Our friend Aquil keeps us informed of interesting new restaurants, for which we are eternally grateful.
“You’ve got to try The Blue Kangaroo in Barrington,” he said. “They are a first-class, family-run café, bakery and deli.”
We realized that in our lifetime we had never dined in Barrington…a distance of 12 miles from Edgewood, and a town we often drive through on our way to 2nd Story Theatre and other East Bay attractions and events.
The restaurant, at 328 County Rd. (Route 114), is located in an attractive strip mall (a misnomer for the modern building across from the town hall). They opened on April 1 and are waiting for their new sign. On our first visit, we met partner Brian Dunphy, his wife and their son.
“My partner Steve Gelsimino is the real brains behind the operation,” Brian, a financial planner by day, said. “He has had years of experience in the food industry and is the amazing creator of our menu, especially our sandwiches.”
The sandwiches, reasonably priced at $4.95 (half) and $8.95, include a variety of turkey, ham, roast beef, chicken and Italian cold cuts, creatively adorned with a variety of garnishes, including spinach, red onion, kangaroo sauce, pesto, blue cheese, roasted peppers and more.
I enjoyed their chicken salad in a spinach pita, while Joyce had their special, a lobster roll, stuffed with fresh lobster on a soft roll from Borelli’s Bakery on Federal Hill. For $9.99, it was less than any lobster roll we have found anywhere in Rhode Island…and better.
On another occasion, we stopped for take-out on our way to Newport. I had the Thriller, one of their most popular sandwiches, according to Steve. Turkey, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, onion and honey mustard on a soft roll was the perfect combination for my lunch.
Joyce had a Waldorf salad, one of four on the menu, all for $7.95. Fresh lettuce, cranberries, sugared walnuts, goat cheese and granny smith apples made for a wonderful tasty and healthy meal.
The Blue Kangaroo opens Monday through Friday at 6 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 7 a.m., offering variety of breakfast sandwiches on a bagel or as a wrap, with two Baffoni (from the Johnston farm) eggs, with choices of ham, bacon, sausage, prosciutto, turkey, cream cheese and the favorite Southcoast, made with Italian sausage, grilled salami and provolone. Prices range from $3.95 to $5.95.
They also specialize in a variety of smoothies ($3.99) and chocolate frozen drinks ($4.75). Crystal gave us a sample of the Boomerang (secret ingredients), which was yet to be added to the menu.
We haven’t even mentioned the bakery department, a popular stop for Barrington residents on their way to and from work. The baker comes in every morning to prepare a variety of desserts, including large chocolate chip cookies that melt in your mouth. We had one for dessert one evening, and it tasted like it had just come out of the oven.
The café side of The Blue Kangaroo features organic coffee and tea. Joyce loved the Mango Tea and I enjoyed Jim’s Organic Coffee.
You can sit at a table or in the comfortable stuffed chairs and leisurely enjoy your beverage without being disturbed. Local artists display their works on the wall. On our first visit, a gentleman sat at a table busily involved with his computer. Brian said that many senior citizens have found the comfortable surroundings to be a good place to meet and chat.
The Blue Kangaroo specializes in organic coffee and tea, sulfate- and nitrate-free meals, gluten-free items, homemade pastries and Baffoni Farm eggs and poultry, all at reasonable prices.
Steve and Brian are constantly asked where the name came from.
“We had a number of family meetings, husbands, wives and children, and made a list of potential names,” Brian said. “We field tested them in the community, and the out and out winner was The Blue Kangaroo. It’s catchy. I guess it has something to do with us always hopping around.”
The Blue Kangaroo is worth the drive to Barrington, whether as a destination or on your way east. It is the perfect example of a family – or should I say families – owned small business that adds the personal touch to the dining experience. They are open until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Catering is available. Their telephone number is 289-2292.