A mural of a lanky tree extends the entire span of the back wall of Cranston’s cozy dining sensation, Character’s Café. The tree’s branches, which are real-life twisted vines, reach across the ceiling until their ends turn into strings of beaded lights which cast a star-like glow upon this unique restaurant in the heart of Rolfe Square.
Everything about Character’s Café is actually unique, funky and refreshingly original. Even the café’s artwork, which is done by artists from the nearby community arts collaborative, Artist’s Exchange, is colorful, bold and funky. It is this celebration of all things different that sets Character’s Café apart from other restaurants.
Characters Café is a non-profit business that is owned and operated by Gateways to Change, Inc., an organization that was created in 1992 by Executive Director Cathy McGillivery to enrich the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.
The café gives these individuals a place to showcase their special talents, but what it is really best known for is its exceptional food. Head cook Stephen Hobin has created a menu with classic comfort foods and unforgettable dishes that incorporate locally sourced ingredients.
A full breakfast and lunch menu is served, including such favorites as fluffy omelets, steel-cut oatmeal, golden pancakes, savory breakfast meats, tender home fries and homemade hash. Bacon sizzles on the grill while eggs are flipped and scrambled and fried and poached ~ any way you like them. There are even pancakes that are shaped to resemble Mickey Mouse and “alien creatures!” Everything is made-to-order in the café’s open kitchen.
The lunch menu is equally as enticing. Hearty soups, perfect for the chilly days of fall, join succulent burgers, crispy salads and “Star” sandwiches whose names are inspired by theater references. The new autumn menu includes a Thanksgiving wrap with roasted turkey and stuffing straight off the holiday table, an autumn pear and gorgonzola salad, a French dip au jus (thin sliced roast beef with caramelized onions on a crusty roll) and a Chipotle Grilled Chicken Sandwich topped with bacon, cheese and avocado. You can even enjoy a refreshing glass of wine or beer!
Located inside the cafe is also the busy Theatre 82, an extension of Artists’ Exchange. Theater 82 is a multi-use performance, meeting and instructional space which features actors of all ages and abilities and which hosts weekly theatrical performances, comedy acts, children variety shows and the holiday tradition A Christmas Carol.
Regular patrons of the cafe also love the live jazz held here every Sunday from 10:00am to 1:00pm.
Add Character’s Café & Theatre 82 to your list of favorite destinations in Cranston, located at 82 Rolfe Square. For information or to reserve the theater for your own private event, call 490-9475. Cafe hours are Tuesday – Friday, 7am to 3pm, Saturday, 8am – 3pm and Sunday, 8am – 2pm. Closed on Mondays. Visit them at www.CharactersCafe.org, Facebook, Instagram or twitter.