Coming home

Ted Torti revives Stadium Pub

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Ted Torti returned to his boyhood home in Cranston’s Stadium district after working in the restaurant business from Rhode Island to California for over 20 years.

“I saw this opportunity in my old neighborhood, and I just couldn’t resist,” he said, leaning over the huge horseshoe-shaped bar that is inviting to the patrons who enjoy stopping by for a cold beer and some of the best bar food in Rhode Island.

“I put my life, and my life’s savings into this,” he said. “I’ve been in the business all my life, starting as a dishwasher and doing every job from bartender to manager. I’ve worked in diners and high-end restaurants across the country, but I decided that it was time to come home. My parents are still here.”

Ted literally serves as chief cook and bottle-washer, arriving at his Stadium Pub early seven days a week, and serving customers from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Cranstonians are familiar with the place, which has had its ups and downs over the years. The building has housed the PC Lounge, The Roxy, Fitzpatrick’s Stadium Pub and now Ted’s Stadium Pub.

“I kept the ‘Stadium’ name because it identifies the neighborhood,” he said. “I rebuilt the inside, and when I’m able, I’ll make more improvements to the outside.”

Ted’s has a limited menu that changes frequently, and usually includes three dinner items of his choosing and a good variety of fresh appetizers and sandwiches.

While Twin Oaks is famous for its baked stuffed shrimp, and Champlin’s for its stuffies, Ted’s is quickly gaining a reputation for its Seafood Stuffie, a unique combination of a fresh homemade Ritz Cracker stuffing filled with shrimp, scallops, clams and special seasoning.

The stuffie sells for $5, and is well worth it. It is served with a garnish in a large shell, and is moist and delicious.

We noticed a number of men stopping for a beer on their way home from work and ordering a stuffie to-go to appease their wives.

Ted is preparing to go wholesale with his innovative stuffie, and already has some serious interests in the product.

“I’ll be taking a three-day course at URI to get my wholesale license this spring,” he said.

While Happy Hours are a thing of the past in Rhode Island, Ted has created a $5 ‘appy Hour menu, which includes the stuffie, chicken tenders, truffle fries, jalapeno peppers, mozzarella sticks, tacos, cheese quesadilla and a grilled cheese sandwich.

While we were chatting, a number of people at the bar were ordering the jumbo chicken wings (Six for $7 or 12 for $13.50). Joyce loved the East/West style, while I preferred the BBQ.

We also enjoyed the soft tacos, loaded with beef, cheese, lettuce and tomato ($5).

Another specialty of the house is French Fries cooked in truffle oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese ($7).

Burgers are made fresh daily and are served with fries or house salad, all priced at $11.

Sandwiches include a house-braised brisket with crispy fried onion ($10) and a Portobello sandwich for $8.

“I go shopping every morning, so my food is always fresh,” Ted said. “I keep the menu small, but am always adding new items. My soups are all home made. I am limited by a small kitchen. My goal is to give my customers fresh, wholesome food at a reasonable price. While I’ve worked in many high-end restaurants, I realize that I’m in a basically blue collar neighborhood.”

Ted has entertainment every Friday and Saturday night and doesn’t believe in a cover charge. The groups run from jazz to bluegrass to reggae to pop.

Ted’s Stadium Pub is located at 1145 Park Ave. in Cranston. For information or take-out, call 228-3884.

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