Barely a month after it opened, The Cozy Grill is already drawing a crowd of regulars while attracting new customers to its 473 Tiogue Ave. location, close to the West Warwick line and at the site of the former Appetite's Restaurant.
"My father, Tom Pilderian Sr. started the business in 1981 when he opened the first Cozy Grill, a 20-seater, on Broad Street in Providence," said Tom Jr. "We began The Cozy Grill in Warwick in 1997 after we closed the other one. That restaurant has 130 seats with counter seating after we had made two additions."
With both sons pitching in since they were in primary school ("I remember washing dishes since I was seven," Tom, Jr. said) the ownership of their two restaurant locations evolved into a "a three-way partnership" among all three.
"For three months last summer we gutted out the entire interior and installed everything new," Tom Jr. said of the 125-seat Coventry location. "There is new carpeting, ceiling lights, heating and air conditioning and we scheduled contractors to come in around the clock. My wife did the curtains. We have spacious booths that can seat up to six adults comfortably and several tables."
At the front of the restaurant is a comfortable open bar and lounge area with several counter seats, four high-top tables, three 50-inch plasma TVs, a gas grill and an extensive liquor selection.
The family restaurant achieved its reputation for its prompt service and a variety of traditional and custom-made breakfasts and lunches. It has an extensive breakfast selection featuring eggs, omelets, pancakes, waffles, French Toast and more. There are more than 20 sandwich selections for lunch and a variety of hamburgers and hot dogs, too.
To expand lunch and include dinner entrée selections, the family turned to Tom Ruggieri, luring him out of what he says is his fourth retirement. The former head chef at Governor Francis Inn and ex-owner of the Cowesett Inn and Stonegate Inn honed his cuisinary expertise under the watchful eye of Tom Ferretti, who achieved renown at Bryant Park Grill in New York City and, he said, served meals to five U.S. presidents.
Ruggieri, who brought along three of his former coworkers, said he can "do comfort food and fine food" and has several specialities, including seafood and Italian food, baked stuffed shrimp and prime rib on Saturday night. "I can do anything with a baked potato and vegetables," he adds.
And look for at least 10 chef specials a day," Tom Pilderian said. "We usually have four to five homemade soups a day, too."
For the Pilderians and their staff, settling in also means getting to know the community. As former high school all-state athletes, both brothers are appreciative of what it means to get a boost not just from home, but from church, schools and other community institutions.
"We have supported all the high school teams and community organizations in Warwick, and an over-65 softball team, and we plan to do the same thing in Coventry," Tom Jr. said.
Tom Jr. has even bigger plans for The Cozy Grill in Coventry, which sits on two acres. "This has so much potential," he said. "We are right across from Tiogue Lake and this is such a beautiful location. We are hoping to add on a 30-by-50-foot deck to overlook the lake. We have a room for parties of 20-25 people but we are hoping to continue to get bigger and accommodate even more people."
So as the Pilderians and their staff of almost 50 employees settle in, they invite you and friends, co-workers, teams and others to become regulars. Perhaps you might be tempted to imbibe a concoction of citrus vodka called Cozy Cosmo, try some fizzy, fuzzy navel champagne or just sip on one of many kinds of beers and wine available.
Putting their typical bold family accent on the words "cozy" and "grill," the Pilderians promise a dining experience that puts The Cozy Grill stamp of approval at its second Rhode Island location.
The Cozy Grill Restaurant, 473 Tiogue Ave., Coventry, is open six days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays. For more information, visit www.cozygrill.com or call 401-821-3440.