HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >

Discussion

cool artsy place in Providence?

My 18 year old sister in law is going to RISD in a couple weeks and my husband and I would like to get her a gift certificate to somewhere cool that she can hang out/eat at. She was raised by a family of total food snobs, so it has to be on the up and up... no Starbucks/Applebees. Either a coffee shop style or maybe a cool deli... just somewhere were a new poor Freshman can go to get some food on her big bros tab.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. coffee exchange to start with.......

    1. Coffee Exchange is the obvious choice and probably the one that makes the most sense. Most of the cool places to hang out and eat at are not on college hill. Cuban Revolution is popular with students and its kind of cool but more yuppie (downtown providence). The food is good. Nick's for breakfast and lunch sounds like the type of place your looking for but its sort of further away and Im not sure they have certificates. Same with Julian's (both are on broadway in west end). Sawadee, a good thai place with little to no ambience is close by. Theres also a coffee place in wayland square, which i believe is called the edge. Its rather new but seems like a nice place. Cafe Choklad would probably be the most convenient since it is practically in between RISD buildings, but the food is so so and the place is nothing special except for the chocolates. One last suggestion would be bagel gourmet. The bagels are ok (im from new york but many say its the best bagel in providence), They also have some mexican options which are decent .

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sambossanova

        Not to knock suggestions that are otherwise useful, and in fact I am as I type eating a fine bagel from Bagel Gourmet but it is NOT cool! Hole in the wall and not near RISD. Fine place to go but utilitarian.

        1. re: jsd

          While neither young nor funky, I can nevertheless say that Bagel Gourmet (and Sawadee and Cafe Choklad) are definitely very good places, but I wouldn't describe any of them as cool or hip by any standards.

          If I were getting a gift card for a RISD student, I'd get it for Coffee Exchange or the Cable Car Cinema (owned by RISD, actually, I believe). Both very of the moment, very close to RISD.

          For other places around town (note: many not "roll out of bed" close to RISD, but walkable) with a kind of young, funky vibe to them, I'd suggest:

          Cafes:
          - Coffee Edge (Wayland Square, East Side)
          - Tazza (Downtown)
          - Jolly Roger's (owned by RISD, on Main St Downtown)

          Lunch places:
          - Geoff's (a stretch... College Hill)
          - Mazy Grace's (Downtown)
          - Spike's (Thayer, College Hill)

          Restaurants:
          - Nick's (Broadway, West Side)
          - Julians (Broadway, West Side)
          - Louie Fuller's (Westminster, West Side)

          And that's about it. I've never been to the Brooklyn Tea House on Douglas on Smith Hill. Can anyone report?

          Steath food choice for RISD students: Solomon's Cafe, an excellent Korean restaurant, of all things, sitting in an old colonial building on Benefit St, of all places, with near invisible signage.

          - Garris
          Providence, RI

      2. Geoff's Sandwiches is a nearby deli and may fit the description of cool (in a funky way) as well as being good.

        1. Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I actually grew up in RI but down south in Wickford, then moved to Providence for my Junior and Senior years in High School and back then Geoff's was considered a pretty cool place with people worth flirting with working the counter. Is it still that way? Maybe I'll split the money and do one GC to Geoff's and one to Coffee Exchange. The one friend I have who still lives in the area was talking of Nick's on Broadway. Any opinions on that? My sister-in-law is also , I hate to admit it, a, gasp, vegetarian...so would that be appropriate?

          3 Replies
          1. re: biggirlco

            Nick's is excellent and they do have lots of veggie options. They also have gift certificates. Its a great choice.

            1. re: biggirlco

              Nick's would be fine, but again, "across town" from RISD...

              Another option I forgot above might be the Garden Grille on the Providence/Pawtucket line. Great vegetarian food, and usually attracting a hip crowd...

              - Garris

              1. re: Garris

                I guess seeing as how lots and lots of RISD kids actually live on the west side the OP's sister in law will be over in that neighborhood anyway.

            2. good calls all-

              basachs - firstyears are in the quad at benefit & waterman - so the college hill suggestions are probably a little more convenient (the workload is killer)

              add east side pocket on thayer street to the list - none finer that close to campus (or otherwise)

              1. I would add Red Fez (Peck Street) for an eclectic menu and Taqueria Pacifica (Empire Street; shares a space with the always cool and interesting AS220 performance space).

                Veggie options at both. I'm sure your SIL will discover them in no time.

                -----
                Red Fez
                49 Peck St, Providence, RI 02903

                Taqueria Pacifica
                103 Empire St, Providence, RI 02903