News Bites: Winner of 2018 Newport Burger Bender / March Madness at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market / Norey’s, Newport Named Great American Beer Bar

by David Dadekian

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

LaForge Casino Restaurant Sweeps the 2018 Newport Burger Bender

The winning restaurant, a Newport institution for more than half a century, wowed diners with The Crowley Burger.

Newport Burger Bender 2018

They took an all-beef patty, cooked it to perfection, topped it with Gruyère cheese, layered it with creminis and tempura cornichons, generously drizzled it with truffle aioli and wedged it all between a buttery brioche bun. And the result won over the hearts and taste buds of Newporters and beyond. LaForge Casino Restaurant’s Crowley Burger, which has now become a part of the regular menu, won the coveted popular vote in the second annual Newport Burger Bender.

“We are thrilled to hear that we have won the Burger Bender Competition!” said James “JR” Rodrigues, the restaurant’s general manager, when informed of the victory. “We are extremely proud of our staff for the effort and support. The Crowley Burger was delicious and proudly honored a great Newport family. Thanks to all who came out for it.”

But the Crowley Burger isn’t the only entry in the spotlight. Providence Journal Food Editor Gail Ciampa has crowned 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grill’s Secret Burger her “Critic’s Choice.”

“Don’t assume the toppings of foie gras and butter-poached lobster are why this was my favorite of the 2018 Burger Bender. No doubt the richness of the ingredients makes this a winning combination on any plate,” said Ciampa. “It was all about the burger, the dripping-with-juice Wagyu dry-aged beef. Made from one the Japanese breeds of beef cattle known for superior marbling, the flavor was amazing, the meat tender. Starting with that beef gave Bowen’s Executive Chef Walter Slater’s burger an edge. Pickled red onion, truffle garlic aioli and house-made pickles are the perfect complementing condiments for the stellar burger on a house-made onion bun. Several restaurants amped up their burgers this year and I loved them all. But nobody did it better than 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille.”

Jamie Coelho, Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly and author of The Dish, the magazine’s monthly newsletter, declared The Wharf Pub’s Antipasti Patty the “Creative Champion.”

“It’s an Italian take on a bacon cheeseburger, subbing in prosciutto and mozzarella in place of bacon and cheddar. The balsamic roasted red peppers, onions and Rhode Island mushrooms gave it an epic presentation while rounding out the flavors with a bit of sweetness from the caramelized vegetables and cherry pepper aioli. The toasted ciabatta roll held up to all the toppings and gave the perfectly cooked burger a nice and sturdy foundation,” said Coelho. “And I’ll never look at French fries the same way again after munching on those truffle tater tots!”

The Newport Burger Bender is now an annual simple burger contest which recognizes the bevy of culinary creativity throughout our destination. There is no participation fee for restaurants nor has there ever been. Participating restaurants must be in Newport or Bristol County, Rhode Island, and this year’s contest was limited to the first 30 restaurants to register. Participants receive complimentary promotional materials including custom menu inserts and Burger Bender coasters. Each entry is photographed and featured on

March Madness at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market

Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market

Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market

March can be a challenging month for local farmers. It signals the start of a long thaw after winter and the beginning of planning for next season’s harvest. Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to support local farms year-round. But March is a time of year when local farmers need your business and support most of all.

To celebrate these local heroes, Farm Fresh Rhode Island is hosting a month of special events at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market, called March Madness. Shop at the market every Saturday in March to enjoy fun events like cooking demos, take advantage of seasonal sales, and participate in a one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt for a chance to win amazing prizes! Participating in March Madness is a great way to support local agriculture, empower small businesses, and build vibrant community with local food at the center of every table.

March Madness: Free Events
Demos and Food Pairing to be held in the New Harvest Coffee Roasters Training Room, Hope Artiste Village Suite 110, during the farmers market.

  • Every Saturday in March, 9a-1p – Scavenger Hunt through the Market!
  • March 3, 10a – Cooking Demo by Harvest Kitchen
  • March 10, 10:30a – Beer Tasting by Revival Brewing Company
  • March 17, 10a – Local Producers Spotlight by Hope & Main
  • March 24, 10a – Cooking and Ceramics Demo by the African Alliance of Rhode Island
  • March 31, 10a – Coffee Roasting Demos by the New Harvest Coffee Roasters

The Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market is open every Saturday, 9a–1p, until April 29. Located in two spacious hallways of the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI, it is easily accessed via the R-Line bus and off-street parking is available. For more information:

Norey’s, Newport Named’s Great American Beer Bar in Rhode Island

Norey’s, Newport has been recognized as the best beer bar in Rhode Island in the annual Great American Beer Bars competition conducted by —the Brewers Association website for beer lovers.

With more than 4,100 small and independent craft brewers operating in the country, there are more options than ever to enjoy great beer. To help beer lovers navigate their way to the best places they can take advantage of this phenomenon, readers were recently polled to determine the best beer in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

“ readers know craft beer and 9,000 of them took the time to cast their vote rewarding their favorite beer bar in each state,” said Julia Herz, publisher of “Cheers to each of the winners and the ever-increasing diversity of our local beer movement here in the U.S.”


Anne Reed March 26, 2018 - 3:48 am

Thanks Eat Drink RI!

David Dadekian March 26, 2018 - 9:27 am

You’re welcome!


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