Brick Alley Pub in Newport sold to Heritage Restaurant Group

An iconic Newport restaurant is changing hands.

The owners of Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant have entered into an agreement to sell to Heritage Restaurant Group, formerly 1899 Ventures, a Newport-based hospitality group.

Ralph Plumb Jr. and Patricia Plumb purchased the restaurant at 140 Thames St. in December 1980. They ran the Brick Alley Pub for nearly 44 years. They also started a family. In 2022, the next generation took over as business licenses were passed to sons Ralph Plumb III and Matt Plumb. Matt Plumb has worked at the family restaurant for 21 years.

The Heritage Restaurant Group also owns La Forge Casino Restaurant, Wally’s Wieners, La Costa Lobster Rolls and Tacos, Cluck Truck, Cluck House, A Mano Pizza & Gelato, Wiener Wagon and Newport Lobster Company, Aquidneck Island’s largest seafood wholesaler .

What to expect

The new owners called Brick Alley “a family business, both in its approach to its customers and in its multigenerational management team” led by Matt Plumb. That won’t change.

In a press release, they said that not only do they plan to keep all front and back-of-house staff on board, but they will also retain senior management, including general manager Kim Dwyer. She started her career 26 years ago at Brick Alley.

Ralph Plumb III said the sale of the restaurant was “not a decision my family took lightly.”

“The Plumbs are not going away, and people will see that over time,” he said. They want to be close to family, including their children and grandchildren.

Plumb said they are confident the new owners will let them do what they do best. What Heritage describes in their press release is exactly what they communicated to the family, he said.

“Together, we look forward to finding and capitalizing on the great opportunities before us,” said Michael Anderson, spokesperson for The Heritage Restaurant Group.

Their strategy is: ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’. The plan is to provide the resources to enable Brick Alley Pub to achieve new levels of customer service and staff support. Their investment is aimed at adding value where necessary. This includes exploring expansion options, such as adding a remodeled back patio and increasing marketing efforts.

Family history

Ralph Plumb Jr. grew up in New Jersey and attended the University of Rhode Island, his son said. There he met Patricia, who would become his bride. She grew up in Portsmouth.

After a year at URI, he transferred to Cornell University and graduated with a degree in hospitality management. He worked as a regional manager for the Victoria Station restaurant chain, which had a hundred restaurants at the height of its popularity in the 1970s.

“Our goal when we started Brick Alley was to build a restaurant that everyone can enjoy,” the Plumbs said in the press release. Their son said they are currently out of town and unavailable for interviews.

“We are proud that Brick Alley now has the opportunity to serve the Newport community for another forty years,” they said.

The family also opened and closed Plumby’s, a fast-casual restaurant in Middletown, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What’s on the menu

Brick Alley has always had a comfort food menu with lots of seafood and some ethnic twists. From chicken wings to nachos to pizza and a full range of burgers, there is something for everyone.

Appetizers include the official state appetizer, Point Judith Calamari, as well as Baked Stuffed Clams Portuguese and Gary’s Portuguese Littlenecks.

Scallops, salmon, ahi tuna and fried stuffed shrimp are the seafood entrees, while sandwiches include a lobster salad sandwich and a New England cod sandwich. There are also steak and pasta dishes.