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Dec 16, 2007 06:31 PM

Remember Adesso?

Do you remember Adesso off of Thayer. I used to love that restaurant. Did another restaurant open in that space? Will Adesso ever open maybe somewhere else in RI?

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  1. They had pretty good wood fired pizza, but their pastas were always swimming in sauce. Basically a hang-out for aging and wanna be mobsters; the owner went to jail on racketeering and drug related issues. It will probably not reopen in that current location.

    1. Actually, I liked the food quite a bit, but not the space. It was described in the Zagat guide as "one of the few places in RI where a Californian would feel at home", and, as a recent transplant from California, I thought that had to be a comment from someone who had never been there.

      I always had good luck with the pizza, pastas, and other mains, and I thought their wine list was great.

      But now I go to Red Stripe, and I'm happy.

      3 Replies
      1. re: winedude

        I used to love the pizza there. I remember once I was there with some female friends and the owner asked us if we were interested in buying some 'hot" designer clothes that he had in a truck behind the restaurant. I guess I am not surprised where he ended up. I have to try Red Stripe, I hear great things about it! Oh yes. we turned him down!

        1. re: Alica

          They went thru several owners, most of whom did time for the various RICO-type offenses.

          I have a very soft spot for Adesso, particularly the Adesso of the earliest days. I agree that there was 100% nothing to do w/any sort of California feel, but I loved a lot of the food there, and pretty quickly after they opened, I had a favorite dish and never ordered anything other than this dish, evah. Also got the thick toast w/wild mushrooms every time, and the waiters were great----very inviting and friendly w/o becoming your new BFF. And they suggested good wines.

          I went there an awful lot, probably until having kids and going out a bit less (late 90s). So many great legends (true ones) about that place. I once set up two friends on a blind date (and two others on a first date were w/us, and my husband, whom I was dating at the time) at Adesso. Everyone had a great time and really liked the food. Next night, there was some sort of attempted hit on the owner or mgr. Two guys in cop uniforms came to the door, looking for someone in particular. Came inside, locked the doors (w/a restaurant full of people) and everyone ended up unharmed.

          Gotta love a judge who sentences the two co-owners for something like bankruptcy fraud and other Matters, but sends them off to federal prison one at a time (vs. concurrently) to allow one owner to be running the business uniterrrupted.

          My disclaimer is that we knew the original owner (who did not own it for terribly long)----but I loved their food. Desserts from Pastiche----I can probably still name everything on the dessert tray.

          1. re: Moonpie1

            Great tribute to a missed restaurant! I remember CREME BRULEE!

      2. I have very fond memories of Adesso. My brothers and I worked at the Thayer Market (where the CVS is now) on the corner of Thayer and Cushing -- our parking lot became the Adesso parking lot. When it first opened my brother Lurker W. and I would go there and share an appetizer, a salad, a pizza, and a pasta (or something like that). It was widely hailed as the first "Cal-Ital" restaurant in RI and it was pretty darn good. This was back around '86 when the Providence restaurant scene was just beginning to take off.

        Fortunately I got back to RI on a rare visit in '05 with Mrs W and the then 11-month-old twins. We had a nice meal at Adesso -- glad we made it before the place closed. But an interesting note -- it was Brown graduation weekend and I was worried we couldn't get a table, but the place was far from packed. Just too many other good choices in Providence now.

        Adesso definitely deserves to be remembered for helping usher in the modern era of dining in Providence and having a very impressive 20-year run.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Bob W

          This is so true. Back when it opened, it's not as if Providence had no good restaurants, but it was nowhere near what it is now in the city, and I think Adesso had something to do w/that. Its original owner was/is a great cook (not sure where he is now, but he later owned Basta! in Edgewood).

          I have so, so many good associations w/that place. It was the best balance between unassuming/casual and great food we had during that time. For a lot of those earlier years, I was there almost weekly/monthly, either w/family or w/now-husband, whom I was dating at the time. Like jsd below, I was in college and it was a great date destination (heh----one of their original owners also owned Anthony's, downcity on Washington St., and that's where we went for the REAL special dinners. Anyone remember that place?)

          Honestly----I'm not a chef or NY Times-level critic, but I do love food and know from food a bit, and the age-old question of what I'd have for my Last Meal, you know, before they execute me for finally going off and whacking so and so.. never changed for me, for yeaaars (except to add the grass salad from Al Forno). I would always say (and this is a topic I have discussed and thought of a lot, heh)----that thick bruschetta w/the wild mushrooms, the angel hair w/chicken, leeks, almonds, sun dried tomatoes, eggplant, etc. It came w/fresh tomatoes too, but I always had it w/o. And possibly the toffee walnut torte from their dessert choices. This torte disappeared and was never replaced by anything comparable, so I always got the rice pudding in later years.

          There was something about that angel hair dish, that represents all kinds of great things for me. I can still taste it.

          Unlike me (never ordered anything, ever, but that one dish----except for adding pizza sometimes)----my now-husband has gone all over the menu, and loved everything there.

          1. re: Moonpie1

            Moonpie, I was just looking at profiles. I saw yours. We just went to Parkside Wednesday night. We had not been there in years and sort of forgot about it ( my husband and I met at Amsterdam's 14 years ago) we loved it. The atmosphere and food were great. We will surely be back! Also, one of my FAV Providemce restaurants is Pizzaco. Like your taste! It is so nice to hear everyones stories about Adesso.

            1. re: Alica

              Amsterdam's on S. Main St.! What a great place. Grab a seat at the bar and listen to Greg Abate or Dan Moretti (two of RI's leading jazzmen). But the owners ran afoul of Mayor Buddy Cianci and had to beat feet back to NYC.

          2. re: Bob W

            This has been a very interesting thread to read - I had no idea Adesso had been around for that long.

          3. I also had a soft spot for Adesso. It was the first place where (as a Brown student) I was taken on a fancy dinner date, must have been the fall of '87. As I got older, it seemed less fancy but was always decent - when I got out of college and started working, friends and I would go there just for drinks and dessert and it was always a lot of fun. I then spent 13 years living outside of Providence, and when we moved back, at the tail end of 2004, I was nostalgically glad to see it still there. And then it closed! Oh well. I actually was just thinking about the place this morning as I ran into the Thayer St. CVS to pick something up. The lot is now Wheeler School Parking - I wonder if the restaurant will ever reopen as something.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jsd

              > The lot is now Wheeler School Parking - I wonder if the restaurant will ever reopen as
              > something.

              I wonder... You'd think it would be a fantastic draw for a restaurant, but these days, parking is more valued than anything, so perhaps not...

              - Garris

            2. OK, let me set the record straight about Adesso. There were two original owners. One was the owner of Anthony's downtown, and currently runs Basta. The de facto owner, it's actually a management contract. His father owns Antoinio's in Cranston, which he is taking over and re doing. The original two partners got into trouble with Anthony's Park Place in Cranston, which filed for bankruptcy, but they tried taking stuff out after they filed. A big no no, but since it had nothing to do with Adesso, the judge assigned the sentencing one at a time. One of the original owners got into some "trouble" and was moved out in favor of the more notorious one. He went on to manage Cafe Nuovo when it first opened for a very short time, and on to Basta etc.

              The story about the cops/kidnapping thing is mostly true. When an actual police officer noticed a car of men that looked suspicious, he went over to find they had police uniforms in the car. They were arrested and confessed to having planned to kidnap the owner. One of those men was shot dead in front of The Arch a couple of years later to no ones surprise. The remaining original owner gave up his majority stake and it was down hill from there. The owner that was left didn't realize that "Adesso" is italian for happening, and never changed anything to stay happening. They always made the desserts in house, but never changed them. They filed for bankruptcy a couple of years ago, prior to his jail time. Saw him recently, he plans to re open on Federal Hill where Bobo's was across from Casserta's, he owns that building and plans to level it and rebuild.

              3 Replies
              1. re: irishguy

                You know, I heard rumors of them reopening in the hill, that would be great! As for the story, SO RI, we do not blink an eye at anything. But just for the record, As a foodie, I love RI!!

                1. re: irishguy

                  All true. Except that I didn't know about any plans to rebuild/reopen. That would be cool. And adesso means "now", as I understand it----or "in the moment".

                  Also, by way of history, original owner's brother was (maybe still is, I have no idea of the status---I think he still is) the owner of Tyler Point Grille in Barrington.

                  1. re: Moonpie1

                    His brother does still own Tyler Point Grille.