Fat Belly’s Restaurant to Open Soon in Coventry

Coventry’s newest restaurant will soon open for business. Fat Belly’s Irish Pub and Grille is expected to make its debut around Dec. 20 at 760 Tiogue Ave. The location was previously occupied by Hollywood Video.

Last week, more than 700 people interviewed for the 55-60 available positions at the restaurant. A second round of interviews is scheduled for this week.

This will be the sixth Fat Belly’s restaurant to open in Rhode Island, joining the ones in East Greenwich, Providence, Wakefield and the two in Warwick.

“We loved Coventry from the very start,” said owner and executive chef Scott Parker. “It is exactly the type of community that Fat Belly’s looks for. The town has been very supportive and helpful. We look forward to opening and becoming part of the community.”

The community, in turn, has welcomed Parker with open arms.

“Scott Parker came before the town council to introduce himself and talk about opening his restaurant,” said Coventry Town Manager Tom Hoover. “Soon after, he met with our zoning and planning people. The entire process went smoothly.”

Hoover eagerly anticipates the restaurant’s opening.

“I haven’t had the pleasure of dining at one of the Fat Belly’s restaurants,” said Hoover. “I look forward to visiting the new Coventry restaurant soon after it opens.”

While each Fat Belly’s location has an Irish pub theme, they all have some unique characteristics.

“In Coventry, we went above and beyond what we have done at the other locations,” stated Parker. “We added a lot of stone work to the interior, a stage where we will have live music, a 100-inch TV, as well as 11 big screen TV’s for all the games.

“We try to make our look very comfortable and relaxing,” Parker continued. “We want people to feel like it’s their place, their neighborhood family pub.”

Assuming the Coventry restaurant will have similar success as the other five locations, the town will benefit greatly from its popularity.

“Not only will the restaurant create new employment, but it will draw people into the town,” said Hoover. “There’s also the spin-off benefit of customers spending money at the gas stations or stores in the vicinity.”

While the restaurant will have a comfortable look, the comfort food offered at Fat Belly’s is not your typically pub fare.

A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, Parker later taught at JWU and at one time owned and operated a fine dining Italian restaurant. Parker’s culinary experience and expertise is reflected in the quality of the food that is served at Fat Belly’s.

“I try to give my customers upscale pub food at affordable prices,” explained Parker. “We buy only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, and we make all of our dressings and food items from scratch. I have used some of the recipes at Fat Belly’s for over 20 years. I have also used some of them in upscale restaurants.”

To ensure that the quality of the food is consistent with the cuisine served at the other locations, Parker has transferred the head chef from Providence to Coventry and he’s promoted the sous chef in Providence to head chef.

Parker keeps close tabs on each of his restaurants, making sure they meet his high standards.

“I have daily meetings with my management team,” said Parker. “I also do daily inspections and quality checks. It is hard for me to go to all of the pubs daily, so I break up my week. I’ll have my corporate chef and manager visit the pubs that I don’t get to.”

When a new restaurant opens, such as in Coventry, Parker spends as much time as needed to make sure the pub is launched successfully.

“Whenever I open a pub, I am there from opening to close, for as long as it takes until all of the employees and food are where they need to be,” stated the restaurateur.

Eventually, Parker would like to open Fat Belly’s locations in other states.

“Right now, we are just focused on what we have,” said Parker. “My number one goal is to make each Fat Belly’s in Rhode Island as consistent as possible. Even if we eventually go nationwide, the Fat Belly’s in Rhode Island will always be owned and operated by myself and my managers and chefs that have been with me from the start. I have a great staff and management team and we all believe in making Fat Belly’s a great neighborhood pub.”

Source: Neil Nachbar, coventry.patch.com

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