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Want a late-night bite? You have a few options in Providence

Like other foodie cities across New England, Providence is struggling to bring late-night kitchens back to the forefront.

A restaurant staff member takes a moment to rest their feet inside a delicatessen.JUTHARAT PINYODOONYACHET/NYT

This story first appeared in Globe Rhode Island’s Food & Dining newsletter, a free weekly email about Rhode Island’s restaurant industry that also contains information about local events, Q&As with chefs, dining guides, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail each Thursday, you can sign up here.

New England is lucky enough to have several cities that attract travelers looking to eat well. But on a recent trip to Portland, Maine, I realized that the foodie destination is a city that does, indeed, sleep. Walking the cobblestones of Old Port, the neighborhood — known for award-winning restaurants like Eventide Oyster Co. and Central Provisions — was eerily quiet, and it wasn’t even 10 p.m. yet.

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The next night, we were sitting at the bar at Fore Street Kitchen, enjoying the final bites of a blueberry and vanilla cake with sweet corn ice cream after a fantastic multi-course meal. It was a little after 9:30 p.m. and we were among the last guests at the restaurant that weekday night. A couple walked in and we heard the server explain their kitchen was closed and there was no where to really get a “solid meal” after 10 p.m. in the city.

It reminded me of Providence.

Labor shortages, fueled by pandemic burnout and a mass exodus of the hospitality industry, are a major reason why restaurants are closing so early, Rhode Island Hospitality Association president and CEO Dale Venturini told me recently. “It’s hard, and I really don’t know when the restaurants will be able to stay open later,” she said.

Jonathon Kirk, the owner of Masa Taqueria, a food truck and pop-up inside Rock & Rye on Federal Hill, said things were a little different before the pandemic. Then, restaurants were more apt to have late-night bites available at bars. Now he said, “gentrifiers” complain about businesses being open late and them potentially attracting “bad crowds” outside of their apartments.”

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Late-night crowds are part of living in a city,” said Kirk, who has recently been popping up at newly-opened Kimi’s Bar on the West End, cooking tacos outside from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. certain weekends. “And Providence use to be such a sick late-night city.”

So will late-night eats ever make a comeback? I think — and hope — we will eventually. There are a few restaurants that are already making the effort.

If you’re looking for restaurants who are doing the work and serving full meals past 10:30 p.m., here are a few options.

The Olneyville mushroom sandwich at The Red Door on Peck Street in Providence.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

THE RED DOOR

The Red Door, which opened in the same storefront as “Thee” Red Fez last December, serves tasty plates until midnight every night.

”We really found the gaps that needed to be filled — for late-night food and in style — and have just plugged away at them,” said Jimmy James Caruso, the bar’s chef. “I think that’s the best part of all of this: How much can we stand out?” 49 Peck St., 401-258-3660, reddoorpvd.com.

A Boursin Toast with beet and ginger cured salmon topped with chives at The Slow Rhode, a New American spot in Providence, Rhode Island.The Slow Rhode

SLOW RHODE

When it comes to late-night food in Providence, The Slow Rhode, a New American spot, is a staple, serving Southern small plates until 12:30 a.m. every night.

“We were supposed to be more of a bar than a restaurant, but it naturally morphed into what it is now. And I think a lot of that is due to the lateness of our kitchen,” said co-owner James Dean on a call last week. “We aren’t setting the world on fire by any means, but we were leaning into something different and it’s working.”

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Dean and his partners also own Broadway Bistro, an American comfort food spot that serves seasonal, locally-sourced plates. 425 W Fountain St., facebook.com/theslowrhode.

A Pulpo dish with jicama, pineapple, cucumber, and a citrus-chilhuacle oil dressing from Dolores, a regional Mexican restaurant in the Fox Point neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island.HANDOUT

DOLORES

Dolores, named after the owner’s grandmother, serves plates from the Mixteca Region in Oaxaca, Mexico. Joaquin Meza, an owner, recently expanded their hours for a special late-night menu after he saw sales increase right before closing time throughout the summer.

“Being short staffed does not allow us to run a full menu late, so we decided to make a small menu specifically for a late crowd,” said Meza. They’re staying open one hour longer, and their late-night menu of tacos, caldo de pollo, chilaquiles, and other dishes, will be available for that hour. 100 Hope St., 401-409-2075, dolorespvd.com.

A cocktail at Saje Kitchen, a restaurant in Providence.HANDOUT

SAJE KITCHEN

Saje Kitchen is a two-floor restaurant on Federal Hill that’s owned by Jessica Wilkin, who previously bartended at various nightclubs throughout Boston. At the bar, Wilkin serves cocktails that use herbs she grows in her backyard, such as her tequila lemonade where the simple syrup used is infused with fresh lavender buds. In the kitchen, everything has a bit of a southern twist, like island coconut shrimp, bourbon butter chicken and waffles, and Carolina shrimp and grits. Their kitchen closes at 10:45 p.m. on the weekdays, but serves until nearly midnight on the weekends. 332 Atwells Ave., 401-473-0504, sajekitchen.com.

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Ceviche de Mercado at Ceviches by Divino in Providence.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

CEVICHES BY DEVINO

Ceviches by Divino, a Peruvian gastropub on the ground floor of the River House in the Jewelry District, is operated by partner and certified sommelier Ali Alejandro Quero, who has been heavily involved with their beverage program. Each of their cocktails is made with pisco, which is an unaged brandy made from fermented Peruvian grape juices and musts with herbal and earthy tones that remind me of tequila. If you want to try various forms of the liquor, order a pisco flight. Their tapas bar and ceviche are available until midnight every day. 11 Point St., 401-281-8130, cevichesbydivino.com.

Protege Luigi "GiGi" Sabino, a server at Bonnano. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

BONANNO VINICOLA

Bonanno Vinicola a Federal Hill eatery by chef and owner Armando Bisceglia, opened during the pandemic. Their kitchen is open until midnight every night, and it’s not unusual to see the place fill up after 10 p.m. with hospitality workers from all the nearby restaurants. 256 Atwells Ave., 401-575-6047, bonannopvd.com.

CONGRESS TAVERN

A classic gastropub, Congress Tavern serves all the classic pub grub like tacos, burgers, loaded salads, and other specials to serve alongside brew pints and margaritas. Their full kitchen menu is available until 11 p.m. during the week and until midnight on the weekends. 62 Orange St., 401-455-0032, facebook.com/thecongresstavern.

But if you’re looking for a quick snack or takeout past 1 a.m., here are a few options.

Friskie Fries in downtown Providence serves loaded poutines in takeout containers until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.HANDOUT

FRISKIE FRIES

On any given weekend night, concert venues let out a stream of fans and restaurants close their kitchen. And until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, the line in front of Friskie Fries, which started as a food truck by owners Randy D’Antuono, wraps around Mathewson and Washington streets. They serve loaded poutine in takeout containers with milkshakes. 100 Washington St. in Providence, 401-228-2660, friskiefries.com.

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HAVEN BROTHERS

You’re all set if you want 2 a.m. hot dogs and burgers at Haven Brothers lunch truck in downtown, which is always parked outside of City Hall. It’s the oldest restaurant on wheels after widowed immigrant Anne Philomena Haven took what was left of her late husband’s and purchased the lunch cart in Worcester. They opened in 1893. 12 Dorrance St., 401-862-6703, havenbrothersmobile.com.

Although the original shop was around the corner, the Olneyville Square branch remains the mother ship for the mini-chain of Olneyville New York System, which has other outlets in Cranston and North Providence.David Lyon for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

OLNEYVILLE NEW YORK SYSTEM

Anthony Stavrianakos, a Greek immigrant, opened Olneyville New York System in 1946 where he and his family served hot wieners (never called hot dogs) with a side of coffee milk to drink. Hot wieners, which can never be served with ketchup, are slathered with mustard, have a scoop full of meat sauce, and are sprinkled with onions and celery salt. The restaurant received the “American Classic,” which is a James Beard Foundation Award that honors timeless restaurants beloved for their timeless food that reflects the character of a community. They are open seven days a week and are open until 3 a.m. on the weekends and until 2 a.m. during the week. 18 Plainfield St., 401-621-9500, olneyvillenewyorksystem.com.

If you have suggestions or need a recommendation, shoot me an email at Alexa.Gagosz@globe.com.

Visit Food & Dining in Rhode Island for more. Because everyone’s gotta eat!


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.