Barrington pizza shop owner opens new location in East Providence
Trendy's Pizza has grown.
The pizza and pasta restaurant with a location on Maple Avenue in Barrington recently opened a second shop in East Providence. The new spot — it's at 2777 Pawtucket Ave. — offers the same menu items, although Trendy's owner Mark Etheridge has already noticed that the East Providence customers have slightly different tastebuds.
"We sell more calzones and sandwiches here," Mr. Etheridge said about the new location, adding that pizza is the top menu selection in the Barrington Trendy's.
Mr. Etheridge said it has been his plan to open a new Trendy's every year or so, eventually turning the brand into a franchise. He said he has his sights set on the East Side of Providence or the Bristol/Warren area for his next location. For now, however, he and his wife Karina are focused in making the East Providence Trendy's as popular as their Barrington location.
"The challenge right now is splitting my time between the stores," Mr. Etheridge said. "Karina is working in Barrington also, and we're trying to go back and forth. We have definitely stretched the limits of our bodies. We know the first three months are non-stop."
Competition is another challenge for the Etheridges.
There are a number of other pizza shops in Barrington, including Piezoni's, Barrington Pizzeria, and the new Mangia. And in East Providence, the landscape is filled with more than a dozen other pizza restaurants, including Pizza Amore, which is located almost directly across the street from Trendy's.
Mr. Etheridge said there are a few things that set his store apart. He said Trendy's makes a true New York thin crust pizza, and that his large pie is 16 inches in diameter, not 12 or 14.
"It's a bigger product."
He said all his food is also made fresh on site — he cooks his sauce by hand each morning, his crust is a unique recipe and his meatballs recipe came from his grandmother.
"This is all from scratch," he said.
Mr. Etheridge said he shares a business connection with Vienna Bakery, which supplies all the bread for the Trendy's sandwiches. He said the large grinders are more than a foot long and heaped with contents. "The one thing Trendy's does better, it's bang for your buck. You get a hefty portion of food," he said.
Mr. Etheridge said he borrowed that approach from the old Russ Bruno's Ricotti's, a restaurant that had been located in the Maple Avenue Shopping Plaza for many years that prided itself on serving large sandwiches.
"Those sandwiches were enormous," Mr. Etheridge said. "I always said to myself, when I open my place, I'm bringing that back. … The response has been great."
Mr. Etheridge said he's got great customers who appreciate the larger sized portions, and he was quick to add that he truly appreciates all his Barrington customers. "We've been so busy in Barrington. I want to thank all my Barrington customers."
Mr. Etheridge said both Trendy's locations will offer a number of specials, including the $6 pizza Tuesdays.
"You gotta love what you do, and I love this," he said.