News Bites: Rhode Island Spirits Wins Gold / Blackstone Valley Culinary News / Polaris MEP Seeks Advisory Board Members

by David Dadekian

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

Rhodium Forager’s Gin Wins Gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Forager's Gin with San Francisco World Spirits Competition medal

Rhodium Forager’s Gin by Rhode Island Spirits has won a San Francisco World Spirits Gold Medal! Announced today, the award is our first gold (Forager’s won silver from American Distilling Institute and silver from American Craft Distilling Institute last year).

A unique botanical gin, Forager’s features a range of ingredients wild foraged from the coasts and valleys of Rhode Island. Its herbaceous and floral notes stem from local fresh juniper from family farms, wild foraged elderberry from the Blackstone Valley, red clover and rose hips from the Rhode Island coasts and other fresh RI grown botanicals.

“We really wanted to capture the character of Rhode Island’s extraordinary farms and wild spaces to flavor a distinctive spirit. We get frequent praise from customers in the Tasting Room, and it’s exciting to see Forager’s gaining national recognition,” said co-owner Kara Larson.

Rhodium brand gins, vodkas & liqueurs feature fresh, farmed and foraged ingredients in every bottle. Organic, gluten free, and packed with real ingredients and flavors, the spirits are uniquely the spirits of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Spirits is the home of Rhodium brand premium gins, vodkas, and liqueurs. The company is the brainchild and full time occupation of Cathy Plourde & Kara Larson, who are the founders, owners, and distillers. 

Rhode Island Spirits makes:

  • Rhodium Classic Gin
  • Rhodium Forager’s Gin
  • Rhodium Classic Vodka
  • Rhode Island Red Vodka
  • Rhodium Coffee & Black Walnut Vodka
  • Rhodium Limoncello
  • Rhodium Grapefruitcello

… all of which are available statewide in RI and MA.

“We believe in offering unique flavors and distinctive spirits. Our commitment to gluten free, organic, and kosher products is rooted in a belief that everyone should be able to enjoy premium spirits that work with their needs. We forage botanical ingredients and partner with local small farms because we value the uniqueness of Rhode Island and the Blackstone Valley. We seek to make spirits here that could be made nowhere else.” Kara & Cathy RI Spirits owners

RI Spirits owners Cathy Plourde & Kara Larson, photo by Trevor Holden
RI Spirits owners Cathy Plourde & Kara Larson, photo by Trevor Holden

Blackstone Culinary News – April 14-20, 2022

Early Birds
29 Winter Street, Lincoln, RI  02838

Head to Early Birds for some great Friday Lenten Specials:  Fish & Chips, Baked Haddock, Fried Bay Scallops, Salmon Pie, Stuffies, and Clam Chowder.  They’ll be open Easter Sunday (for breakfast only).  

Adeline’s, A Speakeasy Kitchen Bar
2352 Mendon Road, Cumberland, RI  02864

Congratulations to Adeline’s, A Speakeasy Kitchen and Bar, winner (again) of the Annual Poutine Indulgence!  Stop in at Adeline’s, order the poutine and taste why they won!

German-American Cultural Society of Rhode Island
78 Carter Avenue, Pawtucket  02861

The April Trachtenabend dinner is coming up this Friday, April 15 from 7 to 11 pm.  The menu this month will feature roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots for $15.00.  There is still time to get your tickets.  For more information and tickets, click HERE

Val’s English Tea & Pie Shop
466 Putnam Pike
Greenville  02828

New Restaurant Alert!  Val’s English Tea and Pie Shop has opened!  Check out their fantastic website for anything you’ve ever wanted to know about an English tea service.  In addition to a variety of teas, there are treats – sweet and savory – you can choose to go with your tea.  Can’t wait to try this place – it sounds unique and wonderful!  Click HERE to make reservations.  They are also doing a fundraising tea to help the Ukrainian refugees on May 1.  Click HERE for more information and reservations for that fundraiser.  

Notes Coffee Co.
508 Armistice Blvd., Pawtucket 02861

Notes Coffee Co. has announced their first Makers Market event!  The event will take place on Friday, April 22nd, from 6pm to 9pm. The Makers Market is a part of a series of community events hosted by the Notes.  Owner Yesenia Rubio says this event will celebrate “Earth Day and Diversity Month by increasing awareness of diverse Markers’ crafts, cultures, skills and environmental sustainability practices”.  Vendors that will be at the event include:  The Healing Room, Heybaglady/Chico Honey, GMR Prints, Cedez Tarot, Raw Thingz, Plntbaby Jewelry, Bad Influence, Crafts by Liz, Inspire Me by RG and Rocky’s Root Care.  

Smug Brewing
100 Carver Street, Pawtucket  02860

Here’s what’s happening at Smug this week:  

4/14 – Open 3 to 9 pm with Trivia and Nanu the Burmese Fusion

4/15 – Open 3 to 9 pm with The Perfect Empanada

4/16 – Open 1 to 10 pm with Pierogitory

4/17 – Closed on Easter

As of April 13, there is a new beer available at Smug!  They’ve planned ahead for Cinco de Mayo and are introducing Pollo Picante (in cans).  They describe it as a “beautifully made mango sour brewed with fresh lime zest, fresh jalapeño and Mediterranean sea salt.”

Coffee & Cream Breakfast Restaurant
900 Victory Highway, North Smithfield, RI  02896

One of our favorite breakfast (and lunch and drinks) places is Coffee & Cream.  It should be one of your favorites too.  Let’s let everyone know how great the staff, food and drinks are at Coffee and Cream by voting for them in the RI Monthly Best of RI 2022.  Click HERE to vote.  Scroll down and enter your vote for Coffee & Cream under “Breakfast”.   And while you’re there, fill in other Blackstone Valley venues for the other categories too!.  

Yovanis Pizzeria 
40 Macondray Street, Cumberland  02864

Yovanis serves pizza, of course, as well as sandwiches, soups, quesadillas, pasta and desserts, but have you seen their Fried Seafood Platter?  It looks so good!   Check out their MENU – they deliver up to 14 miles.

Johnny’s Victory Diner
2731 Victory Highway, Burrillville, RI  02830

Vote for Johnny’s in the RI Monthly “Best of RI” in the breakfast category!  Click on Best of RI – VOTE.   Scroll down the page to the Breakfast category (make sure you are in the Blackstone Valley section) and vote for Johnny’s Victory Diner!  Voting ends April 30.  

And….Johnny’s BBQ Season (that’s award-winner BBQ) starts on May 6 and runs to October 28 – every Friday until 9 pm (BBQ starts at 2 pm).  There will be specialty drinks and live music on the deck, complete with lights and a tiki bar!  For more information, the music lineup, and other events where you’ll find the fine folks from Johnny’s click HERE

Harvest Kitchen
2 Bayley Street, Pawtucket, RI  02860

Harvest Kitchen’s April Take-Home Dinner for Two is an Italian Picnic!   Order by 4/22 for pickup at Harvest Kitchen on 4/29 (10 am to 6 pm).  Italian Picnic Menu

Riviera Restaurant
580 N. Broadway, East Providence  02914

Secrets in the Kitchen is back at the Riviera Restaurant and the topic is “The Art of Charcuterie”.  On May 10, 2022 at 6:30 pm, you’ll design your own charcuterie plate, enjoy your creation and taste some wines from Portugal and a cheese flight.  If you guess what they have already paired together, you’ll win a bottle of wine!  Call the number above to reserve your place.  Payment of $40 per person will be taken over the phone.  Click on their Facebook page link and scroll down for more information and great pictures:  Riviera Facebook

Smug Brewing
100 Carver Street, Pawtucket  02860

Mark your calendars for these great events coming up at Smug Brewing:   

Bonsai and Brews! April 23rd – TICKETS AVAILABLE!

Every attendee will be able to select their own tropical bonsai tree and pot and be provided with the tools to prune, pot, and design the tree under the instruction of a bonsai expert. 

Paint and Sip! April 30th

Up next is a Nordic Bottle Lantern! This beachy design will *brighten* any mantle, shelf or table once complete. Tickets include a Smug brew!

RIDEA Craft Beer Festival – May 14th

Sample beer, wine, cocktails and food from local producers who are committed to making the beverage scene a safer and more diverse space to work and play.

Pasta Demo – May 22nd

Join Alex from Newport Pasta Company for a somewhat hands-on experience making different pasta shapes with different machines, tools or by hand. 

St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center
84 Cumberland Street, Woonsocket, RI  02895

The 10th Annual Breakfast with the Saints to benefit St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center is back!  Enjoy an elegant breakfast buffet under the largest collection of fresco paintings in North America.  You’ll be treated to a piano performance during the breakfast by Rev. Ernest Batten.  Tours will also be available of this fascinating site!  Tickets for the breakfast are $20 in advance, $25 at the door ($10 for ages 6-12 at the door only and ages 5 and under are free at the door only).  For more information, to order tickets online or to find out where tickets are available in the community for purchase for this and other upcoming events at St. Ann’s:  Breakfast With The Saints

Rhode Island Spirits
59 Blackstone Avenue, Pawtucket  02860

Congratulations to RI Spirits!  Their Rhodium Forager’s Gin has taken a gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2022!  Stop in and taste for yourself why their Forager’s gin won gold – and participate in their upcoming events:   

Friday, April 29, 2022 from 6 to 8 pm – Cheese and Cocktail Pairing.  You’ll learn from Edgewood Cheese staff about their cheese as well as learn about the cocktails paired with the cheese from the distillers.  Tickets

Sunday, May 8, 2022 – 1 pm – Mother’s Day donuts from Allie’s and Boozy Coffees, Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas.  No reservations required but donuts available while they last.  

Friday, May 20, 2022 – 6:30 to 8 pm – Distillery Trivia.  Bring your friend for Team Trivia to compete for the top prize of either a $25 gift card or a bottle of your favorite spirit to take home.  Come early to get a table.  

Click HERE for even more upcoming events at Rhode Island Spirits!

Murphy’s Law 
2 George Street, Pawtucket, RI  02860

Starting May 1, 2022 it’s patio season at Murphy’s Law with live music on the patio every Sunday from 2 to 5 pm.  Stop in to enjoy some of their great food and music too!  Try some traditional Irish pub food – fish and chips, bangers and mash or Shepherd’s Pie and more – check out their MENU

Polaris MEP Seeks Advisory Board Members to Move RI Manufacturing Forward

Polaris MEP

Non-profit consulting group Polaris MEP, the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Center, is growing, and seeks to grow its Advisory Board to support its mission to strengthen and empower RI’s small and medium-sized manufacturers. 

“Challenges like COVID, the global supply chain squeeze and local labor shortages are driving an exciting period of innovation and change,” said Kathie Mahoney, Polaris MEP Center Director. “Polaris MEP is uniquely positioned to support this evolution, and we’re looking for forward-thinking industry leaders to help us move Rhode Island manufacturing forward.”

The MEP is in the process of finalizing the first-ever “State of RI Manufacturing” report which identifies trends, challenges and opportunities for the sector. Mahoney notes that early analysis indicates RI manufacturers will increasingly adopt automation, industry 4.0 technologies, diversity initiatives and other “next generation” initiatives.

“Polaris MEP is diversifying to meet the needs of our manufacturing community. We’ve been adding to our team of experienced consultants and forming new strategic partnerships. And, now, we’re expanding our Advisory Board,” said Mahoney.

Those interested in applying should visit to learn more.

Polaris MEP is an affiliate of the national NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership and a non-profit business unit of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. 

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