NEW: Tazza Caffe to Close for Business
Monday, December 30, 2013
The Westminster Street restaurant, which underwent a full renovation just a few years ago, confirmed to GoLocal that December 31 would be their last day of operation.
"Our ten year lease is up," Tazza's Executive Chef, Ben Lloyd told GoLocal. "The landlord chose not to renew it."
Tazza is known for great and affordable cuisine, a great coffee and espresso bar, and special events, like game night on "Mellow Mondays" or "Smokin' Wednesdays" where they served family style barbecue from their house smoker.
According to recent post to the restaurant's Facebook page: "Just a few nights left, stop by for one last drink."
Tazza was founded and owned by Mike Corso. He is the leading tax credit broker in the market and has been deeply involved with many of the movies produced in Rhode Island. Corso is also a strong supporter and close friend of Speaker of the House Gordon Fox.
The lease is for the first floor of the Alice Building in Providence. The City assesses the value of the building at $3,680,500.
The Alice Building is owned by Cornish Associates which is run by Providence developer Buff Chase. Corso once served as legal counsel to Cornish before starting his own firm and serving as a registered lobbyist.
As GoLocal reported in June of 2012:
The Providence lawyer who pledged more than $14 million in Rhode Island motion picture tax credits that had not actually been issued as collateral in order to obtain an $8.5 million loan for Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios is now playing a behind-the-scenes role in a Michael Corrente movie that is slated to receive $625,000 in state tax credits, GoLocalProv has learned.
Michael Corso, a top tax credit broker whose loan agreement with BankRI is among several 38 Studios-related matters currently being investigated by state and federal authorities, is one of seven producers for “Backmask,” a horror film currently being shot in Exeter, according to IMDB. Corso’s business partner, Anthony Gudas, is listed as the executive producer and former State Rep. John Loughlin has a small role in the film.
13 Biggest Food Stories in RI in 2013
Here are the Top 13 Biggest Food Stories of 2013:
13 Rhody's Best Burger
The culinary experts at Zagat named each state's best burger in its 50 States, 50 Burgers awards, and Providence's Harry's Bar & Burger took the prize in the Ocean State for its sliders. Haven't tried them? Stop in for one… well actually, they come in twos or threes.
12 James Beard Awards
Two high-profile chefs in Rhode Island, Farmstead's Matt Jennings and Champe Speidel of Persimion in Bristol, were named semi-finalists for the prestigious James Beard Foundation 2013 awards in the category of "Best Chef: Northeast". The James Beard awards are considered by many to be the "Oscars" of the culinary world.
Another Ocean State restaurant, Cook & Brown Public House in Providence, was also named as a semi-finalist for its bar program.
11 Best Pizza in America
Providence's Al Forno made The Daily Meal's list of the "Best 101 Pizzas in America," coming in at #10 overall (#3 in New England).
Despite this national accolade, Al Forno was left off the list of Rhode Island's Best Pizza Joints, compiled by GoLocalProv food experts, Ann and Michael Martini.
10 Cooking for the Pope
Master Chef Walter Potenza cooked at the Vatican for Holy Father Pope Francis in November. The event was part of a fund-raising collaboration between the Association of Professional Italian Chefs of the Region of Lazio, and the Hunger-Relief Mission of the Vatican toward the “Barrios” of South America. Potenza was the only chef from the United States to participate.
8 Ben Sukle's Birch
Johnson and Wales graduate chef Ben Sukle once worked in what many consider to be the world's best restaurant, Copenhagen's Noma. After returning to Providence and the kitchens of La Lattiere and the Dorrance, the culinary master opened his own downtown eatery, Birch, across from Trinity Rep in 2013.
7 #2 Ice Cream City
Providence was named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the 2nd Best Ice Cream City in America in their July issue. Whether you prefer the great gelato available on Federal Hill, or the hipster favorite PVD Pops ice cream cart, Providence certainly has its finger on the pulse of frozen treats.
5 Foolproof Brewing
Rhode Island's newest craft brewery hit the scene in 2013, and they hit the ground running. Nick Garrison caught the brewing bug after getting a home-brew kit for Christmas, and went on to craft the beer for his own wedding. He then teamed up with professional brewer Damase Olsson to start the Foolproof Brewery, which quickly became a favorite among Rhode Islanders.
Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard
Alex + Ani's Carolyn Rafaelian purchased Sakonnet Vineyards in late 2012. And in 2013, the new ownership released its first wine, Blessed Blend, to positive reviews. A great year kept getting better for the Little Compton vineyard when the Boston Celtics named Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards as its official Team Wine.
2 America's Best Bakeries
With great coffee, and even better breads and pastries, it is not uncommon to see lines stretching out the door at Providence's Seven Stars Bakery. Which is why few were surprised when The Daily Meal named them as one of the America's 50 Best Bakeries in 2013.
GoLocalProv Food experts Ann + Michael Martini certainly agreed, as they included the bakery's Rumford location in their list of Rhode Island's Best Bakeries back in January.
1 Health Code Violations
Not all of Rhode Island's food stories in 2013 were good news. In 2013 GoLocalProv went through the health inspection records for Providence-area dining establishments and unveiled a list of the worst offenders.
Two of the restaurants had more than 30 violations each, with many others racking up numerous trangressions each. The violations range from minor observations to the more serious; including cross-contamination, lack of proper food storage, employees not wearing gloves when handling ready-to-eat food, hand washing, or sick employees at work.
See the full list of violators here.
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