The Dorrance is, in Rhode Island speak, where Bob Burke's Federal Reserve operated as a banquet hall for more than a decade.
It was, before that, the site of The Greater Providence Deposit and Trust Co., which closed during the state's banking crisis.
Co-owner Jean Lester was general manager for Burke at Federal Reserve and at Pot au Feu , after holding that post at the now-closed Neath's. That's where she met her future daughter-in-law Regina, who came from The Capital Grille.
Regina and husband Michael met at Neath's which was where Bacaro is today. Michael Lester, one of Jean's five sons, was a busboy at Federal Reserve when it opened in 1995.
"We have all been talking about opening our own restaurant for years," said Regina. "But we also knew how hard it is."
When they had the chance to lease the space at 60 Dorrance St. (at the corner of Westminster) from owner Gary Brandeis, they knew it afforded them the right opportunity.
Renovations took a full year. They added an 18-seat bar right at the entrance which that not only brought the dramatic setting down to a comfortable size, it also created a gathering space. "It's like the dining room table at your house," said Regina.
The Dorrance serves small plates; not Spanish tapas, but something modern and new to Providence, said Regina.
The small plates include smoked beef tongue, a baby octopus dish and spicy roasted cauliflower in the $9-$12 range. There are also entrée-size dishes, called Larger Plates, on the menu, including a roasted chicken leg and Korean-style Rhode Island lamb , as well as a vegetarian soft-poached duck egg dish, all in the $12-$22 range.
"I guess you'd call it high-end casual," said Ben Sukle, the head chef.