So, Providence has been getting tons of press lately, from the WSJ to GQ to The NY Times and Travel and Leisure and back again, but let's not forget about Cranston, RI. I was born and raised in the West End of PVD, but after having lived in Cranston for the last few decades (and liking it), I know a thing or two about what it means to be a 'True Cranstonite', a term I co-opted btw from one of my 20-something nieces who herself happens to be a True Cranstonite, born and raised. With that in mind, here's an insider guide to the real life favs and raves, including restaurants, that natives and newbies to the city alike swear by (and that you won't read about in this way anywhere else):
Garden City has lots of FREE parking and awesome stores (Coming soon, Crate & Barrel and Barrington Books...Yay!), but another reason so many people go to GC in the spring, summer and early fall is to hang out on the patio at either A) Paparazzi B) Starbucks or C) Both. I mean I always glance over when I'm driving by to see if I know anyone who's sitting out there...Think of Giuliana Rancic going to The Ivy with her husband Bill, after announcing she would be leaving E! News. In other words, it's more about making the scene and less about the actual menu.
*Maybe you're thinking 'What about Bistro 22?', the new-ish restaurant in GC with the stunning interior that's in the former location of Cafe Luna. Well, I do love their interior, their food, and their patio, but those other two offer higher visibility. Bistro is more your destination when you're trying to avoid the paparazzi and want to sit back and enjoy a low key lunch or dinner. (You'll still probably run into at least 2-3 people you know though. WINK.)
Must Have Accessories: Fabulous sunglasses (in most cases designer with a capital D), Louis Vuitton Speedy bags, and BMW's or Land Rovers (preferably in white)
More Caffeine Please
OK, you be might thinking I already covered coffee because I talked about the patio at Starbucks. But it's a bit more complicated than that. When a True Cranstonite wants to see and be seen, they get themselves over SB GC. But when they just want to get together with bff's and have a real bitch & complaint fest, study for finals or grab coffee without worrying about looking their most glam, they throw on their yoga pants and t-shirts and head over to Brewed (Btw, no True Cranstonite says the whole name, as in Brewed Awakenings Coffee House; they simply say Brewed.).
Honorable Mention: Cafe International on Oaklawn Ave.
Must Have Accessories: Aviators, lap tops with statement covers (Either cute or quirky, take your pick.), and slogan t-shirts or when the weather cools off, hoodies and sweatshirts galore.
I love pizza and I'm willing to bet you do too...That's why I must clue you in to a little secret - No True Cranstonite (whether they're of Italian heritage or not) would be caught ordering pizza from a national chain. It just doesn't happen. Their go-to pizza place without a doubt is usually Nino's, not far from the Cranston-Johnston line. Also, everyone has their own special little creative spin on how they order their pizza. Like white pizza with caesar salad on top. Or well done with extra sliced tomatoes and pineapple. Don't believe me? Ask your Cranston friends. You'll see.
Must Have Accessories: Baseball hats, J.Crew/Havanna/Old Navy flip-flops, and jorts or sweatpants (All for your pizza pick-up run over to Atwood Ave.)
Celebs who were either born in Cranston or have lived there at some point:
Miss Universe 2013 Olivia Culpo; Elizabeth Hasselbeck (My sister was Elizabeth's hairdresser for a time when she still lived in RI, before she started making headlines on The View, on FOX News, etc.); And watch for the upcoming movie about boxer and Cranston native Vinnie "Paz" Pazienza's life, filmed here this year and starring, among others, the highly underrated and adorable actor Aaron Eckhart.
Did I miss anyone? Let me know in the comments below.
Ciao For Now,