March 15, 2019 | Arts and Culture
tailor shop luncheonette is serving up smiles
Looking for a breakfast burrito in Providence? Or simply a cool new place to eat good food? Word has it that the Tailor Shop Luncheonette, open during the week for lunch and earlier on weekends for “brunchy stuff” (their term), doles out some of the most creative breakfast burritos in Providence. I headed there with a friend last Saturday to find out what the hype was about.
See, breakfast burritos and I go back a long way. In the incident that would secure my infamy for trekking long distances for food, I made my friends drive 45 minutes to get one from an LA coffee shop that was supposedly excellent. Luckily, it really was. And with no line, if you don’t count the drive, there was technically no wait. Even my most anti-going-out-to-eat-food friend admitted she’d made a few solo return trips after she moved to the West Coast.
Though a 45-minute drive for a burrito seems like a far cry from the convenience offered at Andrews Commons on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s really not. I’ve only tried Brown’s Breakfast Burrito one time, and, in the spirit of full disclosure, it was just a bite of my friend’s because I did not have an hour to wait on that line that snakes around the perimeter of the entire dining hall. As an alternative, however, I have been introduced to the breakfast taco by a friend who hails from Austin, TX and makes them with bacon, cheddar cheese, and flour tortillas. And now, Providence offers an a.m. burrito that isn’t a 45 minute drive away and isn’t a dreaded necessity for hungry first years.
First impressions were strong. The menu was simple and appealing, and it appeared to change daily. The coffee was bold, hot, and worth savoring even for weirdos like me who’ll speed drink 11 cups of diner coffee in a row. On the “brunchy stuff” menu, we saw two breakfast burritos, a regular burrito, a breakfast sandwich, and an array of taco options, including a Korean vegetable taco, a sweet potato taco (in the manner of Wes Avila’s famed Guerrilla taco truck), and a breakfast taco. Sides were caramelized breakfast potatoes, and I honestly don’t remember what else, because those potatoes overshadowed the rest of the list.
When we were looking at the Tailor Shop menu, seeing the words “breakfast taco” sparked my interest. Without the benefit of Texan sunlight, how would it compare to my friend’s recipe? It was true that outside, on Broadway in Federal Hill, the ground was icy slush. But inside the lunch-counter-style restaurant, Providence sunbeams were warm enough to make its inhabitants glow. They leaned over colorful, slow-fashion plastic dishes holding delicious Tex-Mex-inspired breakfasts.
My friend and I went half-and-half on both of the breakfast burrito options, and—why not?—ordered the breakfast taco, too. It came as a corn tortilla, filled with delicious crispy breakfast potatoes and caramelized onions, sprinkled with scallions, and topped with scrambled egg that, in the best way, was more sauce than egg—like breakfast aioli. We told ourselves this would be the best way to try the potatoes. I could only hope my breakfast-taco-slinging Texan friend would agree.
One burrito was filled with fried sweet potatoes and vegetables, scrambled together in a mix that included soft scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, rice, and beans. The other folded in crumbles of mild chorizo and sauteed red pepper alongside the egg mix. Both came wrapped in grilled, soft flour tortillas, warmed up with the perfect amount of char, and carefully tucked to hold the insides. The hot sauce on the side—a fan favorite so beloved that several patrons were seen requesting extra cups—was tart and spicy and paired excellently with the rest of the burrito fillings.
If you’re curious about what Tailor Shop Luncheonette is up to, Instagram is a good way to find out. They’re using social media benevolently, dotting your day with pictures of warm, appealing food. And it’s not all burritos. In January and February, they posted about soups, stews, and deli items, like chicken noodle soup with homemade, hand-pulled noodles and a turkey meatloaf sandwich with sun-dried tomato pesto.
In addition to its own menu, Tailor Shop Luncheonette has hosted a pop-up dinner with two of the cooking magic geniuses behind North Bakery’s savory menu (closed 2018—devastating). All in all, there are some pretty cool food things happening in PVD, and checking out Tailor Shop Luncheonette is a great place to start if you want to get involved. It’s also a great place to load up on cheesy eggs in a soft tortilla, with the most excellent breakfast potatoes you can find on Broadway.