The owners of Red Stripe, a popular restaurant near Wayland Square in Providence, are opening a second restaurant at 455 Main Street, formerly Caprice. They plan to renovate the outside to match the look of the Providence eatery and hope to open in July.
The Red Stripe team won easy approval from the Historic District Commission Wednesday night. The building, the original home of Thorpe’s Liquors before being transformed into a restaurant in the 1990s, is decidedly not historic. However, all buildings in the historic district – regardless of age – must get approval of the HDC before exterior changes are made.
In this case, members applauded the changes, which include wood paneling, windows that open out, a striped awning and a giant fork lying on its side above the awning. The fork is an emblem of Red Stripe and the owners’ other restaurant, Mills Tavern, also in Providence.
Red Stripe – “an American Brasserie” – serves “comfort food with a French influence,” including steak frites, shepherd’s pie, mussels prepared several different ways, fish, and pasta dishes (this is Rhode Island, after all).
Managing partner Paul Conforti said they are opening on Main Street because it seemed a good fit.
“It’s the right clientele. It’s an opportunity to expand a concept that’s very successful in Providence,” he said. “It just sort of worked out for us that this opportunity came before us at a time that we were ready to jump at it.”
Caprice, an Italian restaurant, closed its doors in April.
Red Stripe expanded once before – to the Salt Pond Shopping Center in Narragansett – but closed that restaurant after a little more than a year.
“In Narragansett, it was a different location, a different time, a different leadership team involved,” said Conforti. It was also a very seasonal business.
“East Greenwich “is just a different situation for us,” he said.
General manager Stan Kachnowicz agreed: “We’re more of a family, very kid-friendly, very casual, neighborhood restaurant all year-round.”
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