Once home to factories and mills, the Valley, just west of downtown Providence, fell into decline in the 1960s and ’70s. Recently, though, a diverse community has been converting those industrial buildings into arts centers, restaurants, and more.
Garden of Eve
Providence’s first Haitian restaurant is a beacon of bright Caribbean flavors, featuring piquant dishes such as griot (pork washed and boiled in sour orange water and fried to crisp perfection) and jerk chicken made with a blend of 10 spices. “Be bold,” chef-owner Yveline “Eve” Bontemp says of the more unfamiliar items on her menu. “You won’t be disappointed. Everything is made with love.”
Lost Valley Pizza & Brewery
“We were drawn here because the possibilities are endless,” Revival Brewing founder/brewmaster Sean Larkin says of the 50,000-square-foot former blacksmithery that houses his new brewpub, where diners enjoy pizza and small bites, plus beers including Revival’s sour ales, IPAs, and pilsners. The hottest spot is the outdoor beer garden, which showcases murals and live music by local artists.
The Industrious Spirit Company
This distillery produces small-batch vodka, gin, and bourbon from sustainably farmed organic ingredients. “We want to pay attention to the craft,” says CEO Manya K. Rubenstein, “but also approach it in a creative, playful way.” The tasting room features art and furniture crafted by local makers.
Farm Fresh RI
“The history of this neighborhood resonated with us,” says Leigh Vincola, director of advancement for Farm Fresh RI, which just built a 60,000-square-foot facility on a vacant lot. “It was a place where people made things. We wanted to bring that back.” The space is now home to one of New England’s largest indoor farmers markets.
The Steel Yard
Hewing close to its roots as a steel-manufacturing site, this nonprofit offers residencies, demonstrations, and classes in blacksmithing, welding, and more. Roughly two-thirds of the instructors are women, and the organization encourages sharing ideas across disciplines. “We try to create cross-pollination,” says course coordinator Adam Chuong.
WaterFire Arts Center
Barnaby Evans, the creator of WaterFire Providence, an installation of bonfires on the city’s waterways each summer, opened this arts space in a former US Rubber Company factory in 2017. “We try to make it accessible,” says manager of sponsorships and corporate relations Ed Cabral, “and not a stuffy museum experience.”
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