Peace Dale is home to Sons of Liberty distillery and Whaler’s Brewing Company, and the town is a destination for Rhode Islanders to partake in the state’s burgeoning craft liquor and beer scene. Still, what the village really needed was a sit-down restaurant, so when I saw that The Flatts had opened, I was excited to check it out.
The Flatts is located in the former space of Giro’s Restaurant. Giro’s opened in the late 1800s and was the first restaurant in South County to obtain a liquor license. It was a beloved local spot. In 2017, Jane LeBlanc took over the historic space, hoping to turn it into the sort of local meeting place Giro’s used to be. On the cool fall night I visited, the restaurant was warm and cozy and filled with people who all seemed to know one another. The man sitting next to me at the bar was a regular and confided that we were there too late; the Cuban Rangoons had already sold out. (It was only 6:30). The bartender explained that the rangoons are homemade, and they only had enough dough to make 147. Later in the night, the chicken wings sold out as well.
We had stopped at Whaler’s Brewing on our way out for the night, so we continued our beer tasting and ordered the Whaler’s Rise and Sam Adams Oktoberfest. The waitresses and bartenders were all experienced and deftly guided my friend and me through the menu. Since we missed out on the Cuban Rangoons, we settled for an order of Frickles and an order of Devils on Horseback. The Frickles arrived piping hot (burn-the-skin-off-your-tongue hot) and impossibly crispy. These were dill pickles, which I prefer to bread and butter pickles when fried. They were served with a tasty – and not too spicy – sriracha ranch dipping sauce. For $5, it was a large portion. The Devils on Horseback were highly recommended by our waitress. If you’ve never had them, they are dates wrapped in bacon and served with an apricot jam dipping sauce. We both liked them, admitting that if the waitress hadn’t given her recommendation, we wouldn’t have ordered the dish.
Since I read that LeBlanc smokes all her own meats, and the meats come from Pat’s Pastured, I was eager to try out one of her barbecue plates. For $16, I got a half-rack of ribs, mashed sweet potatoes, baked beans, and a piece of cornbread. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and heavily rubbed with seasoning. There was a small dollop of barbecue sauce on them as well. The sweet potatoes were delicious, obviously made from scratch and simply seasoned. The baked beans were good and had the distinct taste of being slow-cooked all day. My friend ordered from the mac and cheese section of the menu. I have to admit, when I saw her meal, I had orderer’s envy. She had the Dirty Bird bowl, which was filled with rich macaroni and cheese and topped with smoked chicken, blue cheese, buffalo sauce, and Fritos. Everything about this dish was amazing. The tender chicken was lightly smoked, so the smoky taste didn’t overwhelm. The other toppings complemented the dish in the best possible way. The portion was huge, and my friend took half of it home to enjoy another day.
Jane LeBlanc set out to open a local restaurant to bring a sense of community back to Peace Dale, and she has succeeded. On the night we were there, everyone was having a good time. The ‘80s music was rocking, the local beer was flowing, and the food was bringing smiles to everyone. I will definitely be coming back, but I will make sure I’m there early enough to try the Cuban Rangoons.
501 High Street