New restaurant, familiar face in Warren

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Katie Dickson seems to be everywhere in Warren, from her Wooden Midshipman on Water Street, to Discover Warren to pretty much every festival or party thrown in town. Soon, she and her husband will be spending time at their new restaurant at the corner of Water and State streets.

That’s the former location of the Cheese Plate, but last week Ms. Dickson and husband Brian O’Donnell closed on a deal to purchase the business and reopen the location as Bywater. The restaurant is named after the famous New Orleans neighborhood and should be open some time around Labor Day, Ms. Dickson says.

In her years in town Ms. Dickson has been a champion of all things local, and that philosophy will continue at Bywater.

“We’re thinking coastal New England, really really fresh, really seasonal foods,” she said. She and Mr. O’Donnell, a chef at Cafe Nuovo in Providence, plan to open for dinner first, but hope to also expand to lunch at some point.

One of the hallmarks of the Wooden Midshipman has been its wide offerings of local products. That will continue at Bywater, which will be a collaboration with many local vendors. Furniture will be made by O&G Studios in the Cutler Mill. Some of the restaurant’s leather goods will be made by Sweet Trade. And food will be locally sourced.

Ms. Dickson said the Wooden Midshipman will stay open. And though many restaurants have opened in Warren over the past few years, she believes there is definitely room for growth.

“I think it shows that Warren is healthy,” she said. “”From an outside perspective, people think of (Warren) as a destination. We definitely haven’t reached that critical mass yet.”

Plans for the summer? Expand the restaurant’s small kitchen, transform the location and get ready for the opening. She and Mr. O’Donnell have already secured the town permissions they need to serve food and drink.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.