Once a dive bar always a dive bar. The Ritz is getting back to its roots. Not fancy, not a BBQ joint, just a little bar with good food and drinks and a colorful clientele.
Over the the last couple years, The Ritz has been on a journey sort of, trying out new things, learning along the way. Though not the same as it was 20 years ago or even five years ago, The Ritz is where it needs to be.
New manager, Kelly Feirtag, has only been on the job for a little while, but is really working to create a the right vibe and make people happy to be at The Ritz. Her first week she spent hanging out with customers. Talking to them, discovering what they liked and didn’t like. You all know that Islanders have opinions to share.
People like The Ritz because it’s a place to get a drink, talk, and grab a bite. Open early, closing late, full of music all year long, this bar is like the Island’s Cheers. You come as you are. The clientele is diverse, and the “Ritz raf” is always entertaining (the true regulars).
Kelly is young, beautiful, has plenty of experience and energy, and is working hard to help make The Ritz a great dive bar. There are some fun bartenders, new and old, including Johnny Bares, who usually makes an appearance in the Fall, but is here for the Winter, making the bar the place to hang afternoon, late night or in between.
There are no chefs in the kitchen, but some great cooks, whipping up some good, simple bar fare. The new menu is no-frills, but has a range of options. And a number of things are made in house, like the turkey is roasted there, BBQ and sauces and more. If you loved the ribs they had, don’t worry, they’re still on the menu.
When meeting with Kelly and owners Jackie and Larkin Stalling, I made sure to come around lunch time to sample a thing or two.
Each of them had their menu favorites. For Kelly, it’s the turkey pub. The sour dough is super fresh, the turkey roasted to perfection in-house, and it’s a serious meal. I had a section, and it was really good. The presentation was awesome too.
Kelly also loves the crab dip, as a Maryland native, she is pretty particular about her crab dip, and it was also really tasty.
For Jackie, it’s the fish tacos. The tacos are light and fresh, and make a great dish to have all to yourself or share.
Larkin likes the chicken wings. These are a new addition to the menu, and you can choose between buffalo, housemade bbq, or House Rub. It’s great to have wings at The Ritz, especially for game days. The Ritz has brought back it’s big TV, is offering game day specials, and is actually the Island’s official Patriot’s Fan Club bar which currently has about 50 members.
You’ll find burgers, nachos, lobster mac & cheese and more. Don’t forget about the Blue Plate Special which us back, Monday through Friday, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. You can get a hearty meal for only $10! There’s also new seating that is sure to impress a little.
Beers are a plenty on tap, some local favs, some seasonal like the Jack-O-Traveler Pumpkin Shandy, and of course, plenty of classics like Coors Lite, Sam Adams, Ballast Point and more. The wine list has some pretty good options, and be sure to check out the cocktail list.
Try something new or settle in with an old favorite. I should mention that The Ritz makes their own pickle juice for the Pickle Back shots (yikes).
Karaoke is back too, now with Johnny Showtime. Tuesday nights are where you can sing along to your favorite songs with gusto and not a care in the world. Everyone can do karaoke at The Ritz, and it really is entertaining to watch.
Of course, other nights you’ll find live music which is such an important part of The Ritz’s legacy. It’s so nice to know that’s an option all year long. The Ritz is really the place where salty meets sexy. There is always a diverse crowd, you never know who might be there which makes it fun.