Tucked into an unassuming strip mall in Newport is one of the most popular restaurants in the area, Rio Grande. "It's got the best margaritas," a barista at one of my favorite coffee houses told me one day. "It's kind of a dive, but the food is so good. And it's cheap.”
Chef Michael Peterson of NuVo Modern American Cuisine in Newport depends on other small local businesses. They do the things he can't, and working with them moves the money we spend eating at NuVo into their pockets and hopefully keeps rotating through local wallets. Plus, Peterson says, dealing with local farms and small vendors is relational instead of an anonymous transaction.
After watching all eight seasons of the Sopranos and Godfather I, II and III, I know a little bit about syndicates. They who help you out in a jam and then expect to be repaid. The first few times they send an enforcer, they aren’t there to kill you — they’re there to warn you.
Back in the mid-'80s when I was in high school, I was befriended by a group of social misfits who wanted to play some music. One of the first times we hung out, they took me across the river, to then seedy Newport, and an even seedier little music club called The Jockey Club.