More than 1 score and 7 years ago, this was not the case. Downtown was a run-down, past-tense pit that peaked in the 19th century. As college students, we would seldom venture "down the hill." When we did, it was strictly to make a beeline to the train station to New York or the Bonanza bus to Boston, the 'real' East Coast cities.
Then, the river was uncovered, un-re-routed and made a centerpiece of the city. They started WaterFire. Shops and restaurants moved back in. There is even a Quickly in downtown Providence! Alas, like the other Quicklys', it is not so quick, but the mere presence of bubble tea in Providence completely blew my mind.
Eating in Providence is simply lovely. Traditional Portuguese and Italian influences are still very strong. Thayer Street, the college avenue that bisects the Brown campus offers a host of reasonable eats, bakeries, and coffee. As a bonus, you can also catch the Brown guest wifi on most parts of Thayer.
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And then there is Mama Kim's, an AWESOME Korean food truck that usually parks itself on Thayer Street, near the Hegeman and Caswell dorms. Here is authentic Korean food made by longtime Rhode Island residents. I like that it is of Providence. Founded by a Brown graduate and his mom, all food is local, right down to the Portuguese bakery that makes the sweet bread and the Johnson & Wales cooks who prep the food, under Mama Kim's direction, of course.
Who could imagine good and reasonable Korean food in Providence?! But there is. And they are nice too.
A mere $3 will get you a generous serving of bulgogi, kimchi pork, gochujang chicken or portabella mushroom. You can choose to have it in a wrap or slider style with fresh Portuguese sweet bread. I highly recommend the slider option. Order 2 for a a really full meal, but you can easily have 1 as lunch, or share three with a friend.
One of their Yelp reviews best encapsulates Mama Kim's: "Find this truck. Eat this food. Thank me later."
Divine Providence indeed. Well worth a visit.
Eat Well. Be Well.