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On the Menu

Roasting Coffee Daily. Since 1984.

by John Taraborelli

coffee EXCHANGE wickenden st

A Toast to Longevity Two big anniversaries Two local companies

are celebrating big anniversaries this month: Federal Hill’s famous Blue Grotto turns 30, and Russell Morin Fine Catering turns a whopping 100. In such a fickle industry, longevity is always something worth noting. While the Blue Grotto (210 Atwells Ave.) is no doubt familiar to most Rhode Islanders, Russell Morin might be a bit less so – at least in name. However, with 100 years of weddings, fundraisers, receptions and myriad other events under its belt, there’s a good chance this company has fed you at least once in your life. “Certain standards of behavior and excellence have been passed down through the generations,” says Russell Morin, Jr., a third-generation owner of the family business, which began in 1911 when Jean Baptiste Morin opened a 24-seat diner next to the Attleboro train station. The catering jobs began in 1914, with workers in the factory behind the diner lowering their lunch pails to be filled. In 1930, the family bought a second diner on South Main Street, which is still the home of Morin’s Hometown Bar & Grille. Russ, Jr. entered the family business in 1957, working the pot sink at the diner. Over the years, Russell Morin has taken on its fair share of interesting and unique jobs, including serving as official caterer to the New England Patriots for 20 years (Bob Kraft later brought the services

in-house) and providing a cocktail party and dinner for 1500 guests at the Rhode Island Bicentennial. One event, spoiled by one party crasher in particular, however, stands out. “We catered the Gravity Games that once were in Providence,” Morin recalls. “A helicopter came down into the middle of the food complex – which one can imagine caused quite a situation with tents falling and equipment flying – but we always pull through, regroup and smile!” The Blue Grotto’s history doesn’t go back quite so far, beginning on Thanksgiving Day in 1980, but it’s still seen its share of changes. “The city was nowhere near the restaurant haven it is today,” current owner Michael Danahy, the third in the restaurant’s history, recalls. “Back then everyone dined here in their Sunday best. Can you imagine today having children at dinner behaving and in suits and dresses?  It was a different time then for sure.” The Blue Grotto remains one of the old lions of Federal Hill, but Danahy made it his mission to update a classic for the modern diner. “We have gotten rid of the tuxedos and table side service, looking for a slightly more contemporary feel,” he notes. “We are holding on to some of the old world dishes…but we have brought contemporary twists into the menu as well.” We congratulate both of these fixtures on the local dining scene for

Design contractors inc. Design / Build Fine renovation general contractors residential • commercial


additions • built-in cabinetry

Two generations of Morins at work in their kitchen in the 1930’s

Water damage reconstruction

Kitchens • bathrooms

Providence, ri 02906 registration #1324

their longevity and integrity. EATING LOCAL GETS COMPETITIVE The first of the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmer’s Market at the Hope Artiste Village (1005 Main Street) is upon us, Saturday, November 6. Having this source of fresh, local food even in the cold months has been a major improvement to the local food scene, and the crowds that flock to it every Saturday are proof of that. On opening day, Farm Fresh, the nonprofit that runs the market, will host its second annual Perfect Pickle Contest. Competitors are encourage to sign up at and start jarring their favorite recipe (which must contain at least one local ingredient) in four categories: Best Pickle (traditionally brined cucumbers), Best Brine (any produce, any flavor), Best Ferment (i.e. sauerkraut or kimchee) and Best in Show. Rhody Fresh Milk is running its “Get Rhody Fresh” photo contest now through December 1 on Facebook. Contestants should submit a photo featuring all or part of a Rhody Fresh Milk carton. That’s it – that’s the only rule. Beyond that, creativity is encouraged (but let’s keep it clean), and Rhody Fresh’s Facebook friends will rate their favorites. Prizes range from hayrides to a Providence Bruins VIP package. Visit www. for more details. Got food news? Send it to John at

Painting • restoration

Quality Dealers And Antiques Wanted! Empty Nesters • Re-Locating • Downsizing 8100 sq. ft. showroom

Richmond Antique Center & Country Store 401-539-2279

320 Kingstown Rd. Richmond, RI 95S to Exit 3A (go approx. 3 miles) Open 7 days 10-6

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Dog Walking, Pet Sitting & Pet Parenting Advice 401-274-0907 P out our helpful links

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Bonded & insured November 2010 East Side Monthly


"A Toast to Longevity"  

An East Side Monthly article about the Morins.

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