Newport Restaurant Group (NRG) is expanding its portfolio in 2021 with the addition of a specialty market, Foodlove, at 1037 Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown.
The 3,600 square foot space, designed by McGeorge Architects in East Greenwich, is scheduled to open this summer.
“We have considered the idea of an upscale prepared foods market on Aquidneck Island in the past, but it was not until Covid hit, and it became clear to us that the food and beverage landscape was going to be permanently altered, that I became fully committed to the concept,” said Paul O’Reilly, President & CEO, Newport Restaurant Group in a press release. “We have owned the real estate where the market is being built for decades, but due to the pandemic, we were not in a position to invest the capital needed for the project. We decided for the first time in our company’s history to bring on an outside investor who has capitalized the majority of the project while allowing us to ensure it remains a 100% employee-owned business, which is our priority.”
Newport Restaurant Group’s portfolio of restaurants include Castle Hill Inn, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar, 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille, Bar ‘Cino, and Smoke House all located in Newport; Trio of Narragansett; the Boat House in Tiverton; Waterman Grille and Hemenway’s, both located in Providence; Avvio Ristorante located at Garden City Center in Cranston; Iron Works in Warwick; Papa Razzi with two locations in the greater Boston area; and Bar ‘Cino in Brookline, MA.
Foodlove will offer an extension of NRG’s culinary philosophy, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a variety of thoughtfully prepared dishes that incorporate local and seasonal ingredients. Members of NRG’s complimentary Fare Rewards loyalty program will be able to earn and redeem points with every purchase.
“Maintaining the integrity of our culinary program has been our guiding principle at our restaurants for decades, and Foodlove will be no different,” said Karsten Hart, Director of Restaurants for Newport Restaurant Group in a press release. “The menu will feature a wide variety of offerings, from soups and sandwiches to satisfying meals to put on the family table at the end of a long day, and all of the components you can think of to throw a great dinner party. This market will be a special addition to Aquidneck Island and we can’t wait to open our doors.”
According to NRG, Foodlove’s offerings will include prepared meals for families (serving sizes for two people or a family of four), featuring some NRG restaurant favorites like Avvio Chicken Parmesan; Trio Meatballs with Kenyon’s polenta, summer corn, and tomato sauce; and Boat House Shrimp Scampi.
Chef-driven grab-and-go and made-to-order items will include a variety of panini; vegetable, pasta and grain salads; rotisserie chickens with a selection of sauces; a variety of grain bowls; and soups, including the Mooring’s famous clam chowder.
Wood-fired pizzas and sandwiches and cast iron pan pizzas will incorporate the local flavors of Rhode Island and New England; a sushi menu will feature a variety of traditional and unique rolls, salads, and poke and rice bowls; and sandwiches will be served on Seven Stars Bakery breads. A variety of groceries and local produce and a full café with local coffee and fresh baked goods will be available.
“In some ways, it is counter-intuitive to be expanding and building a new business unit during a time when we’re cutting expenses and shrinking the company,” continued O’Reilly. “Frankly, it was hard for us to take on an investor to do this project, as we have always been independent and self-sustaining, but the reality is that we could not capitalize what we felt was the smartest way to adapt to a rapidly changing market. The Foodlove concept was designed to shift our brand into an area of the Food and Beverage industry that was growing before the pandemic, but is now actually thriving because of it.”