News Bites: Tavolo Opens on Federal Hill / RI DEM Farmland Access Workshop / Sardella’s Family Recipe

by David Dadekian

Current news releases—Eat Drink RI is not the source for these items—please follow any links for more information.

Tavolo Sets the Table on Federal Hill

Sherri and Leonard Mello will open elegant yet energetic new restaurant
Executive Chef Paul Shire to create contemporary Italian cuisine

Tavolo means “table.” The owners of the successful Tavolo Wine Bar & Restaurant in Smithfield will open a new restaurant on Federal Hill on December 8, 2016 with a grand opening celebration in the heart of Providence’s premier dining destination.

Sherri and Leonard Mello are bringing an elegant yet energetic atmosphere to Tavolo Wine Bar and Tuscan Grille at 289 Atwells Avenue.

The Location & The Ambiance
The Tavolo experience starts with a totally renovated look and ambience that captures both the tradition of “The Hill” and new accents. Bronze box lighting with dark wood notes and inviting banquettes adjoin a spacious bar that speaks of good times.  It is destined to be one of Federal Hill’s landmarks with its exclusive three-season outdoor piazza.

Tavolo in Smithfield has been great for our innovative cuisine and wine program. We love our regulars and all our loyal guests,” said Sherri Mello. “We wanted to create an elegant and contemporary dining experience, where people can enjoy soft live piano music and entertainment while they dine, that invokes the feelings of Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Dean Martin.”

The Wine Collection
Before one reaches Tavolo Wine Bar and Tuscan Grille’s piazza, there is a second bar facing Tavolo’s wine collection which sommelier Leonard proudly displays.  “We will have over five hundred wines on our list with over 40 by-the-glass selections. Our guests can spend from $20 to $2000 per bottle but we will always have over 75 wines at under $40 per bottle,” he says.

“We were avid wine enthusiasts before we opened our first restaurant,” Leonard continued. “We owned a couple of wine and gourmet food shops as well. At Tavolo Providence, our goal is to continue building on a Wine Spectator Award-winning wine list both comprehensive and approachable. With our extensive by-the-glass program we will be one of the only true wine bars in the city.”

“In Smithfield we established Tavolo Wine Bar as a ‘go-to’ destination. Our food philosophy cues our cocktail menu – innovative but with a classic feel. In Providence that will include hard-to-find bourbons and Scotches in addition to the usual cocktails.”

Sherri on Federal Hill: “We chose The Hill to be part of the continued movement to reestablish Federal Hill as a restaurant-first destination. With our Tuscan-inspired cuisine and wines, our warm and polished surroundings, and the added element of live piano music on a regular basis, we have much to offer and welcome many more guests old and new to Tavolo Providence.”

Tavolo’s Signature Dishes
Tavolo’s menu will bring to Federal Hill traditional Italian cuisine with contemporary ideas and trends created by Executive Chef Paul Shire. The chef has been on the leading edge for most of his career, opening the groundbreaking DownCity Food + Cocktails and the popular Oak. Chef Shire’s creativity is all in the family. His aunt is none other than Lydia Shire, the James Beard Award winning chef from Boston.

Signature dishes at Tavolo Wine Bar and Tuscan Grille include:

  • Sauteed Shrimp Pancetta with broccolini, cherry tomato and herb beurre blanc over fresh made spaghetti;
  • Braised Pulled Beef Shank, asparagus tips, cippolini onions, peas, mushrooms and truffle butter over fresh gnocchi;
  • 16oz Grilled Ribeye, Kona Coffee Rub, Purple Fingerling Potato, Brussels Sprouts with demiglace.

The Tavolo menu was designed and created entirely from scratch in house.

Sherri and Leonard invite you to the table at Tavolo Wine Bar and Tuscan Grille, 289 Atwells Avenue on Providence’s Federal Hill, opening this December.

DEM Seeks Early Input on New Farmland Access Program

Third Public Workshop to be Held Next Month

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold a third public workshop on the State’s new Farmland Access Program next month.  The voluntary, pilot program – approved by voters as part of a 2014 environmental bond measure – helps ensure Rhode Island’s farmlands remain in farming. During the workshop, DEM will highlight and gather input on a revised, preliminary outline of the program.

WHAT: Review and Comment on Updated Draft Rules & Regulations for the Rhode Island Farmland Access Program

WHEN: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 – 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street, Providence // Room 300

DEM continues to work across many fronts to strengthen Rhode Island’s green economy and to promote the viability of local agriculture. The state’s green industries account for more than 15,000 jobs and contribute $2.5 billion to the economy each year. And local agriculture continues to be an area ripe for growth – with the number of farms in Rhode Island on the rise and a growing young farmer network. Access to land, however, continues to be a challenge for many farmers.

The Farmland Access Program is one way DEM is addressing this challenge. It allows the Department to partner with the State’s Agricultural Land Preservation Commission and willing sellers to purchase farmland, protect it, and affordably sell it to farmers looking for land. The voluntary program supports farmers by giving landowners an option that will keep historic farmlands available for farming. As part of the 2014 Clean Water, Open Space and Healthy Communities bond measure, $3 million is available for farmland preservation under this program. The program’s formal rulemaking process, which will involve a public comment period, has not yet begun. The public workshops held to date are designed to gather early feedback on the program’s draft regulations. The latest version of the Draft Rules & Regulations is available online and will continue to be updated based on public input.

For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

Sardella’s Family Kitchen Recipe of the Month

Sardella’s Italian Restaurant in Newport, believes recipes were meant to be shared with the world. The Sardella Family has created The Family Kitchen Recipe of the Month, a series of authentic Italian recipes from kitchens of Italian families, or as known in Italian, Ricette Della Cucina de Famiglia.

Each month, a family recipe will be featured as a special for the month at Sardella’s. 10% of the proceeds will go to the King Center of Newport. The recipe with its family history will also be featured in the Sardella’s menu for an entire month, on Facebook and at

Recipes are being accepted from customers, guests and friends of Sardella’s.
A $100 gift card will be awarded each month for the winning recipe of the month.
Recipes and history may be emailed to or mailed to Patrick Fitzgerald, Sardella’s Italian Restaurant, 30 Memorial Blvd West, Newport RI 02840.

The Family Kitchen Recipe of the Month will kick off on January 1, 2017.

Deadline for recipes is December 15, 2016.
To submit a recipe email or mail to Sardellas at 30 Memorial Blvd. West, Newport RI, 02840
For more information, email or call 401-849-6312.

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