News Bites: Castle Hill Inn Introduces Aurelia at Castle Hill / Newport Restaurant Group Donates $64,000 to Local Nonprofits / Celeste Now Open in Narragansett

by David Dadekian

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


Newport’s Castle Hill Inn Announces New Fine Dining Restaurant, Aurelia at Castle Hill, Featuring Six-Course Culinary Experience

Formerly known as The Dining Room at Castle Hill, Aurelia is now open with imaginative dishes utilizing Newport’s local bounty of produce, seafood, and artisanal producers

Aurelia at Castle Hill, photo courtesy of Castle Hill Inn
Aurelia at Castle Hill, photo courtesy of Castle Hill Inn

Castle Hill Inn, the iconic Relais & Châteaux property on Newport’s Ocean Drive, announces Aurelia at Castle Hill, Newport’s newest fine dining restaurant, is now open. With its sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay, there is no better location for a celebration, whether it be a special milestone or anniversary or for celebrating family, friends, or, simply, life.

Known in its original incarnation as The Dining Room at Castle Hill, Aurelia offers a six-course prix fixe menu featuring a seasonal experience focusing on contemporary New England cuisine that is simple, elegant, and ingredient-driven.

“We are thrilled to officially announce Aurelia at Castle Hill, a reimagined dining experience at Castle Hill Inn,” said Brian Young, Managing Director. “Born of our commitment to providing the finest dining experience in Newport, we know our guests will love Aurelia’s unique, six course chef’s tasting menu, taking them on a culinary journey over the two-and-a-half hour experience. Aurelia will offer the same beloved location and exemplary service as The Dining Room, but with an even more elevated ambiance and modern fare.”

Helmed by Chef de Cuisine Dylan Cadrette, Aurelia will offer both a precise, yet playful take on New England cuisine. Having honed his skills at Forbes Five-Star hotels Wheatleigh and Blantyre in The Berkshires, as well as Coast Restaurant in Rhode Island’s The Ocean House, Chef Cadrette is inspired by the world around him, coaxing complex flavors out of garden, land, and sea.

“Our aim is to serve simple and elegant ingredient-driven food, classically derived yet infused with modern techniques and twists,” stated Cadrette.

Aurelia’s name is inspired by the scientific pursuits of Castle Hill’s original owner, Alexander Agassiz. A Harvard professor known as the father of marine biology, Agassiz used his home at Castle Hill as a form of field laboratory, studying the abundant sea life in and around Narragansett Bay. The bay’s moon jellyfish, or Aurelia, was a favorite object of his research. 

Aurelia at Castle Hill sources seafood fished from the waters around Aquidneck Island, fruits and berries from local orchards, and artisanal cheeses. Much of the produce for Aurelia is grown in Castle Hill’s kitchen gardens and greenhouses, nestled among the Inn’s forty acres. The exceptional wine list features more than 800 selections and has been awarded the “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator for ten years running. Wine and house-made non-alcoholic pairings, curated by Aurelia’s sommelier, complement the menu.

Aurelia at Castle Hill is offering dinner service Thursday – Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday) from 5:30 – 9:00pm. Reservations are required and available through Tock. The six-course menu is available at $165 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Wine pairings are available for an added cost.

For more information on Aurelia or to make a reservation, please visit www.aurelianewport.com. For more information or to book a stay at Castle Hill Inn, visit www.castlehillinn.com.


Newport Restaurant Group Donates $64,000 to Local Nonprofits through 2023 Gift Card Donation Program

Jennifer Backman, Executive Chef, Waterman Grille; Eva Agudelo, Founder, Hope’s Harvest and Director of Value Chain Strategy of Farm Fresh; Brooke Warner, Volunteer Accessibility, AmeriCorps VISTA, Farm Fresh RI; and Ally Jennings, Hunger Relief Program Manager, Hope’s Harvest. Photo courtesy of Newport Restaurant Group
Jennifer Backman, Executive Chef, Waterman Grille; Eva Agudelo, Founder, Hope’s Harvest and Director of Value Chain Strategy of Farm Fresh; Brooke Warner, Volunteer Accessibility, AmeriCorps VISTA, Farm Fresh RI; and Ally Jennings, Hunger Relief Program Manager, Hope’s Harvest. Photo courtesy of Newport Restaurant Group

Newport Restaurant Group (NRG), an award-winning collection of unique restaurants and hospitality venues located throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is pleased to announce that it has donated $64,000 to local nonprofits as a result of its annual, year-round gift card program, exceeding last year’s fundraising total by more than $4,000. Through the program, $2.00 from every gift card purchase is donated to area nonprofits fighting food insecurity. Since the program’s inception in 2019, more than $214,000 has been distributed to local agencies.  

“So many of our neighbors face food insecurity on a daily basis, and we are grateful to the wonderful organizations in our region that work tirelessly to provide relief,” said Paul O’Reilly, President and Chief Executive Officer, Newport Restaurant Group. “We are honored to have the opportunity to support this work, and we thank our incredible guests without whom this donation would not be possible.”

The 2023 recipients include the Aquidneck Community TableDr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community CenterRI Community Food Bank, and Hope’s Harvest in Rhode Island, and the Brookline Food Pantry, The Food Project, and Centre Street Food Pantry in Massachusetts. 

“We are so grateful to the Newport Restaurant Group for their years of partnership with Farm Fresh RI,” said Eva Agudelo, Founder, Hope’s Harvest and Director of Value Chain Strategy of Farm Fresh.  “Whether it’s ordering local food for their restaurants or getting their hands dirty gleaning produce, we know the Newport Restaurant Group has a passion for supporting farmers. This generous $8,000 donation to our Hope’s Harvest program will help increase food security for our most vulnerable neighbors and fairly compensate local farmers for food that alleviates hunger. We are so glad that Newport Restaurant Group shares our vision of a Rhode Island where everyone enjoys an abundance of fresh, local food.”

In addition to the financial support, NRG employee owners volunteer with these organizations throughout the year in a variety of ways, from collecting non-perishable food items for the RI Community Food Bank to preparing and serving dinners at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, to harvesting surplus fruits and vegetables at local farms that are distributed to hunger relief agencies through a partnership with Hope’s Harvest.

“The RI Community Food Bank is so grateful to the Newport Restaurant Group for this generous donation,” shared Andrew Schiff, CEO, RI Community Food Bank. “It’s so meaningful for us to receive this kind of support from our state’s restaurant industry. This gift will enable us to provide nutritious food to the 80,000 Rhode Islanders per month who visit our agencies.”

The 2024 gift card program is ongoing and gift cards can be purchased at any NRG property or online at www.newportrestaurantgroup.com.


Celeste, a Coastal European Restaurant from Newport Restaurant Group, Now Open

New concept in Narragansett replaces TRIO Kitchen + Bar 

Celeste Bar, photo by Erin McGinn courtesy of Newport Restaurant Group
Celeste Bar, photo by Erin McGinn courtesy of Newport Restaurant Group

Newport Restaurant Group (NRG), a collection of unique culinary concepts throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is pleased to announce the opening of its newest restaurant in Rhode Island, Celeste. The coastal European concept replaces TRIO Kitchen + Bar at 15 Kingstown Road in Narragansett, which served residents and visitors for 15 years. 

“We are thrilled to open Celeste to the Narragansett community and beyond,” said Jeff Tenner, Director of Concept Development, Newport Restaurant Group. “The refreshed interior and exterior – including a completely reconfigured patio and outdoor bar which will maximize water views – will be complemented by our culinary and beverage teams’ exciting and creative menus. We can’t wait to share Celeste with locals and visitors alike.”

Celeste, which means “heavenly” in both French and Italian, is representative of the elements that inspired the new concept: the Coastal European cuisine it serves, the al fresco dining experiences enjoyed along the coast, and its location near the ocean. The Celeste “mermaid” depicted in the logo is guided by the stars above her as she presents guests with the gifts of the sea.

Celeste’s unique menu, crafted by Executive Chef Andrew Gould and Newport Restaurant Group’s talented culinary team, features a raw bar, an expanded pizza menu, shareable small plates, and entrees steeped in the flavors of coastal Italy, France, and Spain.

Raw Bar items include Local Oysters with mignonette and cocktail sauce; Wild Rhode Island ClamsPoached Shrimp with cocktail sauce; Tuna Crudo served Sicilian style with capers, Castelvetrano olives, anchovy, and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO); Jonah Crab with Calabrian chili vinaigrette, baby gem lettuce, and watermelon radish; and Cured White Anchovy with EVOO and parsley.

Starters include Patatas Bravas with smoky bravas sauce and garlic aioli; Whipped Feta with warm house-made pita and olive relish;Shrimp Sofrito in a slow cooked tomato-garlic sauce with grilled bread; Salt Cod Croquetas with lemon aioli, frisse, and pickled red onion; Moules Marinier with a white wine and mustard-shallot broth and grilled rosemary focaccia; Calamari Fritto Misto with artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, fried lemons, and caper aioli; Saffron Arancini with romesco and Grana Pandana; Lamb Meatballs with tomato ragu, green olive, and feta; and Spicy Cucumber & Carrot with peri peri sauce, almonds, radish, and chervil. 

Salads include a Kale Caesar with kale, romaine, parmesan, and focaccia croutons; Blue Cheese with  frisse, radicchio, endive, fig, blue cheese, pickled onions, and white balsamic mustard vinaigrette;  Chopped Nicoise: romaine, haricot vert, tomatoes, red onion, potatoes, olives, feta, hard-cooked egg, red wine vinaigrette; The Celeste with watercress, arugula, couscous, chickpea, golden raisin, cashew, grilled onion, and Calabrian chili vinaigrette, while soups include Cavala Nero with kale, white bean, and tomato-garlic broth.

Celeste’s pizza menu includes Potato & Rosemary with mozzarella & mascarpone cheese, preserved lemon, roasted onion, and Grana Padano; a Margherita with fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomato, and basil; Spicy Calabrese with San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, and Grana Padano; the Rustico with sweet Italian sausage, rabe, San Marzano tomato, and ricotta; Fig & Prosciutto with Parmesan, EVOO, and arugula; Spinach & Feta with roasted garlic mascarpone, and roasted tomatoes; and the Chicken Peri Peri with peri peri sauce, scallion, and shaved red onion.

Sandwiches include the Prosciutto Bocadillo, featuring Manchego cheese, apricot mustarda, and watercress on toasted ciabatta; Chicken Milanese with pickled onions, arugula, and lemon aioli on ciabatta; Seared Halloumi Pita with green olives, potato, harissa lime vinaigrette, and shredded greens; and a Blackbird Farms Burger topped with aged cheddar, caramelized onion jam, and garlic aioli and served with sea salt fries.

Entrees include Romesco Cod with crispy potatoes, roasted garlicky broccolini, and almond peri peri sauce; Shrimp & Chorizo: seared shrimp, sofrito, chorizo-rice, escalivada vegetables, and cilantro; Whole Roasted Fish stuffed with lemon and herbs, salsa verde, tri-colore salad, and crispy potatoes; Salmon with beluga lentils, haricot vert, and beet vinaigrette; Couscous avec Fruit de Mer with clams, mussels, cod, calamari, fregola, and tomato fennel broth; Moroccan Chicken: a half chicken with couscous, raisins, cashew, roasted cauliflower, and jus; Steak Frites: grilled ribeye, salsa verde, steak fries, and roasted onion; Pasta Genovese: slow-braised beef, penne, and Grana Padano; and Seared Cabbage Tagine with new potatoes, berbere spice, golden raisins, and Castelvetrano olives.

Celeste’s hand-crafted creative cocktails include the Celestial Sangria:  Arvero limoncello, fresh citrus, raspberry vodka, and red wine;  Co Go Slow Pez: Tequila, Mezcal, orange liqueur, lime and coconut;  Spanish Negroni: Mezcal, Turmeon Original Vermouth, house bitter orange liqueur; the Italian Greyhound: Bespoke Gin, Aperol, fresh grapefruit, and lime; and the Number 10: Lunazul Blanco tequila, strawberry, hibiscus, Cointreau, and lime.

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