2018-05-17 / Around Town

Caterers Feed Thousands at VOR Village


Megan Moschetti and Mark Bryson of Binge BBQ serve up the turkey special with bacon, avocado and chipolte aoili, all made in-house. Megan Moschetti and Mark Bryson of Binge BBQ serve up the turkey special with bacon, avocado and chipolte aoili, all made in-house. The Volvo Ocean Race is a race against numbers. So is the race village at Fort Adams for 13 days, by the tens of thousands. And those are just the meals.

Blackstone Caterers, in collaboration with McGrath’s Clambakes, is coordinating the food and beverage vendors for visitors at the village.

“We have 10 vendors inside the concession area [within the grounds of the fort itself] and we also have three sponsored bars: Mt. Gay Rum, Whispering Angel Rosé and Heineken Beer,” said John Edick, owner of Blackstone Caterers. “We have a partnership with McGrath Clambakes. We are combining to do all the food and all the beverages and all the alcohol for the Volvo Ocean Race.”

They are also serving the private VOR Club, open for VIPs from May 17 through May 20, including two large galas for 800 people on May 17, and 750 people on May 18.


Gastros mobile vendor makes its own sausages and salami. Owen Doyle delivers a Texas hot link with coleslaw and creole mustard. Gastros mobile vendor makes its own sausages and salami. Owen Doyle delivers a Texas hot link with coleslaw and creole mustard. In addition, they supply meals to about 20 boats at the docks or in the water. Edick used his experience in coordinating food and beverages for the America’s Cup races in 2012 to help host this year’s event.

“It’s always challenging,” he said. “You only have certain times of the day to get the [trucks and staff] in and out. It makes for a very long day. You have to be there before the village opens and well after it closes.”

He has 20 servers on site per day, including bartenders, cooks and supervisors.

McGrath’s Clambakes is supplying hundreds of meals per day for staff, volunteers and private events. Essentially, McGrath’s feeds the people who serve the people.


Volker Frick watches as Christia Simanski prepares her tuna tartare tacos at Midtown. Volker Frick watches as Christia Simanski prepares her tuna tartare tacos at Midtown. “At the end of it, we will probably serve over 5,500 meals,” third generation owner TR McGrath said. “Right now, there are a lot of people on the ground. We served 360 meals on Monday.” McGrath helped organize the concessions and provides staff catering. “We keep them fed, so they can keep on working: the Volvo people, Sail Newport, which coordinates the entire event,” he said. “We look forward to it. This weekend will be the most exciting part. It is an incredible event to be involved in.”

The vendors on site include the Blackstone food truck, called Fork in the Road, Midtown Oyster Bar, Liberty Donuts, Binge BBQ, Boru, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Del’s Lemonade, Bossman Burgers in Portsmouth, and off-island companies Gastros, Julian’s and Matunuck Oyster Bar. “We have the state pretty well represented,” Edick said. “We wanted the world to see different offerings from Rhode Island. The selection of vendors was not just to show Newport food, but to showcase all of the state. We support local restaurants. TR and I are so happy we were chosen to do this and give the hospitality industry a chance to be showcased.”

The vendors were generally pleased, despite a windy, rainy Saturday that hurt business, followed by a Sunday that recouped sales.

“Midtown Oyster Bar is all about community and we want to be part of that and to contribute to that,” said Stephanie Windley, of Midtown. “This is the perfect event to bring people to Newport and we are 100 percent behind that.”

“We do a lot of outdoor vending and we are trying to expand that,” said Casey Shea, owner of Boru.

His business opened three years ago, right around the time Volvo first visited Newport in 2015. “We are more established now,” said Shea. “All these outdoor events allow us to reach out to more customers. We go to the customers, rather than they come to us. That’s a great advantage for our business.”

Binge BBQ, which opened in 2016, brings a smoker to events like the VOR, the music festival, the beer festival and the oyster festival on Bowen’s Wharf. “I think next weekend will be even bigger than this weekend was,” owner Mark Bryson said.

The cold weekend had an effect on Ben & Jerry’s sales, said Alexander Bestoso, supervisor of the Thames Street and Bannister’s Wharf locations. “The sales have been the same as on weekdays,” he said. “This year, sales are not as good, due to poorer weather [than in 2015].”

Edick agreed that the weather was difficult on Mother’s Day weekend. “But we are doing as well, or better than we expected,” he said. “The weather can be a real problem in these kinds of events. Sunday was a good day. If the sun is out, we are a lot busier.”

Sean Napolitano, owner of Liberty Donuts, said he had a “spectacular” day on Sunday. “Blackstone reached out to us and this has been an incredible opportunity to get our brand out to the public,” he said. “We had a little bit of a challenge before that logistically, but we are very pleased right now.

Newport is the sailing capital of the world. We couldn’t think of a better venue to showcase this city than the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Return to top