I picked up the Cranston Herald and saw Chef Scott Hampson’s photo in an ad for Christopher’s Cranston Deli & Pub. It was the same Hampson whose delicious creations I had enjoyed recently at Providence’s Finnegan’s Wake.
Owner Bob Coleman hired Hampson to revise his menu and bring his talents to the popular Knightsville establishment, which has the feel of the old TV show “Cheers.” And that he has done!
We stopped by for his famous huge, tasty stuffies (2 for $5) and white clam chowder with a touch of dill and chicken escarole soup ($2.50 a cup) and were treated to free pizza, served nightly from 4:30-6 p.m.
Scott is glad to be back in Cranston, where it takes him 42 seconds to get to work (“I timed it.”).
While he is currently developing a new menu based on some of his favorite dishes, many of Christopher’s standards are still on the menu, including the Boar’s Head deli meats that make up a wide variety of sandwiches and can be purchased, in addition to a wide variety of prepared salads and dishes, from the deli counter.
Coleman, a long-time fixture on the Cranston scene, purchased Christopher’s 2½ years ago after selling The Galley in North Kingston, now the home of 7 Seasons.
“There are more restaurants in Knightsville than any other part of Cranston,” Coleman noted. “We offer something a little bit different than the others.”
The bar area is a popular spot for the local regulars, and Bob and bartender/waitress Sue knew everyone’s name. There is also a banquet room that seats 50 comfortably and can be expanded. Coleman recently bought the jewelry store adjacent to him to expand his growing business.
We popped in last week to check out the scene. Scott had prepared grilled salmon ($16) for the couple next to us and pulled pork quesadillas ($9) for two men at the bar.
The meal starts with something we’ve never had in a Rhode Island restaurant: a bread basket of warm pretzel bread. Christopher’s serves it with yellow mustard for those traditional Rhode Islanders. We prefer it as it comes out of the oven.
Joyce was intrigued by the Special for the Day, Pompeii Pizza ($7.50 small/$15 large). The crispy, crusted pizza was loaded with spinach, tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, mozzarella, garlic and oil. She let me have a small piece.
I ordered Scott’s signature dish, a huge combination of chicken, rabe, red roasted peppers, chick peas and hot sausage served over pasta with garlic and oil ($13). It was delicious and even better the next day.
Most full course dinners, including salad and pretzel bread are reasonably priced at $13-$15, and the servings are large. Most small pizzas, which are plenty for one person, are $7.
Christopher’s is located in the shopping plaza at 1458 Park Ave. Their phone number is 942-9601. If you want to enjoy good food at reasonable prices in a homey atmosphere where everyone makes you feel at home (We had stopped there for a bite the night before Thanksgiving, and two guys at the bar wished us a Happy Thanksgiving when we left), Christopher’s is the perfect spot.