Nightmare On Weybosset Street

Bad publicity is still publicity.  Or something.  Which is presumably why the folks over at Downcity are so anxious to tout their forthcoming appearance on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, the FOX TV program where a British man walks into a failing restaurant and then throws a series of conniptions about how bad the food is and about how the owners are bad people with unresolved parental issues.

Of course, Downcity could probably stand for someone to throw a conniption or two.  (It is the only restaurant where I have ever been served a meal largely comprised of eggshells!  It is the only restaurant I ever left hungry, because I was served something I don’t like and didn’t order and I couldn’t find my passive-aggressive waiter for the remainder of my lunch break!  It is also the only restaurant I ever left because the staff were watching What’s Love Got To Do With It on the giant TV thing, oblivious to the fact that some people might want to drink our Pink Ladies without having to think about domestic abuse!  Plus the bartenders are surly and the Pink Lady is off their drink menu now, anyway!  And have I mentioned the world’s ugliest bathrooms?  Because oh my God.)

Mr. Ramsay and his cameras A casting crew from the show will be filming at visiting the beleaguered yet campy Weybosset Street eatery from 3-11 today.  They’re still taking reservations, if you’d like to be an extra.  What that entails I have no idea, but probably it means a meal full of shouty Englishmen and cameras in your face.  But hey, maybe that’s your idea of fun?  Just remember that the kitchen at Downcity is open, so all those behind-the-scenes bits about poor sanitation will actually be happening in front of you.

DJ Andy Morris is spinning at 9, because obviously this is something that requires a DJ.

Call (401) 331-9217 for reservations.

[Updated at 2:48.  Apparently the two photos of Ramsay on the restaurant’s website and the Facebook invite showing a flyer with the chef on it and the sentence “GORDON RAMSAY’s Hit TV Series Comes to Providence” were not meant to imply that he’d actually be there.]

16 thoughts on “Nightmare On Weybosset Street”

  1. Just to clarify: Anthony Salemme opened the original Downcity Diner and ran it, successfully, for many years before Paul Shire became co-owner.

  2. I us to eat there all the time, when Paul and his wife owned, the place and then Anthony purchased the place, was still awesome. Now the two owner’s are using the place as there own little gay posse club. I have anything against gay people, its just a little overwhelming. Plus on the owners license plate is “downcty”. Hope all works out!!!

  3. I used to go to the original ‘Downcity’ way back when. I even brought high school dates there. Chef Paul and his wife ran the place, and they ran it -very- well. They must have sold it, because the last few times I’ve been to the new location, things were just as expensive, but dramatically worse.

    I’m not saying it’s a -bad- experience now, but certainly nothing like what made the place a landmark back in the late 1990s.

    I remember the first time I brought a girl there, after a while she asked if it was a ‘gay bar’, and I said that I didn’t know, since I’m kind of oblivious to that sort of thing, almost on-que ‘It’s Raining Men’ started blaring out of the speakers, and the folks next to us got up and started dancing.

  4. Actually, going further back, it was Downcity Diner before it was Downcity Food + Cocktails.

  5. Downtown Dude

    Always enjoyed Downcity. The food is great and the atmosphere is fun.

    Yeah, the service can be tightened up and some price points lowered, then again- which restaurants don’t have some fixable flaws.

    On a personal note, the staff is amazing- really great people. You’ll never find a more friendlier group in Providence.

    Contrary to belief, its NOT an entire gay staff- Yes, the owners are gay and the rest is about 50/50. Though who else in this city has the balls to front a drag queen as a seating host? Awesome!

    Any publicity is good publicity. At the end of the day, everyone will be talking about Downcity and Providence. The spotlight is welcome!

    Historical Note:

    The downtown Providence area known as “Downcity” got its nickname from none other than Downcity Food + Cocktails.

    The name would come during the cities first series of charrettes which took place at the restaurants original location at Eddy and Weybosset Streets.

    Eventually, these meetings ultimately lead to the beginning of the Providence renaissance.

    Just sayin.

  6. Rhode Island Ed

    Do you mean to tell me that his so-called reality TV show is… staged? Oh my goodness. So what’s the entertainment factor? Watching a crater-faced Brit berate clueless restaurant owners while pointing out the moldy cream cheese in the fridge is… um… well, let’s just say the novelty wore off on that show after the third or fourth time I saw him wander in to a restaurant full of film crew and ask if the crab cakes are fresh.

  7. Downcity is terrible. I have bartended at three different restaurants and for a catering firm and have never seen such sloppy service and heavy-handed but poorly balanced drinks in my life. Also, I get, you hire gay people. Could hire polite gay people? Thought not.

  8. so there is a restaurant called down city? with a name as tasteless as that i can only imagine what the food is like.

  9. Annie Messier

    That too, eh? Providence is already hopping with camera and production crews this afternoon. They are currently transforming Tazza (which is closed until 7 tomorrow morning) into something for the Paz movie “Loosies,” so this part of Westminster is all blocked up with trucks and such.

  10. It’s a test shooting for the series. A camera crew will be there to see if it’s worth Gordo coming down himself. He will NOT be there tonight.

  11. Jess Abernethy

    Gordon Ramsey will not be there tonight, his casting crew will be.

  12. Wha?

    Last time I was in Downcity, it was a Friday night I think, and it was pretty empty, or whatever night it was, my companion and I remarked on how empty it was. But we had wonderful service, the food was good, and the drinks were good.

    When they first opened at the new location, I had probably the worst meal I ever had in Providence, I sweat, it was Shake n’ Bake (literally). But the few times I’ve been recently have been good. Certainly I didn’t think it was Kitchen Nightmares time.

    Honestly, regardless of what Gordon might do to turn the place around, knowing he had to go there at all, makes me never want to go back.

    Though, I cannot wait to see the program!

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