The Best Dishes in Newport and Providence Inspired by Hocus Pocus 2
October 6, 2022
Listen up, ghouls and goblins! Rhode Island has run ‘amok, amok, amok!’ since Hocus Pocus 2 dropped this past weekend on Disney+. Much of the highly anticipated sequel to the Halloween cult classic was filmed here in the Ocean State last fall. In fact, our Newport Neighborhood Food Tour guests were able to get up close to filming locations in the City by the Sea for almost three weeks, and key scenes were also shot in Providence as well, not far from our Downcity Providence Food Tour trek!
Other filming locations include North Kingstown, where the set for the interior of the magic shop and forest was built (the exterior was built on Newport’s Touro Street, across from Washington Square), the Cranston Street Armory, and for the high school scenes, La Salle Academy and Brown University in Providence.
As fall is one of the most delicious seasons in Rhode Island, we’ve gathered up some of our favorite dishes at locally owned restaurants located near these locations which we’re convinced will “put a spell on you.”
Washington Square, Newport
Nestled in the heart of downtown Newport, Washington Square has been part of the very fabric of this coastal city since its establishment in 1639. Sandwiched between the Colony House (completed in 1741 and also the setting for key scene in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad) and the Old Brick Market building (built in 1762 and now home to the Museum of Newport History), Washington Square transformed in Salem’s “Scream Fest” for the movie, dotted with colorful carnival game booths and a huge stage for the already iconic “One Way or Another” performance by the Sanderson Sisters.
During filming, the actresses who play these bewitching roles, Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker were spotted going in and out of the Colony House between takes, presumably for makeup touch-up, costume and wig checks and on the colder night (and a few nights were REALLY cold), to warm up!
One of our favorite Washington Square restaurants is Stoneacre Brasserie. Its sister restaurant, Stoneacre Garden, is the grand finale of our Newport Neighborhood Food Tour. This time of year, both restaurants deliver seasonal dishes that bring the quintessential fall flavor. Kick things off with the Brasserie’s smoked squash appetizer with lavash, brown butter and wild herbs.
For an entrée, look no further than the filling barbecued lion’s mane mushrooms, buttermilk spaetzle with blueberries and baby squash. This dish delights vegetarians and landlubbers alike.
At Stoneacre Garden, the ginger and turmeric soup warms body and soul with glass noodles and chili oil, while the fall burrata with fennel, Asain pear and badger flame beets is one for the ‘gram.
Steps from Washington Square is the incomparable Perro Salado, housed inside an abode built before 1714 that was the home of Capt. Stephen Decatur. Today, our tour guests feast on the legendary sticky pork ribs here which are marinated in Coca Cola for hours to get the crave-worthy flavor. The house-made guacamole, chips and salsa are perfect and every entrée delivers, but this time of year, save room for the pumpkin flan with pumpkin spice caramel, candied pipians and whipped cream. And if you’re really feeling spirited go for their tequila flights. You’re welcome.
When the Sanderson Sisters take to their broomsticks in the night sky, views get a beautiful aerial view of Newport’s Broadway, with Thompson Middle School, City Hall and the illuminated streetscape below. Broadway is the heartbeat of our Newport Neighborhood Food Tour, with Leo’s Restaurant, Cabana, Humming Bird and Scratch being among our stops (with Nitro just adjacent).
The authentic tacos we enjoy at Leo’s very often brings tour guests back for dinner or lunch the next day, while Cabana brings the Rhode Island flavor by serving the state’s official appetizer: calamari.
For a grab and go lunch, Humming Bird’s handmade Jamaican patties, with their golden flaky crust, are exceptional. The oxtail, meanwhile, makes for a hearty dinner, especially as the air grows more crisp with each fall day.
Federal Hill, Providence
As the Sanderson sisters get their 2022 bearings, they’re led to a Walgreens (trust us, it all makes sense in the movie!). These scenes were shot at the Walgreens on Federal Hill. Federal Hill, historically a neighborhood known for a robust Italian population, has no shortage of traditional dishes from the Old Country. Here you’ll find plenty of spaghetti alle vongole, risotto alla Milanese, lasagna and pasta e fagioli, but we’re here to highlight your dolce, or dessert.
Satisfy your sweet tooth at Pastiche, where all desserts are made on-site every day. Universal consensus: the cannoli here is out of this world. This time of year though, don’t miss the pumpkin praline tart. It’s an all butter tart shell with a traditional pumpkin filling garnished with pecan toffee crunch and finished with fresh whipped cream (best served same day, and available after 11am). Don’t dilly dally though; it’s only available through November.
Brown University, Providence
In addition to LaSalle Academy, Brown University plays the part of “Salem High School” in Hocus Pocus 2. If you are familiar with the campus, you’ll easily recognize the brick facades that belong to Brown. (If you don’t, we recommend you take a walk around the campus some time. Founded in 1764, Brown University was the third college in New England and the seventh in the U.S. It’s been in its present location on Providence’s College Hill since 1770, so it had that perfect ‘old New England’ vibe.)
The campus is a five minute walk from a few of our Downcity Providence Food Tour stops. Plant City, the world’s first plant-based vegan food hall and marketplace, is popular with students, Rhode Islanders and visitors alike, and is always a hit on our tour. It even has our most carnivorous guests enjoying vegan dishes!
The crave-worthy pizzas at Double Zero are enjoyed while taking in views of the Providence River and skyline. This time of year, the plant-based truffle pizza shines. Made with cashew cream, wild mushroom, Tuscan kale and lemon vinaigrette, it’s something you won’t want to share and keep all to yourself. And if you’re looking for that secret night spot try 345 | Speakeasy Mixology Bar by Plant City for some creative vegan sushi twists.
Over at Geoff’s Superlative Sandwiches, an institution since 1975, you may be perplexed on how to choose just one sammie. However, this is the season for the “Roger William,” a turkey sandwich with stuffing, bacon, cranberry, sprouts, lettuce, onion, tomato, Tiger sauce and Havarti.
We love when Rhode Island gets a little Hollywood glitz and glamor! Check out Hocus Pocus 2 and see if you can find all of the Rhode Island landmarks along the way!