The following is an article published in the Providence Journal.
BRISTOL, R.I. — Sam Glynn, owner of the popular Chomp restaurant in Warren, will soon open Statesman Tavern in the space that is now Persimmon.
From the moment Champe and Lisa Speidel announced that they were moving their James Beard-nominated restaurant to Providence in the former Rue de l'Espoir space, the guessing game began. Who would move in and what kind of restaurant would it be?
"We've been meeting discreetly for months, wearing big hats," laughed Glynn. "My license plate is CHOMP, so we had some challenges."
"We are moving full speed ahead now that the two big hurdles are done," he said.
Glynn will continue to operate Chomp as he opens Statesman Tavern, perhaps as soon as late April.
The much larger chef's kitchen at the Persimmon space gives Glynn and his chef a chance to expand on a menu that is mostly burgers and sandwiches in Warren.
It will be refined tavern cuisine that, like Chomp, will take diners on a culinary journey, even as they enjoy a menu of comfort foods.
Chomp specializes in burgers but not the usual fare. They offer creative burgers, adding foie gras or beef cheeks, to make the food adventurous.
Expect to see not just a different secret burger each week at Statesman — think bison and Wagyu beef — but also duck three ways. Fresh seafood and pasta will also be on the menu.
Glynn, 28, who comes from a restaurant family in New Hampshire, opened Chomp three years ago. He lives in Warren but used to live across from his new restaurant on State Street.
He will do some minimal renovations at his new space, including expanding the now four-seat bar to offer more stools. The restaurant will still seat 40.
"I love the atmosphere, but we want people to see a different restaurant when they walk in," Glynn said.
His bartender at Chomp, Uriah Donnelly, becomes beverage director for both restaurants.
"He's excited to launch a robust cocktail menu at the Tavern," said Glynn.
The focus at Chomp is craft beers, Glynn's passion, of which there are 30 from which to choose.
At Chomp, Mark Estes will be elevated to chef de cuisine.
"I wouldn't be able to do this, running two restaurants, if I didn't have such a great team," Glynn said.
He will serve dinner and be closed on Monday, as is Chomp.
The name Statesman Tavern is a homage to the fact that Bristol is a historic town, he said. Statesman refers to the well-respected leaders from the early years of the United States, and taverns played an important role as one of America's first business and gathering places. "We want to bring that kind of hospitality to our restaurant," Glynn said.
Glynn said he didn't know the Speidels before making the deal, but he now considers them friends.
"Champe and I have really loved being in Bristol for a decade-plus and are excited to pass this space on to Sam," said Lisa Speidel. "It’s a wonderful community, and he’s a great guy with a great reputation in the industry. His new concept is going to be a huge hit — we already asked him to save us two seats at the bar on opening night."