The Chanler at Cliff Walk unveiled two new culinary concepts last week, a move that replaces The Spiced Pear restaurant and adds to the beloved property’s food and beverage portfolio.
This summer, The Chanler at Cliff Walk becomes home to Cara. Translating to “dear one” in Italian and “friend” in Gaelic, Cara is named in honor of Proprietress Lani Shufelt’s sister and conveys a simple, yet beautiful juxtaposition to the restaurant’s creative dishes. Helmed by The Chanler’s new Executive Chef Matthew Voskuil, previously of Las Vegas’ Venetian Resort and Casino, Cara’s stylish tasting menus bring a thoughtful, curated dining experience to Newport. Guests will be delighted to discover that the minimalist dish descriptions found on the two tasting menus only scratch the surface of the inventive cuisine that engages all of the senses. Cara’s menus offer a veritable tour of New England’s fertile fields and bountiful waters, and the friendly, knowledgeable service team guides guests through each course with seamless elegance as they enjoy Chef Voskuil’s signature expression of modern New England cuisine.
Cara’s dining experience is augmented by a robust wine and cocktail program, for which a custom wine fridge was built. Seasoned sommelier, and former director of beverage at a number of Newport’s most notable restaurants including the Castle Hill Inn, The Mooring Restaurant, and 22 Bowen’s, Len Panaggio has curated a collection of wines that not only complement the cuisine, but also embrace the spirit of adventure and exploration within the dishes. Panaggio, together with Food & Beverage Director Christopher Giglietti, a veteran hospitality professional, developed innovative beverage pairings for Cara’s tasting menus, including a “Signature Pairings” option, which features selections from The Chanler’s Wine Spectator Award Winning collection – wines that are rarely offered by the glass at most establishments. Signature cocktails, thoughtfully crafted by skilled barman Maurice Taylor, who has spent over a decade behind The Chanler bar, also enhance Chef Voskuil’s seasonal cooking.
Guests are welcomed by the simplistic elegance of the venue with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean and a spectacular open kitchen. The Cara space, occupied for the last 15 years by the former Spiced Pear Restaurant, has been fully refreshed with new floors, chairs and booths, shelving units, custom archways with curved wainscoting, and more, including several one-of-a-kind pieces like the aforementioned specialty wine fridge and a bespoke Chef’s Table. Leading the charge on the architectural arrangements and detailed woodwork was a team of local artisans, including ParquetRue and Jutras Woodworking, among others, many of whom have participated in past restoration projects for other historic Newport mansions.
The 38 seat restaurant features world-class interior design from a collaboration between Anagrama and Jenn Radlinski Studios. Inspired by Shufelt’s vision of a modern rendition of classic Newport mansion elegance, Cara is designed to evoke the spirit of the Gilded Age and a sense of turn-of-the-century craftsmanship. There are various elements within the design that are reflective of both Shufelt and her sister, the restaurant’s namesake. The Chef’s Table encompasses an African Zebra wood tabletop and a rustic, sandblasted table base – commemorating the years Shufelt’s sister spent living in Africa, which she considers to be a pivotal time in her life. Similarly, the restaurant’s corner booth area doubles as an art display filled with treasures, honoring Shufelt’s own affinity for art and design.
Joining Cara is The Café at The Chanler, a 24 seat, more casual restaurant, providing an energetic, social setting for friends and family to enjoy Mediterranean-inspired flavors. Shared appetizers and family-style spreads are served amongst breathtaking oceanfront views, providing an ideal dining destination for all occasions. Seasonally, al fresco dining is offered on the terrace in true New England fashion, and The Café also features signature wine selections and cocktails.
“Opening Cara is a dream come true,” said Shufelt in a press release, whose father, John Shufelt and his wife Jeanie Shufelt purchased The Chanler in 2000. “I’ve grown up with The Chanler and always envisioned having a special place like Cara on the property, where people can come to enjoy unbeatable food and views in Newport. I love that we also have The Café as an option for those seeking an equally delicious, yet more relaxed meal in an environment where families, couples, friends – everyone – is welcome.”
“The Chanler is a remarkable place and I am thrilled that we’ve been able to introduce the kind of food and beverage venues that matches the hotel’s level of service,” said Chef Voskuil in a press release. “Coming from the resort culture of Las Vegas, I wanted to bring a restaurant to Newport that offers the exceptional food and service guests expect from a fine-dining restaurant, but with unexpected elements of fun and contemporary culture.”
Private dining is available at both Cara and The Café restaurants. Cara’s Easton Room can accommodate parties up to 20 people and The Chanler’s Boardroom is available for either Cara or The Café concepts for more intimate groups, comfortably seating up to eight people. Cara also offers specialty seating for up to four people at the Chef’s Table from Labor Day through Memorial Day, which includes a seven-course custom menu and the opportunity to interact with Chef Voskuil and his culinary team throughout the evening.
Cara is open for dinner service from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., seven days a week, excluding Monday evenings during the winter season. The Café is open for lunch service from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. and dinner service from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. indoors and 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. outdoors, seasonally.