Making your way to Loudon’s New Hampshire Speedway in July? Need a place to remember if you get hungry on your way to Indianapolis Speedway or Dover International after leaving New Hampshire?
Well just off the Mass Pike in Worcester if you have a chance please check out the Vintage Grille located at Shrewsbury St. in Worcester, MA.
The Vintage Grille is the brainchild of the Caruso Family and their partners the O’Connor Family features an automotive/race car themed menu of great food from appetizers like the El Camino Quesadilla, salads like the Tire Iron Blackened Steak Salad, to the Hub Cap Pizzas.
You can grab the Mustang Burger or the Bumper to Bumper Burger, or you can fill up on an entree like the F-150 Steak Tips or their signature Big Cadillac which serves up two heaping slices of meatloaf covered in sweet onions draped over a mound of garlic Parmesan smashed potatoes. All of these meals can be washed down with a selection from their great drink menu, and if you have room left over you can finish it off with a dessert from their dessert menu which features a Fried PBJ that is to die for.
If you wish to see some of these creations and this establishment for yourself please check out the video located on the Phantom Gourmet’s You Tube page where the Vintage Grille has received the very special Phantom Gourmet blessing which is a big deal here in the New England area.
As for this writer… Last Sunday I was able to visit the Vintage Grille, and filled up on their Mac & Cheese pizza topped with bacon, and had no complaints. During my time there I was able to speak with several employees at the establishment, and was able to view their racing memorabilia first hand.
That is when I realized there is more to this place than just their race car theme. The Caruso family has deep roots in the world of New England and Northeast racing… Deep roots, and even today the family is still involved with racing.
The Caruso Racing name today is also associated with Rob Fuller and Fuller Motorsports which competes in the NASCAR Whelan Modified Tour and has roots in North Carolina also.
Fuller himself was once described by the legendary Dale Earnhardt as having “a bunch of natural ability in a race car” which is posted on Rob Fuller’s Facebook page, and it also reads that the Fuller franchise having 40 years and 350 victories during their time with NASCAR.
The Caruso Family’s Keith now races in the Granite State Pro Stock Series, but the legacy of the Caruso family began back in the 40’s with Mario “Fats” Caruso who drove for Worcester Sand & Gravel. A no-name website gave this history about Mario “Fats” Caruso:
“Caruso Racing all began with first generation Mario “Fats” Caruso starting way back in 1949 with a Class B Ford V-8 two door sedan. The Caruso crew consisted of Tony and Funzie, who were his brothers, Al Mattress and Vince Abdella. Fats would soon take over the controls of Frank White’s Circle 2 Cut Down car, with which he won many races and the N.E.A.R.A. club championship. The Caruso Team joined forces with the Worcester Sand and Gravel Team, and from then on, you often saw Mario in victory lane. Not too long after that Caruso Racing ventured out of their home tracks such as Westborough, Norwood, Thompson and Seekonk Speedways to such places as Oldbridge, NJ, Trenton, NJ, Dover, NH, Pines Speedway in Hudson, NH, Utica-Rome, NY, and Oswego, NY collecting win after win. Fats won his last ever modified race in the Bill Ross car at Thompson Speedway. Along with the Caruso Family Racing Team, Fats ran an SK Modified at Thompson and at Stafford Motor Speedway. His last career feature win was at the Thompson 300 SK race in 1984. That was also the year Fats decided to retire although he did dust off the good old helmet to run with his son David in each of the World Series at Thompson from 1989 to 1991. Mario “Fats” Caruso died of terminal cancer in October of 1993 and is greatly missed.
The racing tradition has carried on through Dave Caruso, passed on to Jeff and now Keith, and you can see the photos and their accomplishments throughout the establishment, and on their social media.
So if you are in the Boston area and looking for a racing fix while eating please make sure to stop in and check out the Vintage Grille at 346 Shrewsbury St. Worcester, MA. 01604.