News Bites: Wright’s Farm Restaurant Celebrates 50 Years / Newport Restaurant Group Announces 18 Promotions and New Hires / Blackstone Valley Culinary News

by David Dadekian
Published: Updated:

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

Wright’s Farm to Host ‘Anniversary Fling’ Customer Appreciation Event

Wright’s Farm Restaurant’s traditional Spring Fling Shopping Event will be transformed into a celebratory customer event to mark the restaurant’s 50th anniversary

Wright's Farm Restaurant's 50th Anniversary

Wright’s Farm Restaurant, located at 84 Inman Road in Burrillville, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As part of the celebration, the Gift Shop will host a customer appreciation event, instead of its signature Spring Fling, on Friday, June 3rd from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Customers are encouraged to visit for more information.

Shoppers will enjoy special treats, discounts, promotions, and opportunities to win raffle baskets, prizes, surprises from the Wheel of Wow Giveaways and additional fun. 

“For five decades, we’ve proudly hosted families as they celebrated important milestones,” said Frank Galleshaw III, Owner. “From birthdays, graduations to anniversaries, we have enjoyed celebrating with our customers, many of whom have become like family. We deeply appreciate the community making Wright’s Farm a part of their lives throughout the years, and we look forward to celebrating them during our Anniversary Fling.” 

Wright’s Farm, known as a gathering spot for generations of families to come together and enjoy a delicious homemade meal served family style, and shop for unique items in the Gift Shop, has been family-owned and operated for 50 years. 

Wright’s Farm’s Gift Shop carries the latest fashion accessories and jewelry trends from Luca + Danni, Spartina 449, Vera Bradley, John Medeiros, Dune, and Cape Cod Jewelry to name a few; as well as a selection of unique gifts, toys and a delightful array of candies, gourmet truffles and Wright’s Farm fudge, made on the premises.

Newport Restaurant Group Announces 18 Promotions and New Hires for Senior-Level Positions

Newport Restaurant Group (NRG), an award-winning collection of unique restaurants and hospitality venues located throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is pleased to announce the hiring and promotion of 18 employee-owners. NRG is the only employee-owned hospitality company in Rhode Island and offers full-coverage benefits, food and beverage discounts, generous time off and opportunities for career advancement. 

“This is the most significant round of hiring we’ve done in our history, demonstrating the strength of our company, even after two years of setbacks due to the pandemic,” said Kristin Allain, Director of Human Resources.  “It’s a true testament to our unique employee-ownership model and our strong leadership that we have been able to attract and retain talent, despite the labor shortage which reaches far beyond the hospitality industry.”


Alia Asher of Westport, MA has been promoted to executive sous chef at the Boat House in Tiverton.  Prior to her new role, she was sous chef at 22 Bowen’s in Newport, and had also worked at a local slaughterhouse in Massachusetts, and in numerous positions at restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, FL, including line cook, kitchen supervisor, and sous chef at the Riverside Hotel, sous chef at the Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grill, and chef de cuisine at the Boathouse at The Riverside.  Alia is a native of Kingston, Jamaica and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Paul Sousa of North Providence, RI has been promoted to general manager at Bar ‘Cino and La Vecina, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the neighboring restaurants in Newport’s Washington Square.  Paul joined NRG in 2014 as a restaurant manager at Hemenway’s before taking the helm at Waterman Grille.  Prior to joining NRG, he managed Cafe Paragon and Viva on Thayer Street in Providence. Paul holds a degree in Business Management from Rhode Island College.

Tobey Sanborn, an NRG veteran, has been named director of training, responsible for meeting strategic objectives related to training and development of all staff members with a focus on succession planning.  Prior to joining NRG, Tobey held various roles at the Capital Grille and Back Bay Restaurant Group, and then served as general manager of Hemenway’s before it was purchased by NRG in 2009.  He has since held various roles within NRG consisting of oversight of management training programs, the acquisition of the Papa Razzi locations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Waterman Grille, and the Boat House.  Tobey is a past member of the board of directors of the RI Hospitality Association and is committed to several fundraising initiatives with RI Community Food Bank, Save The Bay, and the Ronald McDonald House in Providence.

Celia Darragh of Johnston, RI has been named general manager of Trio in Narragansett, responsible for managing all operations of the restaurant. Celia joined NRG in 2017 as a dining room supervisor at The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar and worked her way up to assistant general manager in February 2021 before being promoted to her new position.  Prior to joining NRG, she worked as an assistant restaurant manager for the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Newport, overseeing the property’s five food and beverage outlets.  Celia holds an associate degree in Baking and Pastry Arts and a bachelor’s in Restaurant Management from Southern New Hampshire University.

Gary Morrison of South Grafton, MA has been named regional manager and is responsible for directing and overseeing management activities of assigned Business Units (BU) by partnering with general managers (GM) to maximize profits through efficiencies, policy, and best practices. Prior to joining NRG in 2012, Gary was a general manager and then regional manager for Back Bay Restaurant Group. 

Greg Coccio of East Greenwich, RI has been named corporate executive chef, responsible for training culinary teams on advanced cooking techniques, quality assurance, implementation and training with regards to new culinary objectives, and operational support for every restaurant.  Chef Coccio has been with NRG since 2010, first as kitchen supervisor and most recently executive chef at Avvio in Cranston.  Prior to joining NRG, he was an executive chef for Tavistock Restaurant Group and the executive sous chef at CBS Scene.

New Hires:

Jarrod Carter of Attleboro, MA has been named Inventory control manager.  The Johnson & Wales University graduate previously worked as director of operations at High Limb Cider and as systems manager and beverage manager at G Hospitality.

Jason Messier of Pawtucket, RI has been named human resources manager, responsible for special projects within the human resources department.  He attended Rhode Island College and has worked in various HR capacities for Peak Event Services, Russell Morin Catering & Events, and Blount Fine Foods.

Jay Nearhoof of Taunton, MA has been named Assistant general manager of the Mooring Restaurant.  He attended the University of Rhode Island and was most recently assistant general manager at Splitsville and Howl at the Moon in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Prior to that, he held a variety of positions over the course of five years at the Splitsville and Howl at the Moon locations at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Massachusetts, starting as a busser and working his way up to assistant general manager 

Jeff Tenner of Narragansett, RI has been named director of concept development, responsible for idea generation and the development and business implementation of new concepts and production practices, with a focus on balancing current values with emerging trends and new opportunities. Prior to joining NRG, the 25-year hospitality industry veteran, served as the vice president of food and beverage and head of restaurant operations for Spyce, a Boston-area restaurant start-up powered by robotics & automation. He helped lead the organization to their recent acquisition by Sweetgreen. 

Laura Schnaible of Marlborough, MA, has been named recruiting director.  Prior to joining NRG, she was a teacher, and then human resources representative at The New England Center for Children where she served children and young adults with autism.  A native of Indiana, she graduated from Valparaiso University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and holds a Master of Science in Education from Simmons University.  She is also a Society of Human Resource Management certified professional.

Lisa Knowles of Middletown, RI has been named show director, overseeing sales, marketing, and operations for the Newport International Boat Show.  Prior to joining NRG, Lisa worked in landscape design, responsible for logistics, graphics, drafting, and on-site operations.  She holds a degree in Plant & Soil Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is a certified crowd manager and is a past board member of the RI Marine Trades Association.

Robin Pearson of Newport has been named digital marketing manager, responsible for NRG’s digital strategy and presence, as well as its robust customer loyalty campaigns.  Prior to joining NRG, Robin worked in marketing and strategy for Reebok and Samsonite. She is a graduate of George Washington University.

Steve DeLuca of Pembroke, MA has been named the general manager of Foodlove Market, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the chef-crafted marketplace and cafe, including strategic direction, financials, inventory management, and more. He holds a Master of Science in Organizational Development and a Master of Business Administration from Bridgewater State University.

Tony Ojih of North Providence, RI has been named staff accountant, responsible for maintaining, reviewing, and preparing financial records and assisting with auditing and reconciling accounts. Prior to joining NRG, he worked in various accounting positions at TD Bank, Finish Line, the Town of Lincoln (RI), and Dunkin’. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Rhode Island College.

Christine Coogan of Milford, MA has been named General Manager of Papa Razzi Wellesley, responsible for leading the store and management team, hiring and developing new staff members, and the guest experience. Prior to joining NRG, Christine worked as the assistant general manager for the Barking Crab in Boston’s Seaport district as well as Back Bay Restaurant Group. 

Cindy Vigneau of Coventry, RI has been named benefits & compensation manager, responsible for the oversight of all benefit and compensation plan administration, the development of various employee benefit plans, and the maintenance and evolution of the company’s compensation plan.  Cindy brings 30 years of finance and HR experience, across a variety of industries, to her new role.   She holds a degree in Principles of Financial Management/Basic Accounting I/Basic Accounting II from the Community College of Rhode Island.

Cori Desmond of Bristol, RI has been named inventory & menu systems administrator, responsible for supporting the inventory & menu systems manager in creating and maintaining the inventory back-end systems for all business units within NRG.  Cori holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island.Additional positions are currently available at Castle Hill Inn, 22 Bowen’s, The Mooring, Smoke House, and Foodlove Market and include a variety of front and back-of-house positions including: managers, servers, hosts, bussers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, banquet staff, valets, baristas and cashiers.  Candidates who are interested but cannot attend the summer job fair are welcome to apply online by visiting:

Blackstone Valley Culinary News – May 19, 2022

Shish Kebob
555 Smithfield Avenue, Pawtucket

Shish Kabob, the only Persian restaurant in Rhode Island, has opened in Pawtucket.  (The space was previously inhabited by a restaurant call Shish Kebob but serving Lebanese food – two different places).  Be transported to another part of the world while eating authentic shish kabob and other grilled meats, Chicken and/or Beef Koobideh (grilled meat served with basmati rice and grilled tomato), Kashk Bademjoon (Persian Eggplant Dip), Falafel (a vegetarian option), platters, wraps, salads and, of course, for dessert – baklava.   

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

The May Trachtenabend will be on Friday, May 20.  This month’s special menu features Brandenburg-style pork with green beans and potatoes.  Pre-purchased meal tickets are not necessary this month.  

Here are a couple of great weekend brunch suggestions in Pawtucket:  

Craft Burgers and Beer
342 East Avenue, Pawtucket  02860

Craft Burgers and Beer offers brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm.  In addition to their brunch menu, their full menu is available.   

Boundary Kitchen & Bar
67 Garrity Street, Pawtucket  02861

Boundary has just started doing Sunday brunch.  Stop by between 11 am and 2 pm or make a reservation for indoor or patio dining.  Here’s the Brunch Menu for May 22.  And the bar will be serving your favorite brunch beverages too – mimosas, bloody Marys and more!   And their specials for Thursday, Friday and Saturday look delish!  Boundary Special Menu

Crooked Current Brewery
560 Mineral Spring Avenue
Pawtucket  02860

Yelp did a survey and announced the best brewery in each state.  Check out the article:  

Best Brewery in Each State.  The Best in Rhode Island is Crooked Current Breweryfounded by two native Rhode Islanders.  They are open on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 8 pm and Saturday from 1-5 pm (closed Sunday).  They are in a great location with other food and drink venues, such as White Dog DistillingJA Patty, and Ming’s Asian Street Food.   You can eat and drink your way around 560 Mineral Spring Avenue!  

1537 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket  02861

Mark your calendar and get your reservations!  Spumoni’s presents The Comedy Factory and an Italian buffet!  For only $45 you’ll see a fabulous show with comedians from The Comedy Factory, the buffet, and tax and tip are included.  It will be Sunday, June 5, 2022 at 12:30 pm (doors open), buffet at 1:00 pm and show at 2:00 pm.  Call the number above to make your reservations before they sell out!   Spumoni’s and The Comedy Factory

Atrium on Main 
285 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI  02860

Here’s an idea for a nice afternoon in June – a great meal at Atrium on Main and then head to their Art Battle® event.  It’s a live painting tournament and you can be the judge!  Watch as local artists compete in 3 rounds of just 20 minutes each, transforming blank canvases into beautiful piece of art.  Then you can vote to help determine the winner of the event.  All artwork will be available in a silent auction.  Art Battle® is an event that happens in cities around the world.  How cool that the city of Pawtucket in a part of this!!!!   It happens on Sunday, June 12.  Doors open at 1 pm and the show starts at 2 pm.  Tickets are $25 for general admission or a $40 ticket includes a buffet.  Art Battle® Tickets

And Atrium on Main has updated their hours (expanding their lunch hours) as follows:  Tuesday – 11 am to 4 pm (take out and delivery only); Wednesday – 4 pm to 8 pm; Thursday – 12 noon to 8 pm; Friday and Saturday – 12 noon to 10 pm.  Sunday and Monday – closed.  

White Dog Distilling
560 Mineral Spring Avenue
Pawtucket  02860

Have you seen this post from the White Dog Distilling Facebook page?  Very interesting……

Ever wonder about the difference between moonshine and vodka? Both are usually clear, neutral tasting spirits consumed in a variety of ABV’s and come with a lot of misconceptions. Despite their similarities there are also a lot of distinctions, so let’s take a look at some: 

Vodka and moonshine are both classified by the government as “neutral spirits” and therefore defined as, “Spirits distilled from any material at or above 95% ABV and, if bottled, bottled at not less than 40% ABV. Vodka is specifically distilled or treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials so as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color. Moonshine on the other hand is a Neutral Grain Spirit (NGS) and is defined as being “distilled from a fermented mash of grain”; interestingly the government also stipulates that an NGS can be stored in oak containers (aka barrel aged), although often this is not the case with moonshine. As we often point out moonshine is a pretty broad term that can be used as a catchall for any spirit not easily defined, therefore NGS only makes up one section of the moonshine spectrum.

Check out their “Pack Experiences” and Menu HERE

Ye Olde English Fish & Chips
25 South Main Street, Woonsocket  02895

Happy 100th Anniversary to Ye Olde English Fish & Chips!  Celebrate with them from Wednesday, May 25 to Friday, May 27 and enjoy their specials:  

Wednesday:  2 orders of Fish Cakes and Chips and 2 small sodas – $10

Thursday:  2 orders of Fish Burgers and Chips, plus 2 small sodas – $10

Friday:  2 orders of small Fish & Chips, 2 small clam chowders and 2 small sodas – all for $19.22!

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