Interview

Interview: T.J. Martucci of The Trap

Elevating the dive bar with local touches

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T.J. Martucci has owned both Chianti’s and its more boisterous upstairs neighbor, the Parkside, for over a decade. The Parkside was a true local dive bar, with the lighting and low ceilings that go along in kind. The place required more than a fresh coat of paint in renovating, and it got much more. It was stripped to the studs, had a taller ceiling put in and floor-to-ceiling windows installed on one side. After months of construction, the new place opened in March, and because it looks like a completely different bar, it’s only appropriate it got a new name: The Trap. We spoke to the man who built a better Trap in hoping that the world would beat a path to its door. 

You bill yourself as an Italian Restaurant, Bar & Grill and Dive Bar. What are you guys exactly? I don’t know a lot of dive bars with Lobster Ravioli.
We say Dive Bar because those are kind of our roots. When I purchased this place over 11 years ago, [it] was a little tiny fisherman’s bar. We stayed with the theme, but what was so unique about our bar is our talent in the kitchen due to Chianti’s being downstairs. So you would come into this dive bar, but yet could get a gourmet meal in an absolutely casual setting. People loved it. 

How do you go about picking out your draught line-up? I assume there are some mainstays for Joe six-pack, but are there any craft beers that are always featured?  
Our beer vendors are some of our biggest assets here at The Trap. We will always offer the staples but, with 16 draft lines in total, we are able to play with eight to ten of those lines and really have some fun. We attend all the local beer shows and rely on our vendors – the experts – to make sure we are carrying whatever is trending for that season. 

Are pumpkin beers coming?  
Of course! 

What’s your drink of choice and what are you enjoying on the menu? Don’t say “it’s all good,” I can’t tip you any less.
For beer, have a Monkey Fist. For a local mixed drink, the Deep Eddy Refresher is the way to go. If you want a burger, the Trap burger is like no other. For grilled cheese, the short rib. For sandwiches, French dip in a wrap. Best pizza is the prosciutto and arugula. We have two great new salads that just came out. And of course, we will put our wings up against anyone in town. 

What about live music?  
Live music on Sundays [ended] on Labor Day because football starts so early now. We invested heavily into sound, music and TVs. We set out to be the place to watch the games this upcoming football season with half price appetizers served all day. Music on Wednesday and Saturday nights will continue throughout the winter, so please stop in and check out what the local music scene has to offer. 

Do you ever know what drink order someone is going to get before they order it? Like, oh, this girl is getting something fruity, and this pretentious awkward writer is going to spend too long deciding what beer to get? If not, just reply, “I’m not a wizard.”
(Laughing) I can say this: Whatever you’re drinking, just order it once and next time in, they have it committed to memory. Most of my bartenders are some of the best around and it’s what makes us such a great place to visit. 

The Trap 
195 Old Forge Road
East Greenwich
884-3810