Our family tradition was fish and chips on Friday night at Chelo's. The Cranston location at 1275 Reservoir Ave. was the closest of the nine restaurants in the popular Rhode Island chain. Our kids grew up watching the train go around the overhead track. But the kids grew up, and our trips became less frequent.
Our friend Susan lives around the block and told us about the renovations that took place recently, so we decided to check it out. The lines still form for the fish and chips and the chowder and clam cakes on Friday nights, but they seemed to move faster as we entered the spacious room with a large square bar in the middle, booths lining the windows, tables scattered in the middle, and an overflow room in back that doubles as a function room.
We remembered our waitress, Roberta, who has been there for over 20 years, and still greets customers with a smile. She admits that it took a while to adjust to the new surroundings, but she still loves her job and her customers.
The fish and chips were as good as I remember them. While there are many establishments that serve good, fresh fish, nobody has that special something that makes the popular Friday night special taste as good.
Chelo's also has the best tartar sauce in the state. I don't put it on my fish because I want to savor the fish as it is, but I love to eat it on my French fries. Try it, and you'll become a fan.
Joyce remembered their hamburgers, treating herself to the mushroom burger, which came rare, as she ordered it, with sautéed mushrooms and cheese on their famous fresh grilled bulkie roll ($8.99).
Chelo's has increased their "Healthy Dinners" with a good selection of chicken, fish, steak and salmon selections, ranging in price from $9.99 for "Chicken Delight" and their tasty meatloaf to $17.99 for smothered rib eye. The daily specials include the Sunday Special of roasted chicken and ziti for $10.99 (kids 10 and under $4.99), French style meat pie (Sunday, Thursday, Saturday) for $8.99) and a fresh homemade turkey dinner on Thursday for $10.99). Appetizers, soups and "chowda," salads, sandwiches and wraps, burgers, and pasta all have that home-cooked quality and are reasonably priced.
And then there are desserts. All freshly made, they sell for $3.99 and $4.99. My favorite is the banana cream pie, loaded with fresh bananas mixed in a rich banana mousse, with a crust better than mom used to make and topped with real whipped cream. At $3.99, it is a meal in itself.
Chelo's has a great bulk takeout menu, including their popular fixin's of breads, potatoes, cole slaw, chowder, gravies, dressings and sauces.
We're glad that Susan brought us back to an old favorite. We'll be back again.