We didn't notice any grizzlies or cougars as road kill on our trek to Dan's Place, though we kept our eyes peeled there in the wilds of West Greenwich. Eventually, there it stood, tall and barn-like in the wilderness, as inviting as an oasis.
401.392.3092 | 880 Victory Hwy, West Greenwich | Danspizzaplace.com | Mon-Sun, 11:30 am-10 pm | Major credit cards | Full bar | Sidewalk-level accessible
As such, for those who rush in to slake their thirst, a large bar area is immediately convenient, amidst numerous dining areas. The Harley above the bar is shelved as snugly as in a carport, rather than the usual practice of being suspended by thick chains. Reminders here and there keep you aware of where you are, such as photos of Narragansett and a humorous poster of all things Rhode Island. The atmosphere is comfortable for both suburbanites and bankers. Country music softly curls around you. The restaurant was so packed midweek that we had to use a third parking lot.
Dan Hebert used to be known as the proprietor of West Greenwich Town Pizza, just down the road. But as of June this past year, he pulled the curtain on the larger Dan's Place, serving the same grinders and much more.
There's a lot of menu to look over. A nearby table of seven guys were ordering burgers, so I checked that out. The nearly dozen options are $7.95, coming with fries and piled with such choices as spicy chili or robed with a sweet bourbon glaze. The men in two couples at another table both wore blue jeans and cowboy boots, so I figured them for barbecue. There is a slow-cooked pulled pork sandwich ($6.95), plus dry-rub pork ribs, barbecued chicken, and a combo with both ($12.95).
Among the 16 appetizers, I was tempted by the Thai chicken tenders ($7.95), since I'm a fool for spicy peanut sauce. When I came to my senses, I looked for something country. The batter-fried pickle chips ($3.99) were a lively option. But I went for something I hadn't seen since eating my way toward Canada: poutine ($5.95/$3.95). It's a French-Canadian comfort food, on the menu thanks to Dan's Canadian mother. It consists simply of french fries topped with cheddar cheese curds topped with brown gravy, here beef rather than chicken. It's as yummy as it is stringy.
Johnnie wanted to avoid cholesterol overdose, so she chose the Rhode Island-style calamari ($7.95). But that put her in danger, too, since the bottom layer rested in a pool of grease. The accompanying little bowl of marinara nearly made up for that. It was another home recipe, said our very bubbly and very expectant waitress Rachel. I know its secret was largely the added sweetener, but it was delicious.
So to indulge further I had to have one of the pasta dishes. My eggplant Parmesan ($8.95) consisted of two pancake-size breaded and fried eggplant slices under melted provolone and over ziti. That wonderful sauce made up for the pasta being overcooked, and the portion of eggplant was generous.
Johnnie had stuffed chicken with cranberry glaze ($9.95). There was so much cranberry it was a sauce rather than glaze, plus seasoned breading. The vegetable medley was steamed rather than sautéed. The baked potato was foil-wrapped, so the twice-baked potato, which contained bacon, would have been more interesting.