There’s just too many options seconds away from each other in downtown Providence, three of which have amazing desserts if you’re craving a bit of sugar: Kimochi Boba Cafe, Malted Barley, and Friskie Fries. The three of these places are located very close to one another making it a convenient path should you want to try them all or binge on some sweets. Each one specializes in something the other does not and from my experience, I either find myself frantically debating over what I want or saying to heck with it all, I’ll go for all three. Of course, aside from Kimochi, the Malted Barley and to some extent, Friskie Fries, offers a way to grab regular food as well—something to consider if you also want “real” food before you start your dessert journey.
Kimochi Boba Cafe as the name suggests, is a café that specialized in boba tea or as some may put it, bubble tea. They have a lot of variation in their flavors, often partnering with local artists or international groups to promote a fun or interesting flavor. Their shop is small and on the cuter side as it sports pastel colors and a photo area to sit and take social media worthy photos with your fancy boba drink. However, while personally, I think there’s better boba shops around (which require you to walk out of the downtown area), Kimochi has a secret… donuts.
Kimochi has a sister and her name is Pinku Mochi Donut Cafe. She’s over in Massachusetts but she sends her love through donuts to the few surrounding Kimochi Cafes, including the one in downtown Providence. What this means is when you decide to visit Kimochi for a boba tea, there is a wide selection of chewy, yummy, mochi donuts waiting for you. These donuts are different than your typical one as they incorporate chewy mochi into the dough. I also have a full review of my visits to Kimochi, including their boba tea and donuts, here, and long story short, they’re worth a visit especially if you’ve never had boba tea or mochi donuts before.
The Malted Barley is a pub like most, except it goes above and beyond. Most pubs have some type of salty snack to enjoy with your brew, whether it be popcorn, pretzels, or something else, however, the Malted Barley does specialty, handmade pretzels, and they do them very, very well. These pretzels also come with a side of really good dips and toppings to choose from. Want a spicy pretzel with a side of Nutella and cookie dough? You got it! Or perhaps something more salty? They have it. Not to mention, with the fairly low prices, you’re able to sample quite a bit!
The Malted Barley also has a good selection of food as it’s not just a bar, it’s also a restaurant. The service is great and the place has a lot of seating as well as a few games such as foosball. They’re a great place if you want a pint or want to dive into some fun with some friends (or strangers). So, when you come here, be sure to not only try their tasty drinks and food, but be sure to give one of their many different pretzels a try.
Friskie Fries has the friskiest French fries around. These crunchy fries are stuffed in Chinese takeout boxes and loaded with any and all toppings you can think of. Whether you want a meaty or dessert based one, waffle fries or sweet potato, they got it. A personal favorite of mine is the s’mores one where they chuck marshmallows and crushed graham cracker, then drown it in chocolate syrup… it’s so sweet, I love it!
Their downtown Providence location is fairly small, although is usually has ample indoor and outdoor seating. And while their fries are amazing, they have a lot of funny and interesting merch to choose from as well. From hats, shirts, and other wares, their merch is quite “frisky.” Lastly to note, even if you aren’t able to visit their downtown Providence location, they also have a spot in Johnston as well as a very active food truck that is often found at festivals or events. Given their many locations, it’s no excuse you haven’t tried them yet!