How has Quito’s changed over the years?
Quito’s opened in 1954 with my “Grandma” (Joanne Quito) cooking fish and chips on Fridays in the front of the shellfish company that my “Poppi” (Peter Quito) owned. My father (Albert Quito) saw the development of Bristol’s waterfront in the early ‘90s and thought it would be a good idea to capitalize on that. When Quito’s first opened as a sit-down restaurant, the seating was only in the front; the back of the building remained a retail and wholesale shellfish business. As the restaurant flourished, so did its size. We now have 32 tables, both inside and outside, as well as bar seating.
Do you work side-by-side with your family?
My father owns and runs Quito’s. I manage the dining room, take care of large reservations and handle advertising and special events. My brother Michael is in the kitchen cooking, and my grandmother, cousins and aunt all work in the dining room with me as well. I love that Quito’s is a family business – I feel that is part of our charm.
Where do you buy your fish?
We get all of our seafood from local fishermen. Most of the fish we have on our menu comes fresh from Foley Fish. Inthe summer, we get fresh seafood daily.
What must-have dishes would you recommend to new customers?
I love our Calamari Mediterranean – a pasta dish served with sautéed or fried calamari in a zesty marinara sauce with pepperoncini peppers and kalamata olives. Our Fish and Chips are light and always cooked perfectly, and our Lobster Roll has fresh hand-picked meat with a touch of mayo. For appetizers, I personally love the Stuffed Quahogs, which are made by my father daily, as well as the Steamed Mussels in our famous garlic and oil sauce.
If you could only eat one dish on the menu, what would it be?
I would have to say our Seafood Casserole, which is made with buttery cracker crumbs, lobster, scallops, shrimp and fish all baked until bubbling and golden brown. It’s absolutely delicious.
It’s almost swimsuit season – do you offer healthy menu options?
My father is very heath conscious. He works out regularly and eats mostly fresh, organic food. I recently added a Golden Salad – golden delicious apples, strawberries, mixed greens, caramelized pecans,goat cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette. We also have Grilled Lobster Tails and Grilled Organic Chicken served with a lime and agave marinade (my father’s own recipe). Classic items that are diet friendly are any of our pan-seared dishes, anything steamed (clams, littlenecks and mussels) and our homemade seafood stew.
Do you have any summer drink specials?
We have new drink specials every three to four weeks corresponding with holidays and special events.
Speaking of special events, do any stand out as memorable?
Last summer, Roger Williams University had two amazing lobster clam boils with us. It was the first time some of these students had enjoyed Rhode Island seafood. I felt honored to have share this with them.
What’s the best seat in the house?
Table 44 has 180-degree breathtaking views of the Bristol Bay, the breeze and the sunset. Overall, the whole setting is very romantic.
Alyssa Quito manages Quito’s Restaurant and Bar at 411 Thames Street in Bristol. 401-253-4500