State Watch

Restaurant owner defends calamari as ‘bipartisan’ after Democratic convention appearance


The chef whose appearance with a platter of calamari went viral during the Democratic National Convention said his presence was not intended as a political endorsement.

John Bordieri, executive chef at seafood restaurant Iggy’s, appeared with Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman Joseph M. McNamara during a state roll call filmed on Warwick’s Oakland Beach. Numerous Twitter users, including Rhode Island’s Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) and Rep. David Cicilline (D), celebrated the cameo appearance by one of the state’s signature dishes.

Bordieri, however, told The Washington Post he remained undecided ahead of the November election.

“Everything to me is always the same,” he said. “They say they’re going to change health plans, the economy, the workforce. … The only thing that really changes is the price of things going up, and all these rich people making more money.”

The chef said he typically votes, but “I don’t really have any say on who, what, when or where.” He was far more enthusiastic about the calamari itself.

“We have a very good product. It’s always fresh, and it’s pretty much the best sauce we serve,” he said. “It’s a great flavor. … Where else would you go but the beach in Rhode Island for a restaurant serving calamari?”

The restaurant’s three locations serve 300 to 500 pounds of calamari a week, according to the Post.

Iggy’s owner David Gravino also said he didn’t intend to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, telling the Post that he served “bipartisan calamari” and would have made a similar arrangement with the state GOP.

McNamara, meanwhile, has spent about seven years campaigning to brand calamari as the state’s official appetizer. As a result, he said, the state has launched a marketing blitz that associates calamari with the state and brought in $60 million a year, according to the Providence Journal.

Tags 2020 conventions 2020 Democratic convention calamari David Cicilline DNC Joe Biden Rhode Island Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video