The team behind Bar and Board includes an acclaimed chef, a sought-after mixologist, an experienced general manager, and a Rhode Island visionary. 


Our Mixologist: Jesse, the “Man Behind the Bar”

Jesse Hedberg is Beverage Director and Operations Manager at Bar and Board Bistro, where he helps oversee the day-to-day functions of the restaurant. He specializes in hospitality, FOH training, and running the beverage program — including the development of all cocktail, spirit, wine, and beer lists. 

Before Bar and Board, Jesse managed bars at numerous acclaimed Rhode Island restaurants including the Dorrance, Courtland Club, Local 121, and Cook & Brown Public House (which received a James Beard nomination for best cocktail program), to name a few. He’s also mixed drinks at other beloved RI establishments like the Eddy, Fluke, Justine’s and the Pelham. 

Jesse is also a brand ambassador for Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyard, where he shares his passion for wine and food. He is a lifelong Rhode Islander who enjoys a night on the town with friends, a competitive game of ping pong, and good old-fashioned rock-n-roll.  

Come see Jesse at Bar and Board Bistro. You might even be lucky enough to catch him mixing up drinks behind the bar some nights. Reach him at jhedberg@barandboard.com


Our Chef: Brian, the “Man Behind the Board”

Brian Meier is the Executive Chef at Bar and Board Bistro. He’s the mastermind behind the menu. He has 20+ years of experience cooking for Rhode Island’s finest restaurants — including Al Forno, New Rivers, Bacaro, and Trinity Brewhouse. Previously, he co-owned and worked as the head chef of Tuscany Grille in North Providence. 

Cooking took over Brian’s life at an early age. It all started at 14, when his mother broke her wrist and he had to take the reins in the kitchen.  In high school, he went on to receive a Silver Medal from the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America during the United States Skills Olympics held in Phoenix, Arizona. 

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Brian has formal training in classical French cooking. He’s a constant explorer of food, looking for inspiration across cultures to create combinations that excite his creativity as a chef. In his off-cooking time, he can be found in some of RI’s finest restaurants or sampling ethnic hole-in-the-walls and food trucks in search of interesting foods. 

Now, with Bar and Board, Brian introduces a Mediterranean flair to the state’s seafood gem — lending a new twist to old world cuisine. 

Our Owner: Carolyn  

Carolyn Rafaelian is the Founder, CEO & Chief Creative Officer of ALEX AND ANI. She hails from a family of jewelers whose mastering of the craft was not only an aspiration, but a tradition. Residing in Rhode Island, the Jewelry Capital of the World, Rafaelian knew she was destined to use her innate artistic ability to create her own visionary company. ALEX AND ANI sales have put Rafaelian in the top tier of entrepreneurs, having one of the fastest growing companies in America as recognized by Inc. 500.

From the beginning, Rafaelian’s mission was to make a positive, empowering impact on the world. The philanthropic arm of her company, CHARITY BY DESIGN, has donated more than $50 million to date to over 55 non-profit partners across the globe. Her impeccable foresight and strong vision is raising the bar for creating companies with a conscience. Now, with Bar and Board Bistro, Rafaelian continues her foray into the restaurant world, paying homage to her Rhode Island roots, locally-sourced ingredients, and all the amazing flavors found right here in our home state.

Our Architect: Shahin

Shahin Barzin AIA is the founder of S. Barzin Architect, an interdisciplinary architectural and design firm based in Rhode Island.

Shahin has both a modernist and a preservationist sensibility—dedicated to exploring new building technologies, while respecting historical details. He’s also passionate about sustainable design, implementing geothermal, solar panels, and other innovations.

Currently, Shahin is the principal consulting architect for ALEX AND ANI, as well as the project architect for the restoration of Belcourt Mansion in Newport, for which he was awarded the Preserve Rhode Island Historic Preservation Project Award. He lends his expert eye to the building of Bar and Board Bistro, bringing classic Newport details together with a new, updated flair. 

Our General Manager: Clayton

Clayton Canning is Bar and Board’s General Manager, overseeing every aspect of the guests’ experience. With over 25 years in the restaurant industry, he’s work at Russell Morin Catering, Congress Tavern, Liliana’s, Forty 1º North, and the Auld Dubliner. Most recently, he worked at Costantino’s Venda Bar & Ristorante as Beverage Director. 

 Clay studied food and beverage management at Johnson & Wales, anthropology at Rhode Island College, and architecture at New England Tech. He’s currently in the process of acquiring a Level II certification as a Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. 

Rhode Island is Clay’s whole life—and he loves every bit of it. Some of his other loves: art, music, travel, and his wife and two kids.