Friday, April 2, 2010

Finding providence in Providence Part One Prelude to the Easter Bunny Burger

“There are many scapegoats for our sins, but the most popular is providence” Mark Twain



This past weekend The SexyBurger Six got their permission slips signed and headed out on a very productive field trip. Four burgers and 15 Rhode Island Iced Teas later, The Little State That Could inched closer to the top of the mountainous list of possible homes for a SexyBurger restaurant.

One of the motivating factors for heading out to Providence was to hunt for wabbit, for this weekend’s Easter Bunny Burger. We received a great reference for Antonelli’s Poultry Co. located right in the heart of the Providence’s Little Italy on Federal Hill. It was an adorable little square right on the water with a nice big fountain in the middle and "O Sole Mio" blasting from nearby speakers. I could have sworn I was back in Italy, if not for the Jersey Shore-esque guidos walking around in white sweatsuits, slapping car bumpers and shouting Fonzi like “Heeeeey"s.

Here’s what makes Antonelli's unlike any other place The SexyBurger Six has ever been: After walking through what appears to be a normal cornerstore deli, you pass through a plastic curtain and enter a room filled with live caged chickens, pigeons, partridges, quail, geese, duck, and - the reason for the season - sweet bunnies. Adjacent to the two rows of live animals is one table that makes up the whole of the kill room. This is where your little friend is weighed, de-feathered, gutted, de-boned, and cut up exactly how you like.

Had this been 5 years ago you can bet The Revolutionary Man and The Kid would have been outside in drug rugs eating fur burgers and protesting such crude and inhumane acts. But now--time, reflection, and protein deficiency has turned us into the BurgerManiacs you know and love. In truth, what goes on inside Antonelli’s is the very essence of a culture we’d love to be a part of. It’s easy to mindlessly order a scrumptious plate filled with mass produced chicken wings from your favorite chain restaurant, but to see and understand what goes into putting that animal there gives you true perspective. Seeing the face of the animal you eat is an oft forgotten aspect of the meat devouring society that we live in. Compared to the tens of thousands of chickens that haphazardly go through a single Tyson factory on a daily basis, Antonelli’s is the SPCA. Hell, the place can even double as a neighborhood petting zoo! That's exactly what it was to the five year old little girl whining to The Kid that "the bunny scratched me"! Off with it's head!

On our way out we had the pleasure of running into Mr. Antonelli himself, whose name may, or may not, have been Chris Miller based on his business card. He gave us a lot of great advice from the vantage point of a small business owner in the food industry. He even had a close friend who had opened a ridiculously successful burger joint in Narragansett called Crazy Burger! We talked about the killing that could be made around the corner at Brown and URI (in Rhode Island everything’s around the corner). How, if we flipped affordable burgers at closing time, we would have to beat drunkards off with a stick. We consider this confirmation of the traveling burger wagon idea that is part of our initial business plan, and think it makes a lot of sense as our first business venture.

At the end of the day we didn't buy a bunny. We had to rush off to stop number 2 on this Sexy field trip, the awe inspiring Luxe Burger! Stay tuned for Providence Field Trip Part Deux!

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