Newport is either my second or third home, depending on how you count it. I was first introduced to the city by my parents when I was 15 years old. We were moving to Kentucky as a family and the summer before the move, we spent it as a family on a 45-foot Freedom yacht docked at Goat Island in Newport. Since then I have spent countless nights on Aquidneck Island (the Island where Newport is located).
More than the amount of time it is the quality of time. Newport is one of my favorite towns. It’s on the east coast, so it has some speed to it, but it has enough sailing and leisure to have some laid-back qualities as well.
Amount of time spent: Way too much over the years. Like home.
Simple Merchant Coffee
This is it, this is the place I’ve been hunting for too long. The coffee is magical. The customer service is great. The food and pastries are on point and the cost is reasonable. The catch, they are located outside of the downtown area. Though not by too far. Worth the drive! Check it out!
I wrote up the menu here.
Empire Tea and Coffee
There are several locations of this group downtown. The managers are great about trying to improve. I had several experiences where I asked for stuff there and got it to go. I even once saw a barista take grounds right from the grinder without tamping and put them into the espresso machine. I commented to the management and they have been super responsive about getting back to me. For the most part, their coffee is pretty good. Their tea selection looks great, but I don’t really drink tea. Their food is also pretty awesome. I tend to get the Caprese sandwich, but it is really rather fantastic.
Update: in the later parts of the week they carry donuts from Knead in Providence. I really love the chocolate chip donut. It’s pretty awesome and definitely worth trying. When ordering a breakfast sandwich, I highly recommend changing the bread to ciabatta, it is much better than their standard bread and totally worth the expense.
The Coffee Guy
They only do drip and cold brew, and they don’t have their own space, but they are my favorite cold coffee. They are also at the downtown farmers market on Wednesday afternoons in the summer.
Cute little spot at the end of Banister’s wharf. You have to walk all the way down the end and it is on the right. The coffee is good and the baristas seem to mostly know what they are doing. Definitely one of my favorite places to just grab a coffee. Parking is hard, I either bike or scooter my way down there. Update: closed!
Coffee Grinder has moved down to the building across from the Red Parrot. I haven’t been but I’m excited to check it out this summer.
Lorusso’s Newport Cafe
Update: Closed (so sad, loved the muffins)
Probably my favorite cafe in the entire town. They have a decent approach to their coffee while being mostly a breakfast stop. Their food is pretty good but they always seem to understaffed in the kitchen so it sometimes takes a while. It’s worth the wait if you can stomach it. On top of that, they have phenomenal muffins, best in town. I love the coffee cake muffin.
Stuff To Do
This is the public sailing center in Newport. This town has long been famous for the amount of sailing that goes on here. This is the best place to learn sailing. They have a fleet of J22’s that you can learn on and then rent after to go out whenever you want. Becoming a member is about 100 dollars a year and totally worth it if you go more than three times in a summer.
There are many cool beaches in the Newport Area. I spend most of my beach time at second beach, but first is super close to where we stay.
Back before the Hamptons became the Hamptons, wealthy New Yorkers used to build massive homes out in Newport, RI for the summer. These houses have become too expensive to be owned by a single owner so now they are owned by a historic organization that keeps the houses up and provides tours. They are so worth the visit.
Bike The Loop
We have a standard loop to bike around Newport (specifically through Ocean Drive). To make the loop not specific to our house, lets say the starting and ending point is the Newport Visitor Center (or former, because it is closing). The Path involves biking down America’s Cup, Turing right on Thames. take the right for Wellington Ave, past kings park. Make a right at the top of the New York Yacht Club hill on Harrison. Follow that around until you make a right on Ridge Road. Ridge Road will turn into Ocean drive. Take a right on Coggeshell Ave, and then when you come around the turn to your left you will be on Belleview. Take a right at Memorial and come all the way back down to America’s cup and the Marriott.
12 Meter Charters
You can book a sail on a 12 meter for about $100 for two hours and if you want to also do a 15-minute tour of the harbor in a helicopter it ups it to about $170. These boats are great, fast and beautiful. It is a pretty fun experience and in my opinion, totally worth the cost.
What To Eat
This is a gastropub that doesn’t call itself a Gastropub. It’s a pub with great beer and good fare. Worth the stop. I particularly like the fish Burrito.
This is my favorite upscale restaurant. My mom took me here and every time I’ve gone I have had a great meal. They have interesting hours offseason so if you aren’t there in the summer check to make sure they are open before heading over.
A small Sandwich shop that is worth the stop. They have some great items and are a place where I used to get lunch a fair bit when I was living in Newport for a summer.
Asian Noodle place that is really rather special. I don’t really know how to explain it other than a super special place that is worth checking out.
Another good Ramen Noodle Place. They are currently down Thames a bit but are moving very shortly to be even closer to Boru. The noodles are great and it is pretty different from a traditional ramen place but they do have a Katsudon bowl that is pretty amazing.
The BEST fried chicken in town, maybe in the whole country. Definitely my favorite spot for fried chicken. The chicken sandwich is unique and a must-try. They brine the meat for 24 hours and then double fry it. It’s spectacular. In addition, I would highly recommend the biscuits. They come with maple butter which is pretty special.
Update: Closed (though sometimes you can get the chicken at Winner Winner on Mondays not during summertime).
This one is talked about by all the locals or even friends who have gone away and come back to visit. Everyone talks about their Micky D’s Burger which is an old school McDonnald’s burger with amazing sweet pickles, but the real great part of that is the pickles which you can put on any burger.
I’ve gotten my order down to the science that I like. I get the Bacon Cheeseburger and add a fried egg. It is just magical. Their fries are pretty good too. My parents really love to ask for extra fried on the fries, but I’m fine with them how they come.
Scarpeta (Update: Closed)
This is a fine dining option in Newport. It is part of Gurney’s hotel on goat island and has some pretty fantastic food. They have good scallops. It’s pretty decent Italian fair and worth the try if you are into fine food.
Brick Ally Pub
This is a local staple. It has been here since I was a kid and while the food is standard pub food, it is good for standard pub food. I’ve had many GREAT memories here.