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Aug 10, 2010 12:56 PM

Weird menu item at new Westerly, RI restaurant

As most area folks know, Up River Cafe closed its doors for good during the floods in late March. It recently reopened as The Bridge under new ownership. I picked up a menu yesterday and was struck by several things: although most prices seem fairly typical for the area, they charge $9 for a bowl of creamy chowder and $15 for a Cobb salad (?!). But here's the real kicker:

In a separate box it reads, "Hey, it's hot in there! Enjoying your meal? Buy a 6 pack of PBR"s for the kitchen....$10.00." Now first of all, I can buy a 6 pack of Pabst for about $3.50--the restaurant probably gets it for $2.00. But since when would a customer buy beer for the kitchen workers? I almost always leave about 20% to the waitstaff. Isn't that enough?

Has anyone seen this elsewhere? Is it a new trend? Please help me with this.
Oh, and if anyone's eaten there, a report would be appreciated. They have a web site at

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  1. I am quite cerain that it is a joke, just a way to lighten up people.

    A local restaurant has a few funny quirks on their menu too. Under sides, it has one old gym sock for $5.00 with cheese $5.50

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tinkerbelldee

      Interesting thought, Tinker, but I doubt it. The menu overall is not jokey or quirky, and if this is an attempt at humor, it's pretty lame.

      I do agree with coastalgypsy that there's an impressive selection of veggie dishes. We'll probably try lunch there, maybe next week.

    2. First , if the kitchen staff can drink on the job, I'm putting in an application ASAP.
      Second, I'm really impressed that they have vegetarian/vegan entrees... our little town has come so far!
      Third, yes, $9 for a bowl of clam chowder is pushing it... maybe it's a really BIG bowl with a nice loaf of french bread to go with it... but rarely do you see a sit-down restaurant that offers clam fritters.
      Now, if they could just fix the misspelling of "Guiness" on their beer menu....

      1. The Red Fez has a similar item on the menu. I've never exercised that option, though I also don't take offense at it. While perhaps not a 'joke', I think its fair to call the "buy the kitchen some beers" a lighthearted suggestion.

        Red Fez
        49 Peck St, Providence, RI 02903

        1. What they're doing may actually be illegal, since in MA (and I'm almost positive RI) you can't charge two different prices for the same drink. On the menu, a PBR is $2 each, which would be six for $12. Hopefully they offer the six for $12 dealie to all their guests.

          1 Reply
          1. re: invinotheresverde

            I would question a chef you considers himself of distinguished taste that would consume PBR, which in my opinion is even garbage compared to High Life...

          2. I don't know of any other places, but at East Coast Grill in Cambridge, MA, its a long standing tradition for customers to buy beer for the cook staff. They all used to bang pots and pans as a thank you, but the last time I made a donation they just applauded and cheered. Maybe the pots and pans thing was disturbing to other customers. It is not a menu item at ECG, you just buy whatever at a package store nearby. I don't think they are able to consume it until later in the evening.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jkuhlen

              ok, for the very most part, cooks do NOT drink while on the clock, and they certainly are not permitted to by any chef i've ever known. i have bought many pitchers of beer for the guys and gals at thee red fez in providence, and it is a printed suggestion on their menu, all the way at the bottom. those cooks have fed me so much delicious delightful food out of that cramped, hot little kitchen over the years, i'm more than happy to throw em a pitcher. i can see how it would seem strange to the average diner but to industry folks it's a sign of respect. it's also good to know that the proprietors are announcing to their guests that they feel their hard working cooks deserve a cold beer!