Although most RISD kids stick pretty close to school, there are still a surprising variety of restaurants that are cheap enough for students found on Main, Thayer, and Wickenden streets. Thayer Street is one long chain of restaurants and shops that spans several blocks in the heart of the Brown/RISD radius. In one block, students will walk past Indian, Mexican, pizza, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern food, all of which are small unique restaurants. In fact, other than the occasional McDonald’s downtown, you might have to go outside Providence proper to find a chain restaurant.
Because Johnson & Wales has a culinary academy, there is a wealth of interest and innovation in the immediate area that is constantly replenished, and there are always new and interesting restaurants popping up. There is also a large Asian population that feeds some of the best Asian and Indian restaurants in the area. Finally, the large Italian population makes Federal Hill a Providence version of Little Italy. Thrown into the mix are a few college-hangout places, such as Meeting St. Café and Antonio’s, and a few four-star gourmet places, such as Pastiche, which is a dessert restaurant, and you’ve got an extremely rich and diverse selection to choose from. It’s impossible to get bored, but it helps to have a car or a friend with a car if you want to get to some of the more out-of-the-way places.