Located in the north end of downtown Westerly Back Track Bar & Grille established in 1998 is in it’s 3rd generation of family ownership. Originally founded by Natale Gabriele (my grandfather) who was born in Acri Italy on December 25,1886. On April 13, 1906 my grandfather stepped foot on American soil through the doors of Ellis Island and found his way to a little town in Rhode Island called Westerly. As like many immigrants of that time my grandfather found opportunity and the American dream through entrepreneurship. Starting his business on the first floor of his two story home he opened a fruit and vegetable store which also included a fruit cart that he pushed through the streets of Westerly. Later in time with the legalization and licensing of alcohol my grandfather ventured into the bar business.
His first bar known as the Bucket of Blood replaced the fruit and vegetable store. With the changing times and zoning laws Natale was faced with having to relocate his business. My grandfather then purchased property on Industrial Drive and built the structure that still stands today. Incorporating a kitchen and catering to the working public my grandfather opened the Knotty Pine offering a bar and grille atmosphere. As time moved on so did the years for my grandfather who eventually passed and left the chore of running the business to my grandmother and seven sons.
Through the years, the Knotty Pine had it’s ups and downs from Go Go Girls dancing in psychedelic cages to pool tables and live music. Unfortunately the times got the best of the old Pines forcing a complete shut down and renovation. It reopened in 1991 as Nat’s Place; a toss between a tribute to my grandfather and the fact I carry the same name as he did.
The bar and grille lives on. In 1998 I felt it was time to give the business back its own sense of identity hence was born Back Track Bar & Grille just behind the station, just across the tracks located on the back tracks of the Westerly Train Station.