The Abbey

Chris’s Review

The cuisine in the good ole’ USA often gets the proverbial “black-eye” from our international counterparts. In comparison to French and Italian cooking methods, American fare is often criticized for being uninspired. As Americans however, we can be enthusiastically proud that the humble hamburger has found an everlasting home in the U.S. – with a very loyal and loving family. We can dress that hamburger up for any event and it’ll be the envy of every diner. Let’s see the French serve a foie gras to celebrate the West Warwick Fireman’s Retirement Dinner!

As I have gotten older and grown (in many ways), my burger preferences continued to evolve. Originally, I was a strictly plain cheeseburger-with-ketchup kind of guy, and then in college an epiphany struck, and “chili” on a hamburger lit my culinary path for the next four years. Upon a move back to “The Rhode” in 2000 with my fiancé, it became apparent that my beloved Chiliburgers were no longer as exciting as I once remembered. Recently, I ventured off to a place that satisfied my craving for high-quality creatively prepared burgers.

The Abbey” on Admiral Street in Providence offers up an exciting variety of 10 oz. burgers as well as an impressive 92 beers –  need I say anymore? Don’t answer that because I have much more to say about this burger Taj Mahal. While at work, I decided to ask my colleague Jeff to join me for “Operation Burger Feast.” After looking at the extensive listing of burgers, we agreed on two burgers for which to split. With the first one, we went relatively safe with the Smokey BBQ Burger (Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and homemade BBQ sauce). Initially we needed to try a burger that was familiar and knew would excellent. With only three toppings, the quality and juiciness of the hand pattied beef was on full display. The Smokey BBQ Burger delivered on every level, and could have given any other BBQ cheeseburger a run for its money.

Our second burger choice was not for the cardiac challenged.  It was designed for a hung-over college student, or at least a chemically enhanced one with the munchies.  Although we were neither of them, it didn’t matter because on this hungry afternoon we were busy pillaging our digestive systems with the “Hair-of- the-Dog That Bit You” burger. It of the most adventurous and rewarding culinary choices I have ever made. This monstrosity contained 10 ounces of beef topped with American cheese, two strips of bacon, a sausage patty, grilled onions and a sunny-side up fried egg. With the delivery of this carnivorous delight, Jeff and I gave each other a brief look of amazement before diving into it.  Everything about this burger worked like a symphony.  The country sausage was the surprising star because of the peppery flavor that came through extremely well in the beef. The perfectly runny egg yolk provided additional moisture and mild flavor which allowed the crisp bacon, onion, and beef to stand out. The freshly toasted roll stood up well to the challenge in keeping this oversized masterpiece together. Jeff and I were so glad that we ate out of our comfort zone because we were treated to a memorable combination of deliciousness.

Not to be forgotten were the Abbey’s fresh-cut shoestring fries.  They were perfectly crisp with a strong potato flavor and some of the best fries I’ve eaten. With 92 beers from which to choose, the options for a belly wash-down were gut busting. The Abbey delivered one great burger at an unbelievable value. At the end of our meal, we discovered that their burgers were half-priced Monday thru Thursday during lunch service only. The Abbey was a pleasant surprise and I can’t wait to work my way through the rest of their menu. God Bless America!!

The Abbey 686 Admiral Street Providence, RI 02908-1442 (401)351-4346


The Mews Tavern

Don’s Review – Spirits in the Rhode

Mews Tavern Wakefield, RI

The significance of an original 1947 painting of the “Colonial Man” that graces the walls of the Mews Tavern in Wakefield, RI serves as an important reminder of a New England history responsible for the popularity of our beloved modern day “Pub.”

In the 16th and into the 17th century water was not safe to drink; it was too dirty, so for ordinary/common people drinking ale or beer was essential for nutrients. Only the poorest people drank water. For the colonists, beer and cider were common. For the wealthy wine and brandy were imported. Rum soon became a popular drink in the late 17th century. In the 18th century tea became popular.

Got Beer - Need Beer

The tavern was multifunctional and offered travelers a place to drink and lodge. It would evolve into a neighborhood mainstay that fostered the latest gossip, news, political banter and religious discussion and debates. The tavern was considered a public necessity, and a town that did not maintain one was subject to fine by the General Court.

Mews Tavern Draft

The Mews Tavern is the home of 69 ice cold draughts…or 67 if you happen to order the Peak Organic Winter Session Ale or the Harpoon 100 Barrel Aged Dunkel. Sadly, they were out of these on a recent visit.  Nonetheless, I was treated to a few brews I was excited to try. The standout for me was the Rogue Captain Sigs Deadliest Ale.  This one is comes from their “rare & limited” selection and gets its namesake from Captain Sigs from the Deadliest Catch TV show.  It’s a red ale with good body and color, and is very well balanced. Its mildly citrus hop finish complemented my Rancho Relaxo wood grilled pizza quite nicely. Rogue brewing has been consistently turning out great beer, and if you can find this one, grab it; it’s a top pick. More readily available in stores is Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale, which is a great introduction to the Rogue family of beers.  I also enjoyed the Berkshire Coffeehouse Nitro Porter. This is a great winter beer and drinks well by itself, but would also pair well with stews, soups or BBQ. My wife liked this one too, as she has become quite a fan of darker brews this year.  Tag ordered the Southern Tier Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout, which we all tried. Opinions on this were mixed- lots of vanilla, caramel and sweetness in this one.  It would no doubt stand toe to toe with some dark chocolate or perhaps a slice of pecan pie.

With such a large and diverse beer menu, the best way to begin at The Mews is to order a “rack” and choose 4 7oz. beers to try. If you do, any appetizer is only $3 bucks, so you can pair some beer and food on the cheap!

The Sampler Rack - Mews Tavern

The Mews proudly embraces the “Colonial Man’s” model of a traditional New England tavern and how it should serve its community – with the comforts of being among  friends and the freedom to express your news.

Got Beer, anyone?

Mews Tavern. 456 Main St. Wakefield, RI 02879-7408. (401) 783-9370

Tag’s Toilet Talk

It’s not that often when one frequents an eating establishment where there are three floors of food, spirits and song, that there are also bathrooms on all levels.  Greetings from one of the six restrooms in the Mews Tavern in Wakefield; no unisex here, one of each on every floor.

The “Bottom” Level:  The smallest of them all (pardon the pun).  This reminds me of New York City restaurant bathrooms.  I didn’t have a tape measure, but would guess the dimensions to be about 4’x 6’.  I don’t think you could lay a full sheet of plywood down flat on the floor, but don’t let that alarm you because when you can’t wait, it delivers with one Kohler urinal and a Sloan Hands Free Sensor Operated Flushometer.  To keep you from getting bored while standing there is a bulletin board on the wall just above the urinal at eye level.  The reading contents should be of no significance because in that position, you’d be happy to read graffiti if it were in front of you. The sink was small but adequate, and a FULL liquid soap dispenser was in proximity to the sink.  So many times the soap just isn’t “right there”.  And the big payoff – HOT running water.  There was a Tork Auto Paper Towel dispenser that was actually filled with a large roll of paper, and a large waste basket for the used paper towel 2-point toss.   The room was well lit, and the door actually locked!   Clean, very nice aroma due in part to the auto spray sanitizer located on the wall high off the floor.  Upon exiting, I happened to notice that right next to me the ladies room with the door open, so “what the heck,”  I quickly ducked in and did a quick scan only to notice the only difference between the men’s room and ladies room on this floor was a toilet in “hers” rather than a urinal in “his”.  I rate these two Bottom Level bathrooms 3 ½ TP rolls out of 5!

The Middle Level:  Two Hands Free Sensor Operated Flushometer urinals with two stalls (one of which was accessible).  Once again the bulletin board with “Mews News” over the two urinals for passing the time – especially appreciated if your enlarged prostate dictates a longer than normal flow-time.  One urinal was at regular adult height while the other was lower for accessibility. Additionally a stainless steel divider in place between the urinals to protect those that turn towards each other when talking and peeing.  The smaller of the stalls lock, two locks to be exact, did not latch properly, either of them.  So you know what that means…… just when you thought it was safe to sit, BAM, the door flies open and who is more embarrassed, you or him?  The stalls had a double TP roll dispenser, and both rolls were full and intact.  Both toilets were manual flush, but here is the BONUS!  These toilets had to have the most powerful flushing power I have ever seen short of the power boost flush toilets.  If you were sitting and your shirt tail was hanging in the water when you flushed, you might get pulled in yourself.  “I can’t wait to get to the upper floor to see if the power will be the same”.  Also, this stall had adequate lighting for reading, just in case you are inclined to take down an article from the bulletin board over the urinals and indulge while you sit.  The main part of this large bathroom had a diaper deck attached to the wall.  It was clean and functional.  Good size sink, liquid soap dispenser, a hand feed paper towel dispenser and good size trash can.  The floor was clean and a fire alarm was noted on the ceiling.  I rate this Middle Level bathroom 4 TP rolls.

The Top Level:  With only one stall on this level, the Kohler toilet had a commercial elongated open front toilet seat.  I immediately went for the flush, and yes, it was the power of Niagara Falls all over again.  I swear if you were sitting and flushed, you might confuse the backsplash as bidet seating – you’d get soaked from all this power!  Piped in music with stainless steel walls and door, with a lock that worked.  There was plenty of room surrounding the toilet, so there was no fear that your knees would touch the sidewalls while sitting.  Two huge TP rolls of paper in the dispenser.  The paper, however, did not seem to have the width as a normal TP roll, and the quality was a little thin, but it was double-ply to give the user piece-of-mind.  Again, two urinals with the bulletin board over them.  In the main area, there was tile on the walls; the floor was clean and dry.  There was a wall mounted stainless soap dispenser, and once again, it was full.  The sink was adequate and the paper towels were full.  There was adequate lighting and again a pleasant smell of air sanitizer.  I rate this Top Level bathroom 4 TP rolls.