When our server, Tyce, dropped off “Black Girl Magic”—a cocktail described simply as peach vodka with lemonade—she suggested we “give it a stir” before drinking. Confused, we followed her instructions, and then we saw it: swirls of glitter sparkling through a deep purple liquid, like stars in an evening sky.
“Is that glitter?” we exclaimed, but Tyce had vanished, her own kind of magic, leaving us in wonder.
This was just the beginning of our evening at Kin Southern Table + Bar, the southern-style soul food restaurant in downtown Providence, which opened its doors on March 30th, 2021.
That date is significant because it was exactly one year after owner Julia Broome was laid off from her corporate job due to COVID. Although she hadn’t been working in the culinary business, per se, Broome’s central focus had been on hospitality.
“I helped open casinos, developed trade shows, and acted as a banquet manager,” she said. “I built them up from scratch. I figured if I could build that from scratch, then I could build a restaurant and watch it grow.”
While some of us consider our greatest accomplishment of 2020 as the day we put on makeup and real pants without the promise of a zoom call, Broome went immediately to Office Max, bought giant Post-It notes, and began brainstorming. She wrote down her favorite summer BBQ memories, the music playing in the background, the different dishes her family members would bring, and wrote a business plan. She was inspired to create a space for connection in a time of social distancing and, well, missing her kin.
Six months after opening, Broome has perfected her menu, and the “Dranks.” are the best place to start.This fall you can expect a couple of new cocktails, including “Fall for Your Type”—one of the most dangerously drinkable cocktails I’ve tasted, with Salted Caramel vodka, apple cider, and ginger beer.
“A bucket o’ biscuits to start?” Tyce asked, having reappeared. We’d been eyeing those, so we agreed, as a way of buying time to narrow down the rest of our food order. The Pulled Pork Sliders, the Farm Salad, the Fried Chicken Sandwich, the Shrimp Po’ Boy?. But as soon as Tyce dropped off the biscuits, we had to reconsider everything.
I had envisioned small, round buttermilk biscuits, but instead, we received four giant, dense layered squares, glistening with butter, along with a towering ramekin full of extra honey butter.
“That’s butter?” my friend asks. “It looks like ice cream.”
As if Tyce could read our minds, she came prepared with two to-go boxes and an extra ramekin (with a lid) for each of us to take home a biscuit and honey butter. “It’s great for breakfast,” she advised.
Having realized that this isn’t a “one tiny meatball to share” kind of restaurant, we decided to revise our order to one appetizer and one sandwich and see where we landed. Thanks to a glowing review of the Shrimp Po’ Boy from Tyce (“I can finish the whole sandwich by myself, every time”), we opted for that, and the Farm Salad, adding fried chicken.
The food was plentiful and the Po’ Boy fantastic—the Cajun seasoning on the shrimp, complemented by the “Old Bay Mayo” and perfectly crispy bread—it was mouthwatering, and those fries! You can taste the difference when fries are freshly hand cut, and I’m convinced that they also use a bit of magic in their salt. In my opinion, the fries also make for a great leftover breakfast.
Our Farm Salad was massive, and fully bedecked with roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, corn, tomatoes, sliced southern fried chicken, and a generous drizzle of lemon herb vinaigrette. It seemed illogical that we would attempt to eat dessert, but having already received the to-go boxes, we opted to save some room.
That night they served Beignets and Blueberry Cheesecake. I’m not typically impressed by cheesecake, but I was nearly moved to tears. The last time I had something like this was in Italy; rather than a dense New York style, this had a whipped and deliciously creamy quality. The blueberry compote topping reminded me of my childhood, making this the best cheesecake I’ve had in Rhode Island. And the beignets were surprisingly light. As my friend aptly noted, “they’re less fried dough-y and more croissant-y.” I recommend, if possible, saving room for dessert.
In describing her thought process when the pandemic hit, Broome explained, “I’d been laid off before, so I knew you could either use that time to do something positive, or you could look back on that time and think, ‘Dang, I should have done something.’ So I made the decision to do something with my time.” She not only created a restaurant, she found a way to feed the soul—both hers and ours.