SWANSEA — Fall River has an ample supply of Portuguese restaurants, but that’s not the case in Swansea, where the owners of the Ocean Grove Portuguese Steakhouse are planning to fill in that gap.
Mario Loureiro and his wife, Ana Perry Pinto, bought the former Benchwarmers at 317 Ocean Grove Ave. this winter and have transformed the former sports bar into a family-oriented restaurant serving Portuguese fare.
His daughter, general manager Patricia Loureiro, said they completely redid the dining area and her father cleared out brush and trees on the side of the building opening up the view to the water out back for casual outdoor dining at wooden picnic tables.
As of last week, they were still in the process of slowly opening for business serving a limited dinner menu on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays as they work out the kinks and get the staff trained. Eventually, sometime later this month, they will have a grand opening.
One side of the restaurant is a bar with a few tables and the dining room, facing out to the water, has about 30 or so tables of varying sizes to accommodate diners.
Mario Loureiro, who owns a bar/restaurant in East Providence called Tropical Ilhas, was looking for a new place to open when the opportunity came up in Swansea. “There are a lot of Portuguese restaurants in Fall River and a lot in East Providence, but there aren’t a lot around here,” said Patricia Loureiro.
Her father, a native of the Azores, uses recipes handed down from his mother for the home-style Portuguese fare. Focusing on steaks, the menu features several sizes of Portuguese-style steaks topped with an egg and pepper, all of which are served with fries and rice. Pork or chicken is served Alentejana-style with a house sauce topped with littlenecks, and they also offer chicken or shrimp Mozambique style.
Among the seafood offerings, diners will find a stuffed lobster with Mario’s secret stuffing, shrimp with orange sauce, and grilled cod.
For lighter fare, the sandwich options include cacoila, bifana, chourico and peppers, and steak and egg. They also offer a house salad or Ceasar salad, Portuguese soup and caldo verdo soup.
For now, the limited menu features a couple different steak options, prime rib, shrimp ola Mario (served in a secret, spicy garlic sauce) and for appetizers, chicken wings or shrimp Mozambique.
They also have a selection of a couple dozen Portuguese wines sold by the bottle.
Since quietly opening a couple weeks ago on weekends, Patricia Loureiro said the place has been packed, though they haven’t officially opened because diners have been posting photos of their food on social media.
For now, the dinner is available after 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sundays after 5 p.m.