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Chelo’s Hometown Bar and Grille
by Brian J. Lowney
The telephone rang late last Saturday morning. "I forgot to buy groceries," my friend Bubba cried. "I haven’t got a thing in the house for lunch."
Remembering that I had also told my good friend that I would help him shop for a new computer, I suggested that we head out to Warwick, enjoy a leisurely lunch and then enter the fray on Route 2 and start shopping for a new computer system to replace Bubba’s vintage relic.
"Let’s go to Chelo’s," I suggested. "They have a great menu – there’s something to suit every taste – and once you pay the bill, you’ll still have enough money to buy a new computer."
"Excellent choice," replied Bubba. "But you’re not telling me anything that I don’t already know. I’ve been going to Chelo’s since I was a kid. When we got a good report card, my parents would take us all to Chelo’s. Where else can you feed a big family with a bunch of hungry kids and not break the bank?"
Bubba was right. Chelo’s nine destinations have been serving great fare at affordable prices for decades. It’s refreshing when you walk into one of their clean and comfortable restaurants and often see three generations of one family sharing a meal, talking and laughing. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
Once we seated, we were greeted by our cordial wait server, who offered menus, promptly took our drink orders and gave us a few minutes to decide what to have for lunch. Chelo’s menu is extensive, offering salads, sandwiches, burgers, soups and chowders, dinner entrees, a kid’s menu, and for those with a sweet tooth, several mouthwatering trademark desserts and mile high pies.
For the health conscious, there a new "low carb" menu, offering a variety of appetizing sandwiches, burgers, soup, a steak tip salad, dinners, and delightful toasted almond cheesecake ($3.79 a slice, 4 carbs). In addition, there’s a new low fat menu that also offers many satisfying choices. Who knew that dieting could be so much fun?
"Let’s have some Buffalo wings ($7.99)," Bubba urged. "You know how much I love them, and I’ve never tried them at Chelo’s."
Neither Bubba nor I were disappointed. We were served a generous one pound serving of meaty wings and drumsticks, slathered in a fiery Buffalo sauce and served with celery sticks and a large tub of blue cheese dressing. What a wonderful way to start a meal! While the wings and drummies were hot and spicy, the cool, creamy, chunky bleu cheese dressing provided a pleasant contrast. "Call the fire department," Bubba pealed, as he reached for another wing. "I’m glad I ordered a cola to put out the fire."
After reviewing the colorful menu, filled with tantalizing photos of some of Chelo’s premier dishes, I selected the turkey club ($6.79). For many years, I have enjoyed this delicious sandwich at Chelo’s, and although the menu proclaimed it to be "new and improved," I couldn’t see how it could have gotten any better: It’s always been great!
My sandwich was filled with thick slices of freshly-roasted turkey, crisp bacon, fresh lettuce and tomato slices, all neatly dressed with mayonnaise and served on white toast. My sandwich was accompanied by a generous serving of meaty fries – thick, fat slabs of potato that were absolutely heavenly when sprinkled with a little salt and vinegar.
Bubba, who was "starved" as usual, set his sights on the turkey dinner ($8.29). My good friend, with an enormous appetite, was presented with an ample serving of hearty roasted turkey slices, which were slathered with hot, homemade gravy and sat on a bed of nicely-seasoned bread stuffing. The entrée was accompanied by a colorful medley of squash, broccoli, pea pods and baby carrots, a mound of "real" mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
"This just like Thanksgiving dinner," Bubba proclaimed. "This is delicious. The turkey is so good – I can tell it just came out of the oven."
One taste treat on the menu that also caught my eye was the portabella mushroom wrap ($6.99), a grilled marinated portabella mushroom cap with melted Provolone cheese, sautéed peppers and onions and Chelo’s "own homemade" balsamic vinaigrette.
Bubba almost opted for the grilled tuna and Swiss ($6.29), a generous serving of the popular Ocean State’s eatery’s "famous" tuna salad, served with melted Swiss cheese and shredded lettuce on grilled homemade seeded rye bread.
We were indeed very full, so we skipped dessert, (It was very difficult). Should I purchase a slice of chocolate fudge cake? ($3.79, a four-tiered rich chocolate cake confection, layered with chocolate mouse and glazed with chocolate frosting.)
"No, Bubba, you don’t need another slice of cake," I replied. "Right now, all you need is a new computer. You can have some chocolate cake on our next visit to Chelo’s, which I hope will be real soon."
Chelo’s Hometown Bar and Grille is located at 2225 Post Road, Warwick and throughout the state. For more information call (401) 737-7299 or visit theirwebsite.
Brian J. Lowney is a reporter for the Providence Visitor and the pet columnist for the Herald News (Fall River). He enjoys the wonderful Rhode Island restaurant scene and writing about the cornucopia of outstanding dining and retail food establishments we have been blessed with throughout the region.