2008-09-11 / About Town

Tropi-Grille brings a taste of the Caribbean to Jamestown

By Eileen M. Daly

Chef Jack Coree cooks up the flavors of the Caribbean at Tricia's Tropi-Grille. Photo by Jeff McDonough Chef Jack Coree cooks up the flavors of the Caribbean at Tricia's Tropi-Grille. Photo by Jeff McDonough Tricia's Tropi-Grille, at 14 Narragansett Ave., is not your typical New England restaurant.

Owner Tricia Masso, 44, describes the fare as a combination of Caribbean, Cuban and Southern influenced offerings. From Florida to Hawaii, Chef Jack Corey draws on a wide range of inspirations to create a tantalizing menu. Cuban sandwiches, barbecued pork, and traditional jerk chicken with fried plantains are examples of the Caribbean/ Cuban/Southern inspired menu while the Polynesian stir-fry and Thai curry sea scallop entrees showcase a Hawaiian influence. "There are so many wonderful Italian restaurants in New England. We wanted to do something a little different." Masso said. Judging from the crowds flocking to Tricia's Tropi-Grille, different is a great idea.

Masso got her start in the restaurant business as a teenager working as a waitress to put herself through college. She grew up in Virginia and received a degree in international business from Mary Washington College. After graduation she spent some time in Rhode Island, moved to Florida and then returned to Rhode Island. "I kind of fell into the restaurant business," Masso said to explain her path. "I've worked as a waitress, manager, hostess, bartender, bus person, you name it," she said. According to Masso the restaurant business is a lot like running a household, "You can't serve dinner if there are no clean dishes." By working in a variety of capacities within the industry, Masso said, she acquired a thorough understanding of the restaurant business and developed the skills necessary to run her own restaurant. Masso opened Tricia's Tropi-Grille 7 years ago. Chef Jack Corey has been wowing diners with his creations for the last 5 years.

Tricia's Tropi-Grille offers indoor dining (and bars) on both the first and second floors. The atmosphere is inspired by Key West and meant to give diners an island-like ambience. The result is a unique and relaxing tropical atmosphere that is sure to please guests. The upstairs bar and lounge offers beautiful views of the Bay and is open to the public on weekends. It is also available for private parties by appointment, Masso said. The popular outdoor patio and Tiki Bar will remain open as long as the weather holds according to Masso.

But don't be fooled into thinking the restaurant closes when the weather turns. According to Masso, "It's always summer at the Tropi-grille," and she has plenty of exciting events planned to keep guests coming in during the offseason. Beginning in mid-October, a series of wine tastings will be scheduled. In previous years, wine tastings have been based on a variety of themes including an "Around the World," theme featuring wines from a number of different countries and a "South African," theme with wines from the region combined with exotic finger foods. Prices for the wine tastings are reasonable at approximately $20 to $25 per person.

Masso also plans to introduce the "Adult Happy Meal," during the off-season. A fun combination consisting of: salad, entrée, dessert and a glass of either rum punch or sangria. The Adult Happy Meal will be reasonably priced at $14.95 per person and will be available Tuesdays through Thursdays and all day on Sunday.

Tricia's Tropi-Grille is open year round for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.

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