Gay Travel Information – Tortilla Flats – Providence, RI

Tortilla Flats / 355 Hope Street / Providence, RI / 401-751-6777

What’s not to love about Tortilla Flats? Nothing, that’s what! 

How could you not love a place that writes on their web site: 
 
“Where you are cordially invited to seat yourself. To be yourself. To choose for yourself.”
 
It goes on to write…”A restaurant ordinare. The unusual usual. Honest, with a complete disregard for convention or expectation.” 
 
Yup. Pretty cool. 
Tortilla Flats is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant/bar. The Flats (as us locals call it) has been an East Side institution for the past 30 years. 
 Not only will you find one of Rhode Island’s most diverse, eclectic menus (Jambalaya, Crawdads, Crawcakes, Catfish, Alligator….YES, Alligator), you will find a lively atmosphere full of colorful hanging lights, sombreros, Indigenous Mexican art and beer signs. 
And let’s not forget their decadent bar with over 77 tequilas and some of the strongest margaritas you’ll ever experience! 
 
Now let’s get back to their extensive and impressive menu, shall we? 
 
We started out with the chips and salsa (fresh peppers, onions, tomatoes and cilantro combined with seasonings). The salsa is available in hot, mild or mixed. We chose mild which “kicked us” just hard enough! 😉 
 The homemade chips were deliciously addictive! 
 
For our entrees we ordered The Grilled Chicken Fajitas (all fajitas come fully stocked with cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, cucumber salad, sour cream, guacamole, and your choice of white or wheat flour tortillas – all fillings are served on a sizzling cast iron skillet loaded with onions, peppers, and mushrooms) and the Eggplant Supreme (fried eggplant layered with your choice of enchilada filling and sauce – topped with cheddar cheese and baked – served with rice and refried beans). 
 The Grilled Chicken Fajitas was more than generous in size and absolutely delicious! This is no Chili’s (no offense, Chili’s – just saying) – but this is the real deal!
 The same with the Eggplant Supreme! What a unique dish! The cheese and sauce oozed over the eggplant was simply amazing. Yum! 
 
We, of course, had to save room for dessert! 😉 
 
We chose the Mississippi Mud Pie (coffee ice cream pie swirled with fudge in a thick cookie crust – topped with chocolate sauce, caramel, and whipped cream) and the Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (warm chocolate cake with a molten chocolate center – topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce). 
 
Really, what can I say? 
 
Chocolate. Coffee ice cream. Caramel. Molten chocolate center. 
 
They were both as delicious as they sound. 
 
Since we were dining with our 3 year old granddaughter (who had the children’s cheese macaroni and gave it two thumbs up…lol), we didn’t sample any of Tortilla Flat’s famous Tequila’s or Margarita’s but we will return for sure. 
 
Our waitress (who I can kick myself for forgetting her name) was such a sweetheart and took great care of us! 
 
Everything about our experience was great. The service. The ambiance. And, of course — THE FOOD. 
MENUS: 
 
HOURS: 
  • Monday-Thursday: 11:30am-1:00am
  • Friday & Saturday: 11:30am-2:00am
  • Sunday: 1:00pm-1:00pm
 
SPECIAL EVENTS: Tortilla Flats would be the PERFECT spot for a party, special event or meeting. Contact the restaurant for more information – 401-751-6777.
TORTILLA FLATS MISSION:  Tortilla Flat is a mystical place created by John Steinbeck, in which the residents are soft hearted, unquestionably loyal to one another, and in complete disregard of social conventions and expectations. Their goal has been to create a similar place that stands apart from the homogenized chains and canned atmospheres that have become all too common. Their Tortilla Flats has been an East Side institution for over 30 years. They take pride in serving generations of patrons the finest and freshest Mexican, Cajun, and Southwestern cuisine available.
The Steinback Wall: The two pencil drawings on the side wall of their upper room – of Tortilla Flat author John Steinbeck and his friend (Cannery Row character) “Doc” Ricketts – are by Internationally renowned artist James Fitzgerald. During the 1930s, Steinbeck, Ricketts and Fitzgerald were part of a group of artists who met to share friendship and ideas at Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Laboratories in Monterey, California. The photographic reproductions of the original drawings hang in Tortilla Flats courtesy of Anne and Edgar Hubert, executors of the Fitzgerald estate. The original of Steinbeck, by the way, is in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.
Gay & Lesbian Factor: Any restaurant that beckons you to be yourself get an A+ in my book! You can’t beat Tortilla Flats spectacular location up the East Side, on Hope Street, walking distance to eclectic Thayer Street, known as the “Castro District” of Rhode Island. It is a common sight to see same sex couples holding hands and being openly affectionate in this area. With Brown University as it’s backdrop, diversity is a given.  I found the staff to be extremely welcoming and friendly and loved the mix of college students, locals and tourists as I dined at the Flats. This would make the perfect spot for an after work (or class) bite. Friday or Saturday night get together with friends, date night or special gathering. It is a known fact that there is always a wait on Friday and Saturday evenings due to Tortilla Flat’s popularity, so arrive early or be prepared to stay late! 😉 I am most definitely “OUTING” Tortilla Flat as LGBT friendly and worthy of our business.
I fell in love with Tortilla Flats! It’s refreshing to dine at a restaurant with such character and a sense of place. 
I cannot wait to return! 
Linda Sousa
Out & About Travel / Gay Travel Information

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