A Neighborhood Restaurant from the birch Team Set to Open in Downtown Providence.
Oberlin, a relaxed, neighborhood restaurant from the husband and wife team of birch, will open in December in the heart of downtown Providence.
The 49-seat restaurant is an ode to the strong relationships birch owners Heidi and Benjamin Sukle have forged with Rhode Island farmers and fishermen over the years. “We felt a genuine desire and obligation to create an outlet that would give us the means to utilize ALL of the product our friends and purveyors grow, raise and catch,” says Benjamin. This will mean an emphasis on simple, seasonal and local product meant to complement a short, curated list of small-batch, organic and natural beer and wine.
A MENU WITH FREE REIGN
Heidi and Benjamin’s first restaurant, birch, opened in 2013 to regional and national acclaim. The intimate 18-seat restaurant boasts an ever-changing menu of elevated cuisine that celebrates the best of the Rhode Island. The Sukles found, however, that there is so much more these farms and fishermen have to offer that birch’s menu simply did not have room for. Thus, Oberlin’s concept came about. “birch has a specifically focused cuisine, a shorter menu and a very curated list of produce,” says Benjamin, “whereas Oberlin will be a utilization and celebration of the whole farm and boat.”
To this end, Benjamin along with Chef de Cuisine Edward Davis have created a menu for Oberlin that will showcase a mix of smaller and larger plates of simply prepared local produce, a short selection of handmade pastas and feature a separate component for raw and cured seafood and shellfish. It will also be an ultimate companion to the beverage list, overseen by Heidi, Benjamin and General Manager Victoria Canel. “When we created the beverage list for birch, it opened up a whole new world to us,” says Heidi. “We were able to put the same energy into sourcing beer and wine as we do other aspects of the restaurant, which led to building relationships akin to the ones Benjamin and Edward have with local farmers and fishermen. Oberlin will give us a second, larger platform to showcase these importers and producers.”
A RESTAURANT THAT IS PERSONAL
Heidi and Benjamin named birch after their nostalgic fondness for birch beer growing up in Pennsylvania. Oberlin is a continuation of that personal connection, named after the town where Benjamin’s father grew up and where he still has family today. The same intimacy and hospitality found at birch will carry over into Oberlin. The team has been hard at work transforming the former Flan/Bodega Malasaña space in the Alice Building into another restaurant they would want to eat and drink at themselves.
“Oberlin will have a relaxed, comfortable vibe,” says Heidi. “Most importantly, we want everyone to see it as a welcoming place to eat and drink regularly.”
Oberlin will be open Thursday through Monday serving food from 4 pm until midnight, wine and beer until 1 am. No reservations. The restaurant is located at 186 Union Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903. Visit Oberlin online at www.oberlinrestaurant.com, like on Facebook at facebook.com/oberlinprovidence and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @oberlin_pvd.