As What’sUpNewp first reported on December 21st, The owners of Thames Street’s Stoneacre Pantry, Christopher Bender and David Crowell, have signed a multi-year lease for the 5,000 square foot space in Washington Square, formerly knows as Yesterday’s.

In August 2016, the Stoneacre partners commenced demolition.  The space is down to bare bones and ready for the Stoneacre vision to come to fruition.

Bender and Crowell plan to open a brasserie-style restaurant, to be named Stoneacre, in late spring/early summer of 2017.

Owners are keeping their Thames Street location and changing up the dining concept.  Stoneacre Pantry re-opens this Friday, January 6 as La Vasca, a Basque-style restaurant featuring pintxos, or small plates.

Bender and Crowell share the priority of fostering a sense of community atmosphere in their endeavors.  Crowell shares, “We wish to continue that same focus and feeling with this expansion into Washington Square, what we consider to be the ‘hearth of the community.’  We are proud of this opportunity and we see it as a responsibility, as well.  We take that very seriously and wish to enhance this historic area.”

Stoneacre

Stoneacre owners have hired local firms, 2Hands Studio and Herkworks Architecture to design the space.  2Hands Studio co-principal, Melissa Breen offers, “It is somewhat unusual in Newport to have the opportunity to work on a restaurant design from a completely clean slate.  Often restaurants will remodel, but rarely will the space be taken down to the studs.”

The former Yesterday’s space has been emptied of over 85 metric tons (approx. 40 dumpsters) of debris.

Breen continues, “Currently the space is cavernous and it will be so exciting to see the space come alive stage by stage.”

Updating the existing historic facade and working to create a direct connection to Washington Square, the new space will pay homage to both the building’s history and the late Victorian ornamentation derived from Stoneacre’s namesake (the former Bellevue Avenue estate designed in 1884 by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead).

While the space will be predominantly restaurant and bar, it will also offer a sizable prepared foods/take-away section.  Guests will experience an open interior with an artful blend of reclaimed timbers, maritime brass and a contemporary glass wine room.  Various dining areas will evoke a simply green, glistening, gorgeous pastoral style that is the root of the restaurant’s culinary philosophy.

Stoneacre’s restaurant will accommodate seating for approximately ninety-five diners, and the bar will offer seating for eighteen.  An area near the open kitchen will serve private events.  Outdoor café-style seating is planned for the warmer months.

Bender and Crowell share a passion for sustainability and a positive relationship with the local environment.  Their menus are seasonal and support nearby farms and local fishers.  The new Stoneacre menu will offer favorites from the Thames Street location, an addition of a wood fired element, plus a slew of new tartines, whole roasted fish, and handmade pastas.

Diners will be able to enjoy the many Stoneacre Pantry favorites:

  • Kale Salad with Miso-Caesar, Duck Confit & Parmesan
  • Wild Nettle Polenta with Local Mushrooms & Poached Egg
  • Yellowfin Tuna Flashed with Beurre Noisette & Crispy Shallots

Along with some new items:

  • Wood Roasted Olives with Almonds & Fennel Conserva
  • Tartine of Roasted Pancetta, Leek Butter & Preserved Turnips
  • Agnolotti of Goat Cheese, Lemon Zest & Parsley with Beet and Sugar Snap Peas
  • Brick Roasted Chicken for Two with Cauliflower Gratin

Stoneacre will offer a full bar and plans on offering a creative drink menu incorporating many house-made elements.

The take-away section will be reminiscent of an old-style New York delicatessen which will feature coffee service, made to order and baked goods breakfast fare, plus to-go lunch and dinner items such as house-made pastrami, smoked fish, knish and cassoulet.

LaVasca

“We find Northern Spain, specifically San Sebastian, to be a galvanizing gastronomic hub.  San Sebastian offers vitality and a certain simplicity in lifestyle that is inspiring; that is what we want to impart at La Vasca,” Bender explains.  Pintxos are often suitable for sharing, as well as two types of paella (one with house-made chorizo), and hot and cold plates.

Menu items include:

  • Charred Pt. Judith Squid with Romesco
  • Paella Valenciana with Prawns, Mussels, Littlenecks & House-made Sausage with Bomba Rice
  • Jamon Iberico de Bellotta
  • Sriracha Pickled Quail’s Eggs
  • Crispy Mushrooms with Farm Egg

La Vasca dinner service begins Friday, January 6 at 5:30 PM.  Reservations accepted with limited room saved for walk-ins. For updates and specials, please visit www.stoneacrepantry.com and  follow “La Vasca” and “Stoneacre Pantry” on facebook and Instagram.

Stoneacre currently employs a staff of twenty-five.  When Stoneacre opens on Washington Square, their staffing will double.

Along with Stoneacre (Washington Square) and La Vasca (515 Thames Street), partners Christopher Bender and David Crowell have purchased Wellington Liquors (580 Thames Street) in 2016, which now offers delivery and online shopping.  In 2016, the duo also started Radish Patch Catering, which often works in tandem with Metta Events.

Formerly colleagues at NYC’s Mas (Farmhouse) and Mas (La Grillade), Bender and Crowell became partners to open Stoneacre Pantry during the summer of 2013.  Bender serves as Director of Operations, Crowell as General Manager.  Focusing on service and offering an exceptional quality product, they seek out opportunity, and have short and long-range goals of making a positive impact on Newport.

With an eye squarely on sustainability and a positive relationship with the local environment, the menus are seasonal and support nearby farms and fishers.  The wine list highlights small producers from France; many of the cocktails have house-made components.

2016 accolades include: Christopher Bender named one of “RI’s Top 10 Young Chefs” by Providence Business News; Stoneacre Pantry named best brunch in New England by Yankee magazine; GoLocal Providence named Stoneacre Pantry’s Fluke with Fiddleheads as one of RI’s top five fish dishes; Bender and Crowell were invited to be a part of the James Beard Foundation Summer in RI event; and Stoneacre Pantry was featured on ABC’s “The Chew.”

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Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.