Pretty much every URI student knows Caliente Mexican Grill, the fast-paced little restaurant a stone’s throw from main campus. On warm days, lines go out the door. The menu lures undergrads with barbecue and Thai chicken burritos, not to mention jalapeño poppers and nacho fries.
So perhaps it was inevitable that Caliente would open a second location on Thayer Street, attracting more collegiate clientele and adding spice to an already crowded Mexican market.
The new Caliente is similar to the original: small venue, spartan seating, and a tiny outdoor patio. The service on Thayer is also hyper-fast and short on small-talk. The dinner options can be decadent, such as the Jumbo Shrimp Fajita, and Caliente already delivers across the East Side. Unlike the Kingston location, the walls are covered in colorful murals, which celebrate the iconic landscapes of Mexico.
Appropriately, Caliente opened for business on May 1. Several businesses have risen and fallen in the same retail space, most recently the Thayer Street Deli. Caliente also faces stiff competition: The restaurant is wedged between Baja Tex Mex Grill and super-chain Chipotle Mexican Grill. But with luck, this new spot will find its entusiastas. 267 Thayer Street