New “Bodega” opens in Providence with deli meats, groceries, vegan options and more

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

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The “Smitty Hill Sicilian” at the new Bodega on Smith. PHOTO: BOS Facebook

A new locally owned deli and deli has opened in Providence – “Bodega on Smith”.

Located at 373 Smith Street, it is the brainchild of entrepreneur Kenneth Zarabedian, owner of United Valet and food delivery service DASAP.

Zorabedian tells GoLocal he saw an unmet need in the neighborhood where he grew up for a local grocery option.

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“I’m from Smith Hill, and what I saw was there was nowhere to get a sandwich,” Zorabedian said. “I live downtown and when I shop at Whole Foods I mainly see delivery people buying food for other people. So basically I saw an area where we could deliver products fresh local groceries to our community – downtown, Smith Hill and Mt. Pleasant – in less than an hour.”

So Zorabedian looked around and made an offer on the building which previously housed an Asian market, and in the 1990s, the “Better Baking Company”.

“I’m shocked they took it – but they did,” Zorabedian said.

He then sought help from industry professionals – and his family.

“I have a friend, Rick Melise, owner of Cafe Vino in Johnston; it’s probably my favorite veal parmesan,” Zorabedian said. “He called me and said he wanted to do a pizza place. I said I needed someone here. Our moms are best friends, grew up together and we reconnected to this – this is a great opportunity for both of us.”

Bodega on Smith will also primarily offer vegan dishes, which despite his love of veal parmesan, Zorabedian said he “finds himself eating more of it.”

“We were lucky enough to team up with Chris Collins – it’s his thing, he’s been a vegan chef and at AS220,” Zorabedian said. “So we grabbed it and we knew we needed that momentum.”

As for Zorabedian, it said it will focus on the delivery aspect when planning an upcoming launch.

“I applied for a liquor license, so hopefully we’ll have for St. Patrick’s Day,” Zorabedian said. “Well, take a bit of everything.”

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