A fall feast: Northern Rhode Island restaurants serve up foods of the season

Bartender Vanessa makes the most of seasonal ingredients at Bella Restaurant.

For for local foodies, autumn is arguably the best time of year, and restaurants in northern Rhode Island know how to do it right. 

Seasonal dishes are something of a specialty at Crystal Lake Tavern, with changing menu items that highlight the freshest ingredients available. Past fall menus have featured foods such as butternut squash soup or autumn beef soup, and an autumn salad made of spinach, topped with grilled turkey tips, bacon, gouda cheese, roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries and sliced apples, served with an apple cider vinaigrette.   

Chef Gio Calapai cooks up original seasonal dishes nearly every week at Bella Restaurant in Burrillville, and the creative bartenders certainly hold their own too, with specialty cocktails like last year’s “Harvest Moon Martini,” made with peanut butter whiskey, Creme de Cacao, apple cider, fresh lemon and a splash of Prosecco. Calapai’s fall creations include items such as the autumn pork tenderloin, all natural, pan seared with herbs and spices and topped with an apple cider butter demi-cream and an apple salsa, and served with grilled asparagus.   

Tavern on Main in Chepachet makes the most of one fall flavor with a popular dish dubbed “pumpkin chicken,” a pumpkin seed and crusted chicken baked and served over pumpkin ravioli.

“It’s my favorite dish,” said longtime server and bartender Debra Marks.

If you’re feeling thirsty, Marks also mixes up some great fall drinks, including an apple sangria. 

At Waterfall Cafe in Burrillville, fall fruits even occasionally find their way into dinner entrees like the “chicken and butternut ravioli,” – sautéed with spinach and cranberries in a creamy garlic butter sauce, with a hint of maple syrup – or onto a pie, with their seasonal special prosciutto, apple and onion pizza.      

And northern Rhode Islanders don’t have to go the high-end/gourmet dining route to enjoy great foods of the season.

“Fall is actually Jon’s favorite time of the year and he loves cooking with fall flavors,” said Coffee & Cream owner Heather Branchaud of husband and co-owner Jon Branchaud. 

The list of special changing fall items at the Slatersville Plaza restaurant is long, and includes apple crisp stuffed French toast; pumpkin stuffed French toast with baked apples; Vermont maple stuffed French toast; pumpkin apple pancakes; pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes; pumpkin apple muffins; pumpkin chocolate chip muffins;  pumpkin coffee and “Jon’s famous,” Cinni-Bun French toast. The business also serves alcohol, with drinks such as an apple cider mimosa with a caramel cinnamon sugar rim.

Fall beers are on the menu at Pascoag’s Bravo Brewing Company, and the business recently re-released a Blueberry Cobbler Ale, “slightly sweet ale brewed with blueberries and cinnamon.”  There’s a Munich Lager ready for an Octoberfest release to be held in mid September, and “Ermagourd” is their seasonal pumpkin offering, arriving mid fall, which uses fresh, local roasted pie pumpkins, brown sugar and cinnamon. 

Don’t forget dessert! Wright’s Dairy Farm & Bakery is now selling a menu of “Autumn Classics,” including apple dumplings, caramel apples, deep dish apple crisp, apple cider donut muffins and an apple ring cake. Order online or just visit the bakery on Woonsocket Hill Road in North Smithfield. 

Editor’s note: This content is offered as part of our 2021 Guide to Fall, also available in print. View content from the guide under the “Fall 2021” tab above along with the complete, printable guide.


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