567 South County Trail, Exeter | 401-295-5559
Hours: Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday 11:45-10pm; Breakfast, lunch and dinner Sunday 9am-9pm; open seasonally on Monday | Meals Served: Breakfast, lunch and dinner | Cuisine: Locally-sourced comfort food | Price Range: $8-$27 | Bar: Full bar | Kid Menu: Yes | Parking: Parking lot | Accepts Reservations: Yes, required for Local Farm Dinner series | Delivery: No | Take Out: Yes | Outdoor Seating: No | Ambience: Casual, fine dining | Catering: On-site private parties
Celestial Café, just down the road from the bucolic Schartner Farms property, has been doing farm-to-table cuisine long before it became popular. Owners Cheryl Zannella and Branden Read, who are also family members, are celebrating 13 years of serving exceptionally good real food in South County.
Practically everything at Celestial Café is made in-house, right down to the stocks, salad dressings and demi-glace. Working closely with local farmers, fisherman and food purveyors enables Chef Branden to create seasonally inspired cuisine that offers a true taste of the Ocean State. The menu changes every three months to best incorporate what’s growing at neighboring farms like Schartners, Farmer’s Daughter and S&P Gardiner. The result is always a creative and sophisticated take on comfort food where fresh flavors take center stage. The Local Farm Dinner, a monthly series that seats upwards of 600 guests from Thursday through Sunday, showcases and supports local food suppliers to a continuously sold-out crowd. Menus are created to highlight the finest area sourced ingredients, such as grass-fed meats from Pat’s Pastured, cream from Rhody Fresh and foraged provisions from Rhode Island Mushroom and South County Honey. Foodies feast on a gourmet five-course meal, which includes a glass of local wine or craft beer, for just $40.
The sizeable menu – which includes classic and creative takes on burgers, salads, soups, pasta, seafood and steaks – can also meet any dietary need, whether it’s with gluten free pizza or a vegetarian entree. With a focus and a commitment to serve the freshest, in-season local food, Celestial Café lives up to its name and is truly heavenly divine.