Local Cuisine and Local Charities RI Will Crave

The CVS Health Charity Classic Event Series is celebrating its 20th iteration, and for the second year in a row, it will be kicked off with the two-day Crave RI food festival.

Festival attendees will be able to sample food from more than 100 local restaurants and check out some top-notch beer and wine vendors. And those who want to bring their experience home can learn a few tips from live demonstrations by local chefs. Essentially, it’s part open kitchen, part what would happen if 100 of RI’s top chefs opened an all-you-can-eat buffet together (for $20, plus fees, per ticket). Oh, and with a really big bar.

Faith Weiner, director of the CVS Health Charity Classic, said of the event, “Crave RI has been a great addition to the CVS Health Charity Classic event series. It expands our event and allows us to showcase the culinary talents across the state and come together as a community raising money for countless Southern New England non-profits.”

It was no easy feat to select merely 100 participants from the huge culinary talent that exists in RI. Weiner said, “This year’s planning was all about ensuring that we had diversity in our participants and enough samples to satisfy the audience. Rhode Island has an amazing culinary community and they really enjoy giving back – our goal has been to work with the many food and beverage providers across the state to showcase their talents and support the goals of the CVS Health Charity Classic.”

Some of last year’s participants who are returning this year include Matunuck Oyster Bar, Evelyn’s Drive-In, The Salted Slate, Red Fin Crudo + Kitchen, Narragansett Beer, Sam Adams, Newport Storm and Newport Vineyards. New participants to Crave RI include Tallulah’s Taqueria, Bayberry Beer Hall and Waffle.

But there are a lot more involved than that – among the beverages there will be Angry Orchard, Bootblack Brand, Crooked Current Brewery, Dave’s Coffee, Farmer Willie’s Ginger Beer, Granny Squibb’s Tea, Grey Sail Brewery, Luluna Kombucha, Narragansett Beer, New Harvest Coffee, Newport Storm, Newport Vineyards, Revival Brewing, Sam Adams, Sons of Liberty Spirits, Truly Spiked and Sparkling, Union Station Brewery, Whaler’s Brewing, Wise Mouth Tea, Yacht Club Soda and more.

Now let your eyeballs take a deep breath – other food vendors will include Anchor Toffee, Bacaro, Basta, Bayberry Beer Hall, Bon Me, Boru BBQ Company, Brass Monkey, Brix, Brutopia, Bucktown, Carina e Dolce, Crazy Burger, Evelyn’s Drive In, Fancheezical, Farm & Coast, Gastros 401, Gotta Q Smoke House, Jaswell’s Farm, Los Andes, McBride’s Pub, Mill’s Tavern, Open Season, Providence Bagel, Red Fin Crudo + Kitchen, Sarcastic Sweets, Saugy Hotdogs, Seriously Good Ice Cream, Shri Bark Snacks, Snookers, Sydney PVD, Tallulah’s Taqueria, Tavolo Wine Bar, The Aviary, The Backyard Food Company, The Burgundian Coffee & Waffles, The District, The Hungry Goat’s Kitchen, The Incred-a-Bowl Food Truck, The Pizza Gourmet, The Provisioner NY Deli & Cafe, The Rosendale, The Woods Tavern, Tom’s Bao Bao, Trattoria Romana, Two Ten Oyster Bar, Warwick Ice Cream, Wow Barbecue and, you guessed it, more… We challenge you not to find something your most finicky friend will want to eat in that smorgasbord.

The event is family-friendly and kids under 12 enter free with an adult. They do not, of course, get to take part of the samples in the beer pavilion though. All the food and drink samples are included in the ticket price.

Of the participants, Weiner said, “We have spent lots of time educating our returning partners and planning with our 50 new partners so they could successfully showcase their amazing food.”

For those of you who look up menus online before hitting a restaurant, we asked Weiner for a sneak preview of what Crave RI attendees can expect to salivate over. “I’ve heard rumors of house-made duck pastrami from Brix, a Mexican shrimp cocktail from Tallulah’s Taqueria and coconut-citrus grilled swordfish from The Aviary.”

Attendees would do well to remember to treat Crave RI like a marathon rather than a sprint. Weiner advises people who want to try everything, “Get there early and pace yourself!” And if you get full and have to skip a couple of booths? “Come out to Rhode Island Country Club on Monday, June 25 … some of our Crave RI partners will be participating in Crave Trail, an upgraded food and beverage experience during the professional tournament.”

The Crave RI food festival takes place Thu, Jun 21 and Fri, Jun 22 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. All proceeds from Crave RI will support charitable organizations across Southern New England. Tickets to Crave RI can be purchased at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center box office, at ticketmaster.com/charityclassic or over the phone at 800-745-3000. Also, keep an eye on Motif’s social media — Crave gave us a bunch of passes to give away, and we’ll have more than a few fun ways to that in June. Hint – be ready to describe what your taste buds crave.

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