Restaurant Madness

RI Restaurant Madness Final: Oberlin v. northExplain this thing. Is this like sports?

Oh goodness no. 64 restaurants in the state of Rhode Island are currently competing for world domination. Or, you know, state domination. Restaurants were split into two categories – for lack of a better term, ethnic and somewhat less ethnic. The 32 restaurants in each category were then ranked by overall popularity, using as reference the total number of reviews on a certain popular website whose name implies both yelling and cries for help. From there, restaurants were split into groups of eight, in the hopes that some underdogs might get an upper hand over restaurants with more name recognition. Each of the eight brackets contains three (or in one case four) restaurants from Providence, and five (or in one case four) restaurants from other cities. There are other details but probably you don’t actually care.

This list seems very all over the place. I just like fancy bistros and the occasional burger.

Maybe you feel that way! But this list was also partly inspired by this long-winded but reasonable article in the Washingtonian, in which a food critic says that you can eat better and save money by focusing your attention on little mom and pops and splurging once every two weeks or so.

If all these restaurants are so great, why have I never heard of half of them?

Let’s be honest: not every place has Portuguese restaurants or locally harvested seafood, and not every place is the birthplace of the diner! Rhode Island might not have the best Ethiopian or Chinese food, but our population means that we have great Dominican, Guatemalan, Colombian, Liberian, Cambodian, Portuguese and, yes, Italian restaurants. So the best of those restaurants made the cut.

Where is The Provender? Or Kay’s? I do love a good sandwich!

Sorry, I didn’t count places that specialize in sandwiches. Or pizza, for that matter. Those might be saved for another day.

What about El Taconazo? I love that lady!

Taco stands were also left off the list. Furthermore, I didn’t count places where you can’t sit down, or where sitting down is weather dependent. Sorry!

Yes, but my favorite place isn’t here. Is this just your personal list of favorites?

No! Actually a lot of my go-to restaurants were weeded out. In addition to being left-handed and gay I’m also a vegetarian with nut allergies, and I’m hardly a foodie. This list was compiled over the course of weeks by reading reviews (real ones as well as internet reviews). Plus I asked regular people for their opinions, and tried to get a range of locales and price points. Oh, and I also eliminated restaurants with more than two locations.

Tell me more about the voting.

Surveys will change daily at 8am or thereabouts. You can check back daily or follow Law And Order Party on Twitter and Instagram for reminders. If there is a tie, the match will go into overtime: that is, the poll will be extended until noon of the same day. If there’s still a tie, either I will cast the deciding vote or, if I don’t feel personally qualified to have an opinion, I’ll extend the voting until there is a clear winner.

Why do I keep having to enter my email address?

Just a formality to ensure that you’re a human and not a robot! Also, it will sign you up for the weekly Law & Order Party newsletter, if you don’t get it already.

But wait, what about Persimmon? You do know they got five James Beard Foundation nominations, right?

Yes. Actually, Persimmon was swapped out at the last minute only because they’re closing their Bristol location on April 1. While they’re moving to Providence it would have been silly if they won this thing and then closed the next day.

This is stupid, I hate you.
That is fine. I’m happy to hear feedback!