The section of southeastern Rhode Island that includes Little Compton and Tiverton is one of the most picturesque parts of Southern New England, yet relatively few people seem to know about it. Tucked away on a hilly peninsula between the Massachusetts border and the Newport area, this tiny part of the state is a mix of rural farmland, historic villages, sandy beaches, and rocky coastline. And while there are relatively few restaurants in the area, the few that do exist include some real gems, including a breakfast spot in the charming Adamsville section of Little Compton called The Barn.
Located a stone's throw from what is considered the oldest general store in the entire country (Gray's General Store) and situated in a village that is well over 300 years old, The Barn is literally surround by history. And the restaurant has a little history going for it as well, as it resides in a restored barn that feels like it is nearly as old as some of the structures around it. The charming spot includes an upstairs section that looks down over the main dining area, huge windows that let in an abundance of sunshine, an attractive wide-plank pine floor, exposed wooden beams along the ceiling, and artwork along the walls, including some pieces that are for sale to the public.
The Barn is all about breakfast, and they certainly seem to do breakfasts well here. Many items on the menu have twists on standard items, with the results often being quite memorable. Take the oatmeal, for instance; unlike what you tend to find at most places, it is baked and mixed with such items as apples, white raisins, and walnuts, making for an incredibly complex--and tremendously tasty--dish that is ordinarily rather basic. The homemade corned beef hash is also done differently, with green peppers and carrots giving the dish a hint of sweetness as well as a pleasant texture. The jonny cakes (a specialty in this part of Rhode Island) are so thin that you can almost see through them, and they have a slightly nutty flavor coming from the cornmeal and a mouthwatering sweetness from the whipped cream and real maple syrup. Some of the items at The Barn reflect the Portuguese heritage of the cities and towns in this part of New England, including the "six gun on a bun" which features eggs, hash, and cheese on Portuguese sweet bread, and the Portuguese omelet that comes with chourico, peppers, onions, and cheddar cheese. Other items on the menu at The Barn include biscuits in sausage gravy, an omelet with lobster meat, and cinnamon raisin French toast.
Much like the region of New England in which it is located, The Barn is an out-of-the-way hidden gem that is known to very few people. Indeed, this spot is mostly a local place, and one happens to be on a meandering road that doesn't really seem to go anywhere, but cuts through some truly gorgeous areas. And perhaps that is what makes The Barn such a special restaurant, especially for those who love the sense of "discovering" new dining spots. It may not be easy to find--and its hours are very limited (they close at noon on weekdays and 1:00 PM on weekends), but The Barn is a classic old New England restaurant that will probably have you leaving the spot with a smile on your face.
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