Wayland Square is a vibrant hub of restaurants, boutiques, and stores on the East Side of Providence. The quaint little avenue is a much more relaxed place to dine and shop than nearby Thayer Street or the Providence Place Mall. You won’t often see large crowds or wait in long lines. If you are looking for some tasty bites to eat, to catch up on the latest fashion, or simply find a great read, the businesses on Wayland Avenue can satisfy whatever you are craving.
The first stop on your walk is Wayland Bakery. The bakery first opened in 1928 and has been a Providence landmark ever since. When you first walk in, your eyes are immediately met with an inviting assortment of baked goods and different breads. Lunch items, such as sandwiches, salads and calzones are also available, and due to their quality, sell just as well as the baked goods. If you’re looking for a more Spanish vibe, check out Madrid European Bakery and Patisserie Bakery for a little piece of across the pond right here in Providence. 138 Wayland Ave., Providence, 421-2900, waylandbakery.com, 199 Wayland Ave., Providence, 409-2300, madrideuropeanbakery.com
A Trip Down Memory Lane
Get a trim at Ed’s Barber Shop, which opened in 1958. The shop is small, with hard wood walls and old photos, creating a nostalgic atmosphere and close quarters for great conversation. Or, peek through the window and see old cobbler’s tools at Wayland Square Shoe Repair lie old cobbler’s tools. The store says in business with its skillful (not to mention beautiful!) shoe repair services. In a world focuses on consumerism, most people might ditch an old pair for a new one, but why say goodbye when you can fix them up? 146 Wayland Ave., Providence, 331-3322, facebook.com/edsbarbershp, 148 Wayland Ave., Providence, 351-0215, facebook.com/waylandsqshoerepair
Into the Heart of Wayland
As you cross the street, Haruki East is the first place that will come into view. With the fish on display inside the restaurant, guests can see how fresh it is and watch their sushi prepared in front of them. 172 Wayland Ave., Providence, 223-0332, harukisushi.com
Next door lives Mrs. Robinson: not your neighbor, but rather a lingerie store that has been woman-owned for more than thirty-five years, committed to the natural fibers movement since the 1980s, and known for some of the best fittings in the state while providing a body-positive experience. 180 Wayland Ave., Providence, 831-7740, shopmrsrobinson.com
As you walk down Wayland, the incredible smell of freshly baked cookies at Feed the Cheeks will pull you inside. With an adorable pink theme and quotes from the cookie monster on the wall, you know that these cookies are going to taste as good as they look. With unique flavors like Funfetti, cookies and cream and the flavor of the month, s’mores, these cookies are a must try. 182 Wayland Ave., Providence, feedthecheeks.com
Rounding the corner, there are multiple hot spots, including the Salted Slate, offering elevated local meats and produce for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and Diego’s East Side location, with unique Mexican-inspired décor and delicious cocktails and entrees. 186 Wayland Sq., Providence, 270-3737, saltedslate.com, 192 Wayland Sq., Providence, 856-6222, diegosprovidence.com
If you are looking for that classic Irish pub feel, McBride’s is a great option. With live Irish music and great food and drink options, McBride’s will offer that classic experience associated with Irish culture. 161 Wayland Ave., Providence, 751-3000, mcbrides-pub.com
To help cure the massive hangover from margaritas or one too many Irish stouts, hit up Wayland Square Diner if you’re craving that classic diner aesthetic for breakfast or lunch.. Booths line the walls of the restaurant with photographs and art of Providence that give the diner that comfortable, homey feel. An assortment of omelets, waffles, and eggs Benedict are available for affordable prices. 208 Wayland Ave., Providence, 421-272.
Towering over the entire square on the corner of Waterman and Wayland is Mare Rooftop, a refined restaurant that is the epitome of dinner with a view. Spectacular views of the city with their rooftop seating and open layout, Mare Rooftop offers artfully prepared dishes with locally sourced ingredients. For more casual dining, Wayland Fresh downstairs offers a variety of smoothies, bowls, wraps, salads and more, perfect if you need something quick and easy that you can feel good about eating. 229 Waterman Ave., Providence, 336-6273, marerooftop.com, 229 Waterman St., Providence, 648-6677, waylandfresh.com
Red Stripe is an “American brasserie” which pulls inspiration from an upscale French influence to serve creative, refined comfort food. Red Stripe strives to serve Wayland Square by providing professional service in a relaxed setting, allowing customers to enjoy an amazing meal at more affordable prices. 465 Angell St., Providence, 437-6950, redstriperestaurants.com
Lim’s Restaurant is distinguished by its Thai-Japanese Asian fusion dishes that have been praised by many of Rhode Island’s food journalists. If you want to see what all the hype is about, check out the menu and amazing sushi bar. 18 S. Angell St., Providence, 383-8830, limsri.org
If you are looking for a casual place to get some pizza or other hearty Italian meals, check out Minerva’s Pizza House. With a laid-back atmosphere, it’s a great place to stop and relax for a slice of pizza. If you are craving something hearty, try the Zack Attack mac and cheese pizza. 20 S. Angell St., Providence, 272-2279, minervapizza.com
Pasta Beach serve classic Italian dishes in a modern, light atmosphere. The Wayland location allows delicious, classic Italian meals and sizeable wine list allows you to have a great Italian meal in a quieter space than other spots in Providence that may be busier or more chaotic. 195 Wayland Ave., Providence, 270-0740, pastabeach.com
Calling all wine lovers! You don’t need to seek out a vineyard to try a variety of amazing wine. Providence Wine Bar offers samples from around the world with a multitude of bottle sizes to choose from. The menu is designed to offer small plates and desserts pairings, and they are currently running a partnership with the Salted Slate where the food options are coming from their menu. 485 Angell St., Providence, 443-5249, pvdwinebar.com
There’s something about browsing for a good book in a great bookstore that makes you wonder how Amazon ever got its start selling books online. Books on the Square is one of those stores that helps you tune out all the world in pursuit of a good book. The store carries a wide variety of genres, providing options for everyone. From cooking and travel to fiction best sellers and philosophy, Books on the Square has something for whatever you might be looking for. Bonus: their rotating wall of best-selling titles (both paperback and hardcover) are 10 percent off. Pick a title and head over to L’Artisan Café and Bakery for a cup o’ Joe and small bites on the patio. 471 Angell St., Providence, 331-9097, booksq.com, 9 Wayland Ave., Providence, 331-4444, lartisan-cafe.com
As you walk by Paper Nautilus, an octopus-like creature will catch your eye. The unusual image on display in the window of the bookstore is one of the store’s strong suits. The store shares a name with the sea creature due to the rich natural history the animal has in our culture, as its distinct movements and appearance have inspired many great pieces of art since the time of Aristotle. The store’s proximity to Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design has inspired a focus on art and scholarly editions. In addition to the books, eclectic treasures such as antiques, prints, plants, art and more can be found here. 19 S. Angell St., Providence, 521-5533, papernautilusbooks.com
For handcrafted designs influenced by Mediterranean cultures and their roots in centuries old traditions, check out BORA. The shelves are filled with hand crafted journals, necklaces, pendants, earrings and more. Stones and gems scattered throughout the displays highlight the historic beauty of the collection. 201 Wayland Ave., Providence, 368-2105, borajewelryonline.com
Looking for timeless and fun styles? Shoppers of all ages and styles can find something to add to their wardrobe at Green Ink. The upbeat and kind staff are eager to help you find what you need to look your best. With a sizable selection of shoes and accessories, you’re bound to find something fun. 199 Wayland Ave., Providence, 421-0250, greeninkboutique.com
For the pets
The variety of shops on Wayland Square undoubtably inspires the big spender in all of us, so why not splurge on your pets as well? Plaid and Stripe is the perfect spot to spoil your fur babies with toys, beds, accessories and grooming. Make sure to look at their Facebook page for some adorable photos their clients after a fresh grooming. 17 S. Angell St., Providence, 490-0707, facebook.com/plaidandstripe
Now that you have an idea of what Wayland Square has to offer, make sure you give the walkabout a try.