Dining ~ DeWolf Tavern ~ Bristol

DeWolf Tavern
259 Thames St.
Bristol, Rhode Island
RIPTA Route 60

Not long ago, on a late Wednesday afternoon I took a trip to Bristol. It's an easy bus ride. The 60 has stops the entire length of Main Street, and most things are an easy walk from there.

After soaking in the salt air breeze, and enjoying a long walking tour, I was hungry and stopped in at DeWolf Tavern.

DeWolf Tavern sits about 150 feet from the water in a historic warehouse that dates from 1818.

De Wolf Tavern

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The warehouse itself has a shameful history. Built in 1818 by brothers James and William deWolf, members of the most profitable slave-trading families in Rhode Island, the building was used for storage and transport of molasses, rum and human beings.

Quoting from the Warwick Digital History Project:
"James deWolf built a large warehouse on Thames Street made of heavy timbers and large stone blocks which had been imported from Africa as ballast. Here he loaded and unloaded his slavers and privateers."
The building has weathered a lot of storms over its nearly 300 years. The Great Hurricane of 1938 tossed the Prudence Island Ferry against the second floor. You can still see the buckling of the wall.

Buckled wall

When the warehouse was restored in 2004, they did a beautiful job of keeping much of the original flooring and fireplace in the water side of the second floor. Frames surround original graffiti from the warehouse, and bump-ins show the original interior brickwork.

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It's a beautiful space with upper and lower decks for al fresco dining. I scored a seat on the second floor balcony, with great views.

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The wait staff was friendly and service was good. I ordered a lobster popover.

Lobster stuffed popover

It was an amazing meal. The popover was crisp and chewy outside, moist and eggy inside, and stuffed with plenty of perfectly cooked lobster and a bisque-like sauce that had a taste of sherry and a zip of tomato, but didn't overpower the delicate taste of the lobster. With a nice side of crisp greens, it was filling, but not too heavy.

DeWolf is definitely on the list of dine-to-impress for out of town guests. A great experience.

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