PROVIDENCE, RI – A burger and a beer. A pretzel with a pint. A hot dog and a cold one. If you are craving the perfect pair of drinks and fare, look no further than Bayberry Beer Hall. New to Providence, Rhode Island, Bayberry is unlike any restaurant you have ever been to.
“Bayberry’s about really three main things to us: beer, food, and community,” said owner Natalie Dennen.
Natalie and Tom Dennen were inspired to open this place after their many trips to Europe. They set out to create an airy, open space reminiscent of the German beer halls they visited – with one distinctly American difference.
“All of our beer is American craft beer,” Natalie said. “We were inspired by our German predecessors, but we wanted to Americanize this. So we have only American craft beer here and we try to keep it as regional as possible.”
As for the atmosphere, the nineteenth century building is filled with picnic tables, festive string lights, hanging wicker chairs and live plants just about everywhere.
“We wanted to incorporate as much greenery as possible to bring that outside in,” Tom explained.
“We have over 200 live plants in our space and we kept the aesthetic of the space as raw as possible,” Natalie added.
The overall vibe here is casual. There is no wait staff, so customers order at the bar and pick up their food from the kitchen.
“It’s casual elevated dining,” Natalie said of the cuisine. “You will find something comforting on every plate, but there will also be something that stretches your palate.”
Much of the food is made to share. You will find big platters of cured meats and cheeses, bowls of snacks like pickled vegetables served with housemade aioli, and mixed nuts coated with rosemary and chili. At any beerhall, a pretzel is a must-order, and Bayberry’s are made fresh every day.
“The outside’s a little crunchy, the inside’s soft. Because we do make them fresh, often times you’ll actually get them warm,” Natalie said.
“We’ve got two in-house bakers that are doing pretzels daily,” Tom added. “We serve them with our house made mustard butter. It’s delicious.”
Another perfect partner for a beer is a burger. The chefs at Bayberry knew they had to get their recipe exactly right, because this is a dish that Natalie takes personally.
“I’m a burger brat. I love a good burger and a beer. If I’m asked, ‘what do you want your last meal to be?’ That’s what I wanted it to be – a burger and a beer.”
“Our burger is a local beef and it is actually ground with the local mushrooms, which just gives it that extra savory unctuousness and really just the juiciness that you get from those mushrooms,” Natalie explained. “We have a smoked tomato jam that’s on top of it. That is my favorite thing on the menu right now.”
Other favorites include Rhode Island steamed littlenecks spiked with chorizo and fried potatoes and the creamy, dreamy carbonara.
“I absolutely love it,” Natalie stated. “What’s really fun about it is it’s actually served with a cured egg yolk. So you break into that yolk and then you see all the egg coming over and it’s just delicious.”
The kitchen also gives a nod to the famous beer halls of Germany with everything from wieners to wienerschnitzel. So, the signature Gastro Dog is not your average frank. It is made by a local butcher, and the toppings are ever changing with combinations like bacon, cheddar, beer braised onions and jalapenos all on a fresh baked pretzel roll.
“It’s got a great snap to it, but it’s also not your standard frank that you get at a ballpark. It’s substantial,” Tom said. “We’re putting it on our house made bread, which is fantastic as well. Who doesn’t love a well-made hotdog?”
The German cuisine continues with a potato and sauerkraut pancake topped with crispy ham and green onion, and a chicken schnitzel sandwich finished with a garden remoulade on a sweet roll that is sandwich perfection.
“You get the creaminess from the remoulade. You get the crunch from the breading on the chicken. Then it’s served with our fried peewee potatoes that are smashed and fried,” Tom described.
To end your meal, keep things simple, but sensational, with a homemade Ice Cream Sandwich.
“It’s a shortbread cookie with a vanilla ice cream inside, then it’s served in two triangles,” Natalie said. “When we bake those cookies, you don’t see a face in here without a smile on. It just smells so, so good.”
In fact, there are smiles all around Bayberry Beer Hall, because good beer and great food always draws a crowd. You can find Bayberry Beer Hall at 381 West Fountain Street in Providence, and online at bayberrybeerhall.com.
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