Okay, I’m an old crusty beatnik. You’d have to drag me into a Starbucks (here come the lawsuits) kicking and screaming. And yet, a place like Julians on Broadway in Providence, well, I can’t wait to return to. I’ll explain. For me, Starbucks is little more than a Burger King or McD’s that sells overpriced bitter coffee, that reeks of bleak, generic corporate design and often is staffed by androids. I’ll only go there if I must.
Contra-posto: A place like Julians is warm, irregular, tasteful and filled with great things to eat, great coffee and a delicious unpretentious menu with service of a 5-star ocean liner. Each time I’ve eaten at Julians, I just can’t wait to return. I’m not looking for perfect humans or perfect anything, but I do like character and irregular qualities; it seems that hip environments feel more like a celebration of real humans rather than a zombie funeral. Me and the Mrs. can prove to be your favorite clients or your worst nightmare depending on how engaging the servers are, how tasty the food is and how thoughtful the owner seems in the presentation of his or her eatery. The crown jewel for me is the real artwork on the walls. In a real restaurant, there should be space available to show off the work of some local creatives. And what they bring to the space is part of the meal: visual stimuli. For me this is a major plus.
Hey, Providence has a good supply of restaurants. Julians is not alone as a hip spot, but it is special in many ways and if you haven’t been there, you should treat yourself nice and check it out.