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Dec 17, 2009 09:05 AM

RI - Wharf Tavern has closed

Last time i was at the Wharf Tavern (Warren, RI) was Thanksgiving weekend for my birthday. I thought things were a bit amiss when they had completely run out of lobster dinners by the time we got there (7 PM on a Saturday evening?) but the place was busy with private parties, so I figured that was the cause of the problem.

I was going to go last night, but the phone was disconnected when I called to make reservations. Later on, I was telling a friend of mine (who works at another restaurant in that area) and she told me The Wharf closed for good last Thusrday. She heard (via her boss) it had to do with 'back taxes' and there were no plans to reopen any time soon.

I'm sorry to see this place shutter, since the new owners tried rather hard to improve it over the past few years. They introduced a whole new 'lobster menu' this past year which was delicious and affordable. They had hired new staff (our waiter was hunky, I must say!) which improved the service tremendously. The location was wonderful. Our waiter told us that they were pretty much booked for December with Christmas parties and New Year's Eve.

Now two longtime landmarks in that town (the other being the "Nathaniel Porter Inn") have closed for good in the past year or so, Sad news to hear!

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  1. OK - this is oddI

    I just got a phone call from my friend who works at the 'other' restaurant. They hired someone last night who worked at the WT. He said the ORIGINAL owners bought back the restaurant, and they will be reopening Saturday evening. However they are hiring a whole new staff (which is why he's working with my friend now!).

    3 Replies
    1. re: OOliver

      Lots of stories circulating about the Wharf. There were tax troubles which prompted the town to pull the food and liquor licences. Also, in the really bad wind and rain storm a couple of weeks ago there was some pretty bad flooding in the building which, I've heard, led to some health department problems. The local paper here had a story that the financial backer of the place for the last few years has stepped in to run the day to day operations. I doubt that it would be the original owners as they are either dead or well into their eighties. Whoever it is, I wish them luck! I've long thought that the ideal thing to do with The Wharf would be to get the old concept and menu back. Nothing fancy - just good steaks, chops and seafood. It seems that in the last few years they have tried to do everything and wound up with and all around awful place. I mean really! - Frozen seafood and canned lobster in a location like that??? Also wish them luck if they are trying to re-open tonight with the storm forecast the way it is. As to the Nat Porter - There is a gentleman from from Bristol who is working with Jamie D'Oliviera to re-open Nat's. Can't wait for that to happen!!!

      1. re: bustopher

        I keep hearing the Wharf is re-opened, then closed. It's been a confusing few weeks. I have two gift certificates I'd like to use...if they are still good. Supposedly, it's one of the children of the former owner who wants to reopen it.

        The NP news sounds good - let's hope there is good restaurant there soon!

        1. re: OOliver

          Oliver - Check out the story in the Warren Times from last week. The Wharf has re-opened now being run by the business partner of the former manager. According to the story the menu has been simplified to more resemble what the place was like years ago. Some renovations and cleanup have been done and there was a big staffing shakeup. I've not been in since the re-opening but they seem to be doing pretty good business based on the number of cars in the parking lot.

    2. Just heard the Wharf will be reoping by the end of July.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodenjoyer

        It has reopened. I haven't been there yet.

        1. re: Hydromel

          I have. Love the spot, but it still has a long way to go.