The statements made on this website are the personal opinions of Laura and Diane. If we feel that a restaurant visit is not up to par, please remember it is our opinion. If you disagree with us, feel free to write us at info@newenglandbites.com.

Friday, May 16, 2014

International Pocket Cafe

52 East Main Road
Middletown, RI  02842
(401) 847-8900

May 16, 2014

Welcome to the first installment of “Laura’s Lunch,” a new (and hopefully weekly) segment where I’ll be visiting some of the best places to grab a quick, inexpensive meal in the Newport/Middletown area of Rhode Island.

Eligibility Criteria:  I have to be able to get to the office and back in 30 minutes and the entire meal has to be under $10.

I’ve been working in Newport for over two months now and I could probably eat at the International Pocket Café daily.  I absolutely love the food there.  I’ve had the chicken shawarma wrap, the chicken slovaki wrap and the grilled chicken and falafel salad – all have been amazing.  My co-workers have dubbed it, “That place you like.”

Since I can’t stay away from there, I decided to make it my first restaurant for “Laura’s Lunch.”  I pulled into the always busy parking lot and saw that the line of customers was just about at the door.  I’ve often seen people waiting outside – that’s how good the food is.  Luckily for me, I called ahead and I figured that I wouldn’t have to wait long.

When I got inside, I had to wait longer than normal.  They seemed to be a bit short handed on today’s visit, but you could tell the staff was rushing to make sure that everyone was being taken care of.  The guy in front of me was waiting on $30 worth of food for his co-workers and he told me about how much his stomach was growling because of all the awesome smells in the restaurant.

On this visit, I was going to try a gyro (pronounced “year-oh”) for the first time ever.  I’ve always been scared to try lamb because … it’s lamb.  It just sounds like it’s going to be gross.  However, if I’m going to dive head first into the world of Lebanese/Greek foods, I need to get acquainted with Lambchop.

I grabbed a bottle of Coke, got cashed out and headed back to the office to chow down.  I was both nervous and excited to get started.  I actually got to watch them make my gyro because they do everything right in front of you like Subway.  All of the ingredients are fresh and I’ve never had a problem with chewy meat because everything is cooked perfectly on a flat top grill.

Once I bit into the gyro, I was wondering if I was even going to be able to taste the lamb because of all the different Mediterranean spices and sauces used.  The deliciously chewy wrap was stuffed with feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and topped with yogurt sauce and I believe I tasted dill.  There was probably more stuff in there but whatever the mixture, it was fabulous. 

I finally got to the meat.  It was actually a lamb and beef blend, so the first flavor that hit me was beef.  However, once I started chewing it, I could taste something different.  It wasn’t a bad taste, just … different.  I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it.  I kept going.  The thinly sliced lamb/beef combo was actually a great compliment to the sauces.  There was something yummy about the way they tasted together.  I can see why people go crazy for gyros.  I’m sorry it took me so long to try one!

  • Minutes from the office:  Three.
  • Cost of the meal with drink:  $9.70.

There you have it.  A fantastic lunch at my favorite new place for under $10 and I was able to get back to work on time to eat it.  I highly suggest the International Pocket Café as they serve all sorts of food in a very clean environment.  The staff is always friendly (albeit really busy), the portions are large and you can always count on your meal being made with high quality ingredients.

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