Young Benjamin Sukle opened his first-ever restaurant with his wife, Heidi in the summer of 2013. Birch, located at 200 Washington Street in downcity Providence, quickly became one of the Rhode Island’s hottest eateries.
The inspiration for the name comes from “childhood nostalgia as Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer was something Ben cherished growing up. In the same way a birch tree starts from its roots, Ben takes a “from the roots up” approach to all aspects of dining.”
Within 3 weeks of opening, Birch had received tons of buzz and was already generating reviews from top critics. Sukle soon found himself named as a semifinalist for the 2014 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Northeast!
The tiny establishment seats only 18 guests at a time, arranged in an open-ended rectangle around a small bar.
The arrangement is reminiscent of the family-style set-up of a Japanese Hibachi table with the grill in the center.
The menu is seasonal and locally sourced, but the owners also love to open up their kitchen to guest chefs!
Bringing in up-and-coming cooks and creative minds from all over the world ensures that their dishes are always at the peak of culinary trends.
Sukle established his style as “casual fine dining” – great food that was still accessible to the average person’s taste buds.
They offer 4-course tasting menus as well as off-menu ordering.
The chefs pride themselves on delivering their creations to guests in person so that they can describe their dishes, answer questions and ensure that guests are satisfied.
Aside from their incredibly fresh, innovative entrees, Birch is also known for creative cocktails and perfect wine parings.
The U-shaped seating arrangement may not be the best for intimate dates or private conversations, but it is perfect for the type of interactive eating experience the tiny restaurant is known for.
Chef Sukle has since opened a second Providence restaurant called Oberlin, located downtown at 186 Union Street.