Promising Space at This New Downtown Newport Restaurant| 02.21.19
The Downside: Parking can be Difficult; Though Located in the Tasting Center this is not a Local Food Only Restaurant; Acoustics in Space are Challenging
Mountain Rating: 7.2/10
The Warehouse Restaurant has brought something new to downtown Newport. Taking over a large portion of the Tasting Center, there has been some talk about how the restaurant doesn’t fit the theme of that space. But, the restaurant does fill a hole that existed in downtown Newport – One of a local tavern where good food, drinks and a causal atmosphere all come together. And this could be good for Newport’s Downtown.
The Warehouse, though located right near a number of other food establishments, offers something unique. Down the street from La Belvedere and Lago Trattoria (both fine dining), next to Dusit Thai and Jasper’s Tavern, this Newport, VT restaurant focuses on simple food like burgers, sandwiches and fried chicken while offering a place to get drinks, play pool, and gather with friends.
A perfect blend of restaurant and bar, the atmosphere fits its location – an old industrial building.
Not knowing at all what to expect, we were happy to see a few ideas that we have been proposing for years – Fried Chicken Buckets to go and simple food in a tavern setting.
We started the meal with a couple of drinks – I was happy to see the beautiful bar fully stocked with a number of Vermont liquors available (as well as the Eden Ciders made in the basement of that location). We then ordered the tempura shrimp.
This dish was quite interesting. It looked different from any other tempura I had ever seen. The batter texture looked almost like tapioca pearls, but when you bit into the shrimp those circular pearls were filled with air. Crunch, well cooked, and light, the dish was delicious. It was served with a duck sauce that had some heat to it, but wasn’t overpowering. Overall the dish was a success, and provided some unique visual interest.
For Dinner we ordered a salad, a fried chicken dinner and a grilled cheese.
The salad was a really good size. We wanted it as an appetizer to split, but it was large enough for a meal. Filled with carrots, onions, and tomatoes served over romaine lettuce.
The fried chicken dinner consisted of boneless chicken breast, hand battered, seasoned, and fried homestyle. These came with mashed potatoes covered in a thick, creamy gravy, made by their sister restaurant, Lago’s Trattoria, and a slice of toasted, sweet, corn bread. All of the sides were full of flavor and delicious. That is not always the case with mashed potatoes. Herbs, salt, and depth of flavor were present in every bite making for a wonderful experience. The chicken was well cooked with the crispy batter fried chicken must have and packed with taste.
I had ordered the grilled cheese, but it wasn’t an ordinary sandwich. This grilled cheese featured brie and American cheeses with tomoato served on toasted homemade bread. The cheese was perfectly melted providing that gooeiness expected from this dish. I liked the flavor of the brie but it was lacking a little punch – something like a pesto spread would have kicked it up a notch. Overall, this was a nice take on a classic sandwich – satisfying with a home cooked quality.
We were happy to learn that the bread used at the restaurant comes from Cinta’s Bakery. This is a business located within the Tasting Center, and that the restaurant also gets some of their desserts from there. They also use Black River Produce and are hoping to pull more from local farms as they get better established. So even though the new restaurant doesn’t perfectly fit within the local food theme of the Tasting Center, there is a lot of local and regional food being used within the menu items.
As we enjoyed our meal, I was happy to see a crowd come in. By 6:30 p.m. bar seating was full. There were two other tables besides us, and all four pool tables were being used. I saw many players coming in with their own sticks, so it seems this location is serving a need in the community that wasn’t really being met before. I also liked that the pool tables are removed from the restaurant, allowing for quieter dining.
The owners also brought their candy store to the location, moving it from its previous location next to Lago’s Trattoria, their other restaurant.
Spreading the restaurant throughout the Tasting Center space has brought a little more cohesiveness. This is something I am hoping, with time, that all of the businesses within the tasting center can capitalize on – creating a fun space that benefits them all, focuses on food, and provides a community gathering place.
Having been a frequent customer to the Tasting Center, I was happy to see so many people enjoying themselves while we were eating.
As The Warehouse restaurant has settled in they have begun a regular line up of music, karaoke, and events. They offer televisions to feature Football Games and other Sports, and offer space to have large groups of people.
I think that this space provides a restaurant that sits somewhere between a bar and a fine dining establishment while providing more room than other area taverns. Its location right downtown, in combination with its menu and entertainment, gives this new restaurant in Newport, VT a very good chance at success.
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