Gay Travel – Rue de L’Espoir – Providence, RI

Rue De L’ Espoir / 99 Hope Street / Providence, RI 02906 / 401-751-8890

Rue De L’Espoir is a Rhode Island institution. The Rue, as it is affectionately referred to, opened in  May 1976. Over the past 36 years, The Rue has experienced continued success and has been featured in travel books and magazines, including Esquire, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Victoria, Weekending in New England, Fodor’s New England, and even This Old House. 
 This is not something that happens by chance. It happens by hard work, a great product,  consistency, a dedicated owner, efficient staff and the ability to keep with the times. 
Deborah Norman, owner of Rue De L’Espoir (and coincidentally an out lesbian), fell in love with the restaurant business, the energy of the clientele, and the creativity of the kitchen. 
As Deb puts it, she learned the business the old-fashioned way, “from the dish pit up.” 
Also, the only thing French about The Rue is their name, which means “street of hope.” Deborah describes the cuisine at The Rue as “American Bistro Cooking.” 
 The Rue offers a wide range of menus, including breakfast, lunch, late lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Menus change depending on daily specials, seasonal ingredients, and the inspiration of The Rue’s creative kitchen.
Clientele tend to be a mix of the Brown University community, business people, locals, repeat visitors and, of course, tourists. 
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 The evening my wife Jennifer and I, along with my mother, Linda,  dined at The Rue there was a nice, bustling vibe both inside the dining room and bar area. 
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We were instantly greeted by a super friendly waitress that showed us to our table. 
Within minutes we were being served our beverages and hot, delicious bread from local Seven Stars Bakery
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I took in the classic interior decor with its high ceilings, colonial windows and ceiling fans. There was even a light snow falling outside which added to the charming ambiance. 
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We all studied the delicious sounding menu and finally made our decisions. 
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 For an appetizer we shared the Butternut & Sweet Pea Ravioli (made with ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and a fresh sage brown butter sauce). 
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This was absolutely delicious and unique! The cheese sauce was super flavorful and brown butter sauce made the ravioli creamy and delectable. 
For entree’s I choose Murray’s Farm Roasted Chicken (made with toasted spice rub, ratatouille, leek & bacon and served with Mascarpone polenta). I substituted the polenta for mashed potatoes. 
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 Linda ordered the Rue Fish & Chips (made with carrot & fennel slaw and served with homemade chips and a homemade tarter sauce). 
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 Jennifer kept things light and ordered the appetizer, Seared Day Boat Scallops (served in a lemon puree & mango coulis), as her main entree as well as a Pear Martini. 
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 **Let me note that The Rue uses sustainable local ingredients whenever possible and for the third year in a row, is the recipient of the prestigious green certification award given by the RI Hospitality Association and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. 
The food was fantastic, to say the least! 
The toasted spice rub on my chicken was subtle and blended perfectly with the absolutely deliciously flavored ratatouille and mashed potatoes. 
Linda’s Fish & Chips were also very well prepared, but Jennifer’s scallops were out-of-this-world amazing! 
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They were meaty, moist and cooked to absolute perfection (which is very important when preparing scallops otherwise they will be rubbery). 
The lemon puree & mango coulis truly put this dish over the edge! 
Our waitress tempted us with dessert by showing us the selections on a tray and although they ALL looked sinful, we (I) decided on the turtle cheesecake. 
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 Oh. My. Let’s just say dessert started with only me “having room” to indulge and everyone else “behaving” – well,  by my first “WOW” – Linda & Jennifer’s spoons came out. After one bite they were hooked and we fought until the very last bite! 😉 
THIS is why The Rue has been around for almost 37 years!  The food quality goes above and beyond. 
  • Breakfast: Monday-Friday 7:30-11:00 AM
  • Weekend Brunch 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM
  • Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Dinner: Sunday-Thursday: 5:00-9:00 PM / Friday & Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM


In additional to Rue De L’Espoir, Deborah Norman also owns Rue Bis and Baker Street Rue. For more information click HERE
GIFT CERTIFICATES: The Rue offers gift certificates which can be purchased online HERE
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GAY & LESBIAN FACTOR: As stated earlier, Deborah Norman is a proud, out lesbian business owner. As a matter of fact, I remember when I first came out in my late teens (back in the 90’s), I had discovered The Rue was lesbian owned. This was such a big deal for me. I actually went of one of my first dates at The Rue (yes, it was great! lol) –  I love when I discover a business, especially a local business, is LGBT owned, however, with that said, I don’t  recommend places based on this one fact. No. It all comes down to the quality of product – and The Rue delivers. Not only does it have a great location on Hope Street, up The East Side, also known as “College Hill” (or Providence’s “Castro District” among the LGBT community), it has a fantastic, dedicated staff and, most importantly, delicious food. This is what keeps me personally coming back. The Rue is one of my favorite places for breakfast and I usually take out of town guests here as well. The product is GREAT and THAT is why it deserves our support. The fact that Deborah happens to be a lesbian is just the cherry on top! 😉 It goes without saying that I am “OUTING” Rue De L’Espoir as LGBT friendly and worthy of our business! 
541071_148815905244656_1225348140_nThe Rue was built by a passionate, determined, hard working woman with a love of food. Years later Deborah Norman’s passion prevails and that is what will keep The Rue a favorite in the community for years to come! 
Desiree Sousa
Owner / Editor in Chief
Out & About Travel / Gay Travel Information


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