Most Americans learn early on in school that the fall celebration of Thanksgiving has its origins in New England. While the holiday became official in 1863 after President Lincoln proclaimed it a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise” during the Civil War, New Englanders had been celebrating observances well before that time with families and friends. Being so close to Plymouth and the place where these historical events actually took place makes Thanksgiving even more meaningful to those who live in this area. Visitors often stop in at our Rhode Island lunch restaurant in the fall and ask about seasonal items, particularly those related to holiday meals and celebrations. You can get many hearty lunch options in Rhode Island at our South County Commons café year-round that embrace the spirit, tradition, and food origins of New England.
The Making of a Nation
The Pilgrim Thanksgiving story was first used to bring together Americans and new immigrants to our country who came from a wide range of diverse cultures and religions. Food is the anchor of this holiday, and the traditional choices tell more about the making of our nation than they do about Pilgrims and sailing across the ocean to find the New World. For example, apples were brought to America from Europe and grew well in the New England climate, where you can now find orchards all over and integrated into fall celebrations each year. The wild turkeys found by the settlers are perhaps the most consistent menu item served each year across the country. While the side dishes can vary depending on the region, turkey is still the cornerstone of the holiday.
Cranberries hold a special place in the hearts of New Englanders, as a majority of the cranberries grown in the United States come right from here. The indigenous people who lived here before the Pilgrims arrived had long grown and eaten cranberries. They even found their way in one account from 1672 that reported both natives and English boiling them with sugar to create a sauce to eat with their meat. Turkey and cranberry sauce have been paired for generations and can even be found in a 1796 book called American Cookery. Oyster stuffing is more common in New England and on the east coast than anywhere else and, of course, finds its roots in New England tradition. Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, rice and wild rice varieties, and of course pumpkin pie round out the menu nicely.
Hearty Lunch Options in Rhode Island
Stop by Rachel’s Café to get an authentic taste of the season. Ask about our daily specials and seasonal offerings, making sure to try our coffee, which has been called the best in Rhode Island. While there are lots of South County Commons restaurants to choose from, only Rachel’s Café offers real food options in our crave-able menu of dishes that can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. We offer dine-in, outdoor dining (when weather permits), carryout, and curbside pickup for locals, visitors, and passersby. Our Vermont Maple Burger is designed to please, served on a toasted Brioche bun, Vermont cheddar cheese, bacon, and a maple-bacon glaze. Our Portuguese Burger brings in other local tastes, including Linguica, cheese, and is topped with a fried egg.
We also have a wide selection of beers – including local favorites Narragansett, Sam Adams, Angry Orchard, Whalers, and Blue Moon. Popular wines, seasonal drinks – including our Caramel Apple Mimosa and Fresh Peach Bellini – are also on the menu. Cappuccinos, macchiatos, espressos, and lattes, as well as other brewed and steeped beverages, are available to enjoy with your meal. Make sure to ask about our breakfast and brunch items, which are also served all day until close. Assorted fresh-baked muffins, side dishes, and other local favorites can be ordered alongside other menu items at our Rhode Island lunch restaurant. Whatever you are craving, make sure to stop by Rachel’s Café to explore our hearty lunch options in Rhode Island at our popular South County Commons café.
We are located at 36 South County Commons Way in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. Our hours are Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm, and Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm. Visit our website to find out how you can get a FREE cup of coffee on us when you visit our South County Commons restaurants. We hope to see you soon!