A Pearl of a Cafe
With a design by two RISD grads (Ben and Aja Blanc) and a partnership between locally owned Bolt Coffee and the RISD Museum, Cafe Pearl opened in June, just inside the museum’s Benefit Street entrance, in the newly named Pearl and Ernest Nathan Gallery. Centenarian Pearl Nathan herself has been involved as a docent, volunteer and supporter of RISD for more than 70 years, and it seemed fitting to give her name to the new cafe.
Seating close to 40 at tables, a wooden banquette and a few bar stools, the cafe offers the usual spread of hot coffee drinks (almond milk is available), as well as a half-dozen cold espresso mock-tails, with milk and honey or maple syrup; with Yacht Club ginger beer or tonic water; or as the sweet and juicy Kenyan coffee called Kavutiri. Bolt co-owner Bryan Gibb (with Todd Mackey) explains that they are rotating through several “coffee roasting partners” from around the country (currently Queens and Seattle), in order to “bring diversity and more exposure of micro-roasters to the New England scene.”
Other ingredients at the cafe are Rhode Island local, including Humble Pie pastries, Foremost breads and Narragansett Creamery cheese. Their snacks and lunches are modest toasts with PB and/or J; melted cheese with apple slices; avocado toast; or ricotta and prosciutto. “Our goal is to create an overall product that’s a little bit better because of using good ingredients,” Gibb stresses.
RISD Museum entrance at 224 Benefit St., Providence. BoltCoffeeCompany.com