Western Hotel Pizza & Tavern a warm place for a holiday evening
By Magda Dakin
The Western Hotel Pizza & Tavern is a great place to go for casual comfortable holiday dining in a warm, wood-appointed restaurant and neighborhood-style tavern. The tree is trimmed, and the holiday lights add a touch of seasonal spirit. Located in the village of Harrisville, part of Burrillville, Rhode Island, the restaurant has been serving the community for 32 years, combining traditional comfort-food fare with the latest fashionable-eating trends.
Each weekend the chef and owner, Al Mottola, has a selection of specials to pique the interest of patrons who want to try something not on the regular menu. Recent offerings included prime rib, fresh Maine steamers, seafood Fra Diablo, 16oz. choice T-bone steak, teriyaki wings, and pan-seared pork loin, all at incredibly reasonable prices.
For those who haven’t been to the Western Hotel Pizza & Tavern, don’t let the name throw you off. The restaurant is located in a historic building, built in 1794, which served as a stagecoach stop between Providence and Worcester. Although it is no longer a working hotel, it is definitely still a very popular stopping place for good food and good company. As Al says, “We have lots of regulars and when new people come in they leave with a full stomach, feeling like they’re part of the family.”
Al has been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years and still enjoys coming to work every day, taking care of people and being a part of the community. “We just had the 25th Annual Golf Tournament, which we do to raise funds to support local people in need. We’ve supported individuals, local sports teams and groups, helping to make a difference in our own community.” He notes that over the years they’ve raised more than $80,000 helping local families.
Family is important to Al, both his work and home family. “Much of my staff has been here for a long time: Charlie the bartender for 32 years and Elena the restaurant manager for 22 years. Right now, my grandson Nick Bagley is here learning the trade and during the years all of the children spent time here.” In addition to the long-time staff Al encourages and trains his younger staff members to excel both in the restaurant and in life.
The most popular item on the menu says Al, “Is the signature sandwich, the Western Special with roast beef, turkey, cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato. We make everything to order including the salads so it’s all fresh. We make the regular pizza dough in house with imported flour from Italy. All the soups and chowders are made fresh daily too. We pound the chicken and veal right here in our kitchen, all fresh, not frozen.” Gluten free rolls and pizza are available on request. Pizza is made in a wood fired oven.
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday, which allows their catering services to be available in house as well as off site. Tuesday to Thursday hours are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. 401 568-6253. The address is 610 Douglas Turnpike, Harrisville, Rhode Island.