Have you flown the Coop?

The Chicken Coop in Johnston offers wings and all sorts of tasty things


The Chicken Coop Kitchen and Bar is much, much more than Johnston’s newest business.

In just a few short months, owners Tonya Antonelli and her fiancé Mathew Ferruolo along Meliza Ferruolo and her husband Robert have transformed the 1,600-sqauare foot storefront in the Town Hall Lanes Plaza off Atwood Avenue into an iconic eating and drinking establishment.

For Antonelli, as well as her sister-in-law Meliza, it’s the realization of a dream — owning their own business.

For Mathew and Robert Ferruolo — steeped with experience in their respective general contracting businesses — The Coop is a showplace of their years of wonderful work.

Moreover, from the time people enter The Coop, its obvious the proud proprietors have created a special welcome feeling furnished with high-top tables and stools, couches, chalkboard menus, unique wall-hangings as well as a total of eight wide-screen televisions.

How did this proud partnership come about?

For starters, let it be known the sisters-in-law are no strangers to public relations, experience in the food and beverage business, as well as classic customer relations.

Antonelli, who grew up in Johnston and went to Winsor Hill Elementary School, Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School before graduating from JHS, previously worked for 27 years at famed Quidnessett Country Club where she started at age 16 and performed a myriad of duties from her days in the coat room to becoming food-beverage-members dining room/office manager to planning weddings.

As for Meliza, she also has vast restaurant experience from serving to administration and at one time wanted to open her own breakfast business. For the past two decades she has enjoyed a successful career with the nationally-acclaimed Liberty Title & Escrow Company.

Meanwhile, the brothers Ferruolo have been involved in residential/commercial construction for the last 25 years and have also had a long-time dreamed of owning their own bar.

When opportunity arose in Johnston to own their own restaurant, as Melisa was saying the other morning: “We jumped at it!”

“Mathew and Robert were keys in the demo/remodel and concept of The Coop,” Meliza and Tonya emphasized while musing: “They have also found their calling in the kitchen and bar respectively when they’re not working their full-time careers.”

An example of their skills comes in many forms inside The Coop, which has a total seating capacity of 60 people. Since the doors opened in late November, patrons can be found seated at the pub-style tables in the bar/dining area, which were homemade by the brothers Ferruolo. The lounge features black leather futons and coffee tables.

“We definitely had an advantage with our in-house contractors who specialize in commercial build-outs such as restaurants,” the sisters-in-law noted. “We were also prepared to invest a lot of sweat equity to bring our concept to life.”

Patrons range from veterans and first responders who are offered a ten percent discount. The eatery features fun signs like the “The Hen Den” to Coop Specials listed in colored chalk, featuring entrees, sandwiches and many wing items.

Each meal is reasonably priced and prepared by Chef Justin Ferreira.

The same holds true for the bar, which is managed by Justin Lemieux, one of the area’s most-popular and well-known mixologists, who is an extension of the owners’ pleasant and pleasing personalities.

As for the name, Tonya and Meliza explained: “We wanted a name that would signify a gathering place; a place for people to feel comfortable to relax, dine causally, drink and just gather with friends. That’s a straightforward description of what we offer — a small kitchen where we curate our amazing food and a full bar to perch at while watching your favorite sports games or just socializing with friends.”

The Coop offers appetizers, salads, burgers and sandwiches, wings with or without bones, tenders and a variety of sauces and dry rubs.

As several patrons suggested during a recent visit: “We enjoyed the house-made fried pickles and house-made potato chips.”

During a recent visit we observed people chatting about the loaded beak fries, crispy cauli bites, Skinny Chicken along with uniquely named Vera Wing and Sir Clucks-a-Lot.

The Chicken Coop Kitchen and Bar is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and there’s parking aplenty in the spacious Town Hall Lanes Plaza parking lot.

So, in addition to taking pride in serving quality food and drinks, the owner will tell you: “We aim to give that family community vibe when our customers come into The Coop and we are proud to service the Town of Johnston and intend to give back in a number of ways.”

Perhaps the words “Good Food, Good Drinks, Good Friends, Good Times,” which imprinted on the front window — and in gold script lettering — is what Tonya Antonelli, Mathew Ferruolo, Meliza and Robert Ferruolo and The Chicken Coop Kitchen and Bar is all about.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here