. I don’t know why I haven’t bought the marinara sauce, probably because I’m si full on the way out.

    1. I've only been to Twin Oaks once (snacks and drinks) and really enjoyed it. Funny, my BF and I drove by it on Saturday on our way to Crazy Burger for lunch and decided we have to go back there soon. Thanks for the karma!

      1. Twin Oaks has really gone downhill. I heard that they lost alot of business due to the Casinos. But this place is an empty shell of what it once was. I used to go all the time with my parents when I was a kid. About 6 weeks ago we took my mother for her birthday and boy, was I disappointed. The lamb my sister and I ordered which was a 'special', was pretty disgusting. It was shaved and smothered in this thick, goppy brown mushroom sauce. There was way too much salt in it and it's purpose was to hide all the fat (there was way too much) on the meat so it made it really difficult to cut off the fat. The twice baked potato I ordered was cold, and it was flavorless. I usually order a baked potato but they only had two options, one was twice baked and the other was mashed. Since when did they stop serving baked potatoes? Since it's easier to make twice baked and then just reheat them in the microwave? The special loaf of Italian bread we ordered (at an additional cost because it had been marinated in butter) was served without plates so we had butter and grease dripping all over the table and on our hands (Can you say clueless?) We had a baby and two kids with us and waited an unusually long time after being seated just to order. (Can you say bad service?) The red sauce for the pasta was plain. The calamari we ordered was slimy, it just was a bad meal overall. I accidentally left my baby's sippy cup and called a couple of hours later to see if they had it. A waiter said he found it and will put it aside so I can pick it up later. I came by the next day they were open and it was gone. Thank god I did not leave any jewelry or my purse. Don't go. There are so many better options.

        1. Friends and I used to do the Friday night, hang at the bar scene at Twin Oaks back in the 90's. It's sad to hear they've gone downhill. It used to be such an institution. You would wait 2 hours sometimes on weekends to get in.

          2 Replies
          1. re: snl1129

            snl, don't be so quick to feel sad. Not everyone shares Monono's opinion.

            Monono, I was doing an internet search to check my facts before responding to your post, and I happened to find the same review, word-for-word, posted 12-18-07 on yahoo under the username “jennieloo”. So you and jennieloo had exactly the same experience there, just several weeks apart? What are the odds?

            OK, let me respond to your report:

            “I heard that they lost a lot of business due to the Casinos.”

            There is some truth to this statement, but that would have been more than 15 years ago. They reportedly lost a small percentage of business, not a lot, when Foxwoods opened. They were indeed very visible in opposition to Harrah’s more recently.

            “an empty shell of what it once was”

            Twin Oaks may not be all that it was years ago. Nothing is forever. But your description “empty shell’ is harsh. In my opinion, it is still very good and very reliable.

            “About 6 weeks ago we took my mother for her birthday”

            The Dec 18 07 review states that your (or her) visit was six weeks ago also. So, I’m curious, was it 6 weeks ago, or 3 months ago? Shall we expect to read this review every six weeks?

            “they only had two options, one was twice baked and the other was mashed.” “Since when did they stop serving baked potatoes?”

            Well, as far as I know, they still offer baked potato as a side, but maybe only at dinner. Nevertheless, they offer fries, sweet potato fries and mashed at every meal every day, or you can choose pasta to sub for the potato and veggie. Are you sure you were at the Cranston Twin Oaks?

            “waited an unusually long time after being seated just to order. (Can you say bad service?)”

            No, actually I find the service consistently good with a rare glitch. Nothing’s perfect. But I’m curious. Exactly how long did you wait?

            “The red sauce for the pasta was plain.”

            I’ve enjoyed the red sauce there more times than I can count. It seems to have plenty of flavor. Or do you mean that it did not contain meat? So it’s a marinara sauce.

            The special loaf of Italian bread we ordered (at an additional cost because it had been marinated in butter) was served without plates.”

            When you are seated, you get a bread and butter plate immediately, whatever your choice of bread, Italian with butter/cheese or the “default” free rolls. Are you sure you were at the Cranston Twin Oaks?

            “I ..left my ..sippy cup and …. came by the next day they were open and it was gone.

            Maybe when they said they would hold it until later, they thought you would be back the same day, but “Thank god I did not leave any jewelry or my purse.” is extremely harsh and unfair. I don’t think you would have waited a day or two if you were retrieving a purse or jewels.

            “Don't go.”

            You post a message in response to three positive reports, one of them mine. Whom are you telling not to go?

            1. re: Betty Boop

              Add this as another positive report.

              I was there in October for the first time w. friends on a Sunday and it was certainly pretty crowded then.

              It was good for what is what it was. Basic red sauce italian with big drinks. If i were in the area and craving chicken parm, I'd go back in a heartbeat!

              Also no problem w. service. Our waiter was attentive, meal was well paced and we had good service....