A CNBC article confirms what JWU culinary students and alums already know: Providence is one of the top ten “foodie” cities in the US.
Providence in the SpotlightDerek Wagner '99, chef-owner of Nicks on Broadway, called Providence’s inclusion “great news,” adding that it “shines a well-deserved light on our little city at a national level.” Providence is joined on the list by the following food-friendly cities: Boston-Cambridge, Mass., Portland, Ore., Burlington, Vt., Portland, Me., San Francisco, Calif., Seattle, Wash., Santa Fe, NM and Santa Barbara, Calif. RI by the NumbersResearch firm Sperling’s Best Places crunched the following numbers to measure Providence’s food appeal: ratio of local restaurants to chains; number of Whole Foods and cooking stores; number of wine shops; wine bars, craft breweries and brew pubs; and number of community-supported agriculture (CSA) farms and local farmers markets. “In this study, we looked at the food culture of each place, not just restaurant ratings,” said Bert Sperling, lead researcher for the project. A Small State Grows LocalSo, how does Providence measure up? The city’s percentage of local-to-chain restaurants stands at a healthy 83.7% (Boston-Cambridge edged us out with 84.4%), with 27 CSA farms, or 16.5 per million. JWU’s Culinary Arts Museum also drew CNBC’s praise for its devotion to regional food culture. One of the museum’s most recent exhibitions, “Rhode Island: Small State, Big Taste,” celebrated unique local delicacies like stuffies, coffee milk and Del’s Lemonade. (Pictured: two examples from the museum's collection of vintage signage.)For chefs like Wagner, the city’s rich cultural heritage is only one of its charms. As he explained to local webzine RhodePalate.com, “Add 6 or 7 colleges, a vibrant arts community and multitude of small businesses, and you’ve got the raw materials, [as well as] an audience and marketplace to cater to.”