Recently we were in Newport, RI for a little over a week. We've been to Newport over a dozen times at this point--we got engaged here, we got married here, etc. We like it up here. A lot. We've been to all sorts of restaurants in and around Newport--good, bad, and simply average. But we'd never been to the Red Parrot.
We'd heard a lot of different things about the Red Parrot. We'd heard that it was a fantastic restaurant--one of the best in Newport. We'd heard that it used to be a fantastic restaurant, but that it was now in decline. And we'd heard "never go there--it's terrible." So, after a long day working on a project, and running several errands, we decided that a late lunch was in order--at the Red Parrot.
We walked in the door at 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday and found that it was still bustling, even though the lunch hour was long over and it was well into the off-season. What surprised us the most was the makeup of the patrons. A significant number of tables were combined families--grandparents, parents, and children. Or simply parents and young children. While this may not seem unusual elsewhere in the country, it is a bit unusual for Newport. Frankly, many restaurants can't even seat a table for 7. Much less 5 of them. Luckily the Red Parrot is big--covering three floors of a building conveniently located right on Thames street.
Once seated, our server quickly approached and asked for drink orders--a triple-hoppped IPA for me (Loose Cannon) and a domestic bottle for Natalie. The beer was out in less than a minute, and with a great pour. We were seriously impressed, and that promptness and attention to our needs bled over to every aspect of our time at the Red Parrot. "Do you need a couple of minutes to look at the menu?" our server asked. Yes, we responded--their menu is huge, with dozens of food and drink options to choose from. Sure enough, 4 minutes later (2 minutes makes things literal, and is just too quick) and he was back to take our order, even though he had several other tables to work with. Because we had a big dinner planned, we decided to split an appetizer and an entree. So we got their "risque" RI-style calamari ($13), as well as their market price "Rock and Roll" lobster roll ($19). Both came out in roughly 5 minutes, and the lobster roll was accompanied by crispy sweet-potato fries and a tarragon aioli. Both were good representations of what they said they were, and were really tasty.
All-in-all, this was a good experience for us. We'll go back whenever we want a quick and casual (yet hearty) meal. Let's not kid ourselves--the lobster roll wasn't quite as good as what you'll get at the Snack Shack at 1st Beach, and the restaurant is not "one of the best in Newport." But you know what--I don't think they're trying to be. They're just trying to put out good quality food at reasonable prices for families to enjoy. And they are succeeding on all fronts when held to that standard. Next time you're in town with kids or relatives with kids, head over to the Red Parrot for something tasty.