Order this: Great grub at Poor People’’s Pub
Poor People’s Pub is the place to go if you want good food at an affordable price. The chalkboard is filled with creative specials every day, the restaurant is filled with families, day trippers, regulars who come here every year during their week on the island, and late night is frequented by island chefs and staff alike. Diners rave about the drinks and one guy at the bar told me “the bartender here just totally “gets” it. You can get a cold Narragansett to a Peach Paloma — PPP offers a wide range of beverages.
What to see:
Lots of pine in both walls and furniture in homage to their original restaurant in Sanbornville, N.H. All the indoor tables were milled specifically for the Block Island location from two huge N.H. trees. A giant smoker out front kicks on early, smoking over 600 ponds per week of pulled pork shoulder and ribs from 9 a.m. until closing. Outdoor seating on picnic tables, some with shade covering, and giant spools surrounded by seats give customers a perch for some of the best people-watching on the island. Diners are wearing shorts, t-shirts, tank tops and flip flops. Kids can run around until their food arrives and customers’ dogs wait patiently under the picnic tables in hopes that someone will drop a fry or two.
What to eat:
Chef Ross Audino and his team make delicious food with French influences that is presented in an approachable, casual format. We tasted one of PPP’s many famous pizzas, homemade crust covered with fresh herbed ricotta cheese, roasted sweet tomatoes, cheese-stuffed Italian sausage and topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The roasted tomatoes were a great touch to remind the diner of the summer days to come and the whole pizza was bright, light and satisfying. Each bite confirmed why PPP’s pizzas are their biggest seller and go-to dish for families getting take-out and late-night snackers.
The Nashville Hot is a new item this year and it’s already an island favorite. One young islander I know orders it a couple times a week ever since PPP opened in late April. The chicken is cooked in a special house-made Nashville hot sauce and stacked on a bread roll with crunchy bread-and-butter pickles, iceberg lettuce and creamy mayonnaise. The smokey-sweet spice of the chicken leaves a residual heat in your mouth that begs for another bite, and then another.
What everyone else is eating and drinking:
Gin and Tonics, Whalers, PPP Pale Ale and Revival Brewing Pilsner. Alan from Oklahoma and Dave from Block Island love the lasagna dip and mac and cheese — “We come here because the food’s good, we know the owner and the cook’s really good too.” Bob and Anna from North Kingstown are drinking Cap’n and diet and a 7 and 7 — “old school.” They’re eating the pepperoni pizza and “we both love burgers with mac and cheese on top, this is our first stop when we come here and we probably will come four times this week.” A family seated outside with three labs noted: “I almost lost a finger and hand to my dog Lola here because she can smell how good the burger is.”
Poor People’s Pub is hosting a season opener party on Saturday, June 8 and hopes everyone on island will show up to hear the two bands and the all-you-can-eat pig roast, and take part in prizes and give-aways. Vegans and vegetarians will find plenty of menu items on both the regular and chalkboard special menus.
A newer diner at the bar summed up the pub perfectly: “I like to eat where the locals eat, and this is the place.”