Know where you can get some great food, a wine slushie and the best cupcakes in Rhode Island?
Head over to Razzle, the new restaurant concept in Cranston that offers a unique dining concept.
The brainchild of owner Maureen Pergoni, Razzle has recently opened in the shopping complex at 1460 Oaklawn Ave., around the corner from Mardi Gras and across the street from Phred’s Drugs. Maureen, daughter of former Cranston Councilman Ed Ferns, has always been praised for her incredible cupcakes. With her baking talent, plus 27 years in management, she decided to open her own shop, adding a restaurant and unique wine bar to the mix.
“It’s the Cheesecake Factory concept,” Maureen told me. “Offer them good food and add a gourmet cupcake for dessert.”
The fruit-infused wine comes from a Coventry winery, Shela Lara, and has been given the name Gaspee. We tasted the strawberry and watermelon “slushies” and are convinced that Maureen has something good going here. The special wines can also be used in making frozen drinks. Currently, Razzle is one of only two places in Rhode Island offering this unique experience.
The comfy restaurant and wine bar has 38 seats, plus 24 for outside dining. It is the former site of the Pippin Orchard Dairy and more recently a Japanese and then Chinese restaurant, and now sits next to another Asian restaurant.
Pergoni did extensive remodeling (“My life savings”) in the front of the house and the kitchen, which provides her with her own baking area, plus plenty of room for Chef Cindy to prepare lunch and dinner.
Cindy’s family-owned Barbara’s Restaurant has been on Elmwood Ave. in Cranston for many years, and many of her father’s recipes have made it to Razzle’s menu. The luncheon and dinner menus, like the entire concept, have some unique items.
We skipped the typical calamari and bruschetta items and went for the tuna and avocado tartare rollups, served with wasabi soy sauce ($8.95) and the Razzle egg rolls, Italian hams and provolone cheese topped with marinara sauce and Romano cheese ($9.95). Both were unique and absolutely delicious. The appetizers, like the entrees, are huge and enough for two.
Joyce ordered the Shrimp Razzle (There’s something we liked about the name), which was an enormous bowl chock full of shrimp, roasted red peppers, black olives, mushrooms and garlic sautéed in a wine and garlic sauce over linguini (penne and rice pilaf also available) for $14.95. Joyce, who can be a discriminate critic, said it was one of the best meals she has ever had, bringing half of it home for the next day. The serving was bigger (and tastier) than one ordered recently at a chain restaurant that claimed to serve three. Chef Cindy said that the recipe was her father’s favorite.
I ordered a salmon burger, fresh salmon ground with fresh herbs and spices, topped with pineapple salsa on a toasted bulky roll. ($11.95). If you are a salmon fan, you’ve got to try this one. It came with hot potato wedges, lightly sprinkled with delicious Belgian spices. The burger was huge, so I removed the top of the bun and ate it as an open sandwich.
Razzle has a full menu of grilled pizzas ($9.95/$10.95), hamburgers ($9.95), wraps and panini ($7.95-$10.95 for the tuna/avocado supreme), plus pasta, chicken, seafood and steak entrees.
Don’t leave without a visit to the cupcake counter. While we were too full for dessert, we did take out six different cupcakes, from a carrot cake to a mocha, and couldn’t resist trying one later that evening. They were gone within two days. The cupcakes are $2.75 each, $15 for a half dozen, $29 a dozen. They are to die for. Maureen donates unsold cupcakes to various charities and organizations in the area. She reminds us that these are gourmet cupcakes and are best eaten with a fork.
When I mentioned to our waitress, Andrea, a Warwick resident, that the portions were so large, she said that most people enjoy taking some home for the next day. We certainly did. And with the check comes another unique twist, a special Razzle candy that turns into chewing gum.
Razzle is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Maureen plans to start a Sunday brunch soon, with Belgian waffles, French toast, crepes and all the fixings. The phone number is 463-7299, or check them out at www.razzlecupcakes.com.