Holland House ‘Frog Farm’ was a popular restaurant for group gatherings, events

In the mid-twentieth century, Holland House Restaurant, located at 1473 Warwick Avenue, was the scene of memories for hundreds of Rhode Islanders. In the 1930s, the establishment was owned by Edmund Dreyfus and was known as the Dreyfus Frog Farm Restaurant. Dreyfus announced that his venue offered “no music, no dancing”, just a “quiet atmosphere”. Lunch was priced at 75 cents and dinner $1+. The business was later sold to Tom Trulis, who retained the name, and then reopened by Leo Holland in 1953 as Holland House.

During the 1950s, Holland House was touted as an exceptional dining establishment dedicated to carrying on the traditions of Dreyfus. Holland had a long history in the food preparation and serving profession and was determined to maintain the restaurant’s reputation for fine dining. Special parties of all sizes were encouraged to make reservations and were promised “the full cooperation of management to make your party a success”.

In 1956 the Warwick branch of the Sunshine Society celebrated its 25th anniversary with a luncheon at Holland House. Joann Merigold enjoyed her bridal shower there that year and it was the site of Catherine Finley and Sylvester Rose’s wedding reception.

The Mr. & Mrs. Club held its banquet there in 1958 while a series of retirement dinners and private parties took center stage in the late 1950s.

In 1962 the facility hosted a luncheon for the Warwick Rotary Club, and in 1964 another for the Chafee for Governor Committee. The Rotary Club met weekly at Holland House for years and also held its May Breakfast at the restaurant.

A lunch meeting of teachers from East Greenwich Academy who had taught at the school from 1912 to 1914 was held at the restaurant in 1965, as was the annual meeting of the Pembroke College Club of Kent County.

The annual Kent County Physician’s Assistant Christmas Party was held at Holland House in 1966, along with the 50th birthday party for Mr. and Mrs. Clement Potts. In 1968, the annual dinner of the Weed & Water Club was eaten in the establishment.

Many people have worked at the restaurant over the years. During the 1950s and 1960s, Walter Mello was employed as chef, Delia Hunt as waitress, Armand Improta as waiter and Sarah Williams as hostess.

Holland House closed in the 1970s and a Washington Trust now sits on the site. However, thanks to a cookbook published by the Providence Gas Company decades ago, at least one example of Holland House “fine dining” can be recreated in 21st century kitchens. Here is the restaurant’s recipe for its famous “stir-fried chicken”:

Bone and wash three pounds of chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with flour. Heat the butter or oil in a heavy skillet and, when hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Sauté until golden brown, then flip and lightly brown the other side. Add a cup of sliced ​​mushrooms, a quarter clove of minced garlic and a half cup of white wine. Cover and simmer gently, turning the chicken occasionally.

Kelly Sullivan is a columnist, speaker and author from Rhode Island.

Sara H. Byrd