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Aug 6, 2008 04:21 PM

Bilkens in Cranston-closed?

There was a sign up at the end of June that they were on vacation (for a week) and they have been closed ever since. I'm worried- does anyone know what happened?

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  1. SAY IT AIN'T SO!!! OMG, that would be awful. Food was excellent, and the owner was so gracious. I believe last summer he cut down to bkfast & lunch only and stopped serving dinner for the summer....maybe he'll just take a break for the summer and return in the fall?

    10 Replies
    1. re: JaneRI

      Nope, Bilkens is closed. Bill just could not keep it going anymore. The industrial park just died out on him, and his location was a major blocker. Couple with rising costs, could just not be done. Unfortunate as it was a real hidden gem. He is looking to relocate, but will be a while.He has been there 10 years, and you right very gracious and excellent food. A real loss.

      1. re: basachs

        How awful. I ran into the owner back in May (funnily enough, about an hour after we tried to go to his place and it was closed), and he had told me he was trying to get a crew together to re-open for dinner for the summer. I guess it didn't work out. So sad. Fantastic food and "gracious" is the perfect word to describe him. I think the location really did him in. I had a hard time getting people to go over there, even after I told them how wonderful his place was.

        Now I'm depressed....

        1. re: dagwood

          I'm a bit depressed too Dagwood. I recall the last time I was there, he was so attentive and sweet to my friend's toddler. She's a little girl who's very attached to mom and doesn't go to people easily. She looked across the restaurant at him and just stuck her arms out, like "come get me", which he happily did. That and the yummy meatloaf sandwiches. *sigh*

          1. re: JaneRI

            Oh man. thank you for the replies, everyone. That is really sad news. I hope that they can reopen. The location was unfortunate (though great for me- I live within walking distance!) but it was really some of the best food around. I will thoroughly miss the warm atmosphere, friendly service, and delicious food.

            1. re: pork_chop

              Yes, Bilkens is gone. However, David (the chef, and former co-owner of the defunct "Johnny B's Diner") is rumored to be opening something soon in the EP/Pawtucket area. Keep your finegrs crossed!

              BTW, I understand Bill (the former owner of Bilkens) is now a waiter at the totally revamped 'Antonio's" in Knightsville (Cranston).

              1. re: OOliver

                Yes, he is. That's where we ran into him. We tried to go to Bilken's for dinner, which was closed, ended up at Antonio's (after too long a wait at Cafe Itri), and he was our server. Weird, weird world.

                1. re: dagwood

                  What/where is Antonio's and is it worth a visit?

                  1. re: JaneRI

                    It is in the Knightvsille section of Cranston. We were only there the one time, and the food was very very good. (And since we had Bill, naturally the service was fantastic as well). We were there with the kids though (it was not our original destination), and there is no kids menu, but Bill was happy to recommend some items that could be made in smaller portions that the kids would enjoy, and they did. It is upscale Italian, and I would definitely recommend it. In my opinion, it is as good, if not better, than anything on the Hill.

                    1. re: dagwood

                      Antonio's has been around for decades a true RI staple for Italian food. It has recently gotten revamped and back in the hands of the original family which started the restaurant (I believe it's a grandson who now owns/runs it). I stopped going a few years ago when it was sold to someone else, and the place went downhill (and looked rather shabby). I haven't been back since, but I have heard nothing but rave reviews about how great it is - once again. That's when I heard Bill is now working there as well.

                      Jane - I think it may be worth checking out if you have never been. It's right next door to Cafe Itri.

                      (Speaking of Cafe Itri, I'm surprised to hear dagwood couldn't get in. I've been a few times this summer and the place has been nearly empty - on weekends and weeknights - with no waiting at all. It scared me to see that with this economy.)

                      1. re: OOliver

                        It was a Saturday night in May, and my mom was visiting us from NJ. If there were just 4 of us, we could have been seated right away, but since there was 5 of us with my mom, the wait was 30-40 minutes. We got into Antonio's right away.