‘Duck & Bunny’ Disappears On Easter

Outrage on social media has been swift. The turn-of-the-century building that housed the Duck & Bunny restaurant on Wickenden Street was demolished this past Easter weekend. Yes, the irony is rich, but property owners often destroy lovely buildings and beloved trees during holidays, a time when neighbors and students are less likely to come pouring out of their homes in protest.

City Councilman John Goncalves (Ward 1) has issued a statement:

This weekend, the building that was the former home to Fox Point’s beloved Duck & Bunny was demolished. Unfortunately, the demolition date was not communicated to our community nor to me as the Councilperson, which is unfortunately not required by ordinance.

I have been in touch with the City departments that oversee these permits, and the permit for demolition was issued on March 15. Again, while notifying abutters is not legally required, not letting the neighbors know prior to the contractor’s work creates challenges for the neighborhood. We have expressed our disappointment regarding the lack of communication, particularly due to the adverse impact this has had on our constituents as well as the way this demolition impacts the historic vibrancy and fabric of our neighborhood.

The long-time owners indicated that they had hoped to rehab the property, but the building was in such poor shape it was preferable and more cost-effective to demolish and rebuild than to repair. The owners went through a staff review process prior to permit approvals, and the new building will be of a similar scale and size. I will be reaching out to the owners to have a discussion about their plans. There are no current permits for the new building structure. Once I speak to the owners about future plans, I will share what I can at that time.

I find no comfort in that “similar scale and size” as it leaves room for the inevitable vinyl siding and plastic windows. The new “diamond bar” up the street (at the site of the former aquarium store) is already a thumb in the eye of Wickenden Street’s eclectic charm.

There is no mention of this at the Duck & Bunny Facebook page which hasn’t posted since last July.

More photos at Art in the Ruins.

The gaping hole is now flanked by The Point bar on the left and Wickenden Pub on the right. What was lost? The picture below is a screen grab from that preserver of our architectural heritage, Google Maps.

2 thoughts on “‘Duck & Bunny’ Disappears On Easter”

  1. Kirk Feather

    I find it astonishing that from certain quarters the supposed date of construction is estimated at around 1900. That seems patently absurd to me. I used to dine there when it was a B.Y.O.B. Italian restaurant called Cafe Romanza. The interior — the working, wood fireplaces, the multi-paned, mullioned windows, the old, faded wallpaper and the large-plank, thick floorboards appeared to me at the time to put the date of construction at the late-eighteenth century. Although Providence had a “Colonial Revival” period of new construction in the 1920s it seems fantastical that the designers and contractors of this building would have duplicated an eighteenth-century interior with such verisimilitude. It would have been costly to have done so and the smallness of the rooms, the low ceilings, etc. would have been inferior to modern taste and testified to a very old date of construction. Why am I not hearing others say this? If this was a Colonial-era duplication from the twentieth century they did a great job… but I think it was the real McCoy. Kirk Feather, Providence

  2. Loss of another treasured eatery in Providence is heartbreak anew, but demolition of this charming building is even sadder. I hate to even wonder…what next?

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