Newport Restaurant Deals
Newport Restaurant Group's Smoke House restaurant

The Newport Restaurant Group announced today that it is helping to launch a national accreditation program for employee-owned companies called Certified Employee-Owned (Certified EO).

“This is a major milestone for the Newport Restaurant Group and for all employee-owned companies,” said Paul O’Reilly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Newport Restaurant Group. “We’re big believers in employee ownership and Certified EO will raise national awareness of this important idea. Job seekers, consumers, businesses, and local governments will now have a uniform and consistent method for identifying great employee-owned companies.”

Certified EO will officially launch on September 5th with 29 “founding member” employee-owned. Certified EO’s founding members operate in all 50 states and employ 47,000 Americans. “This is truly impressive group of companies,” said Thomas Dudley, CEO of Certified Employee-Owned, “they’re outstanding in their industries and they’re united by a deep commitment to their employees and their communities.”

Newport Restaurant Group originally became employee-owned in 1995 when some of the company’s original stockholders had expressed interest in selling their ownership. The Directors of the company saw employee ownership as both socially responsible and good for the company’s bottom line, so they chose to adopt an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and began to acquire stock in the company on behalf of the plan from those stockholders who wanted to sell. Since then, Newport Restaurant Group has enjoyed exciting growth, both regionally and financially, and its Employee Stock Ownership Plan is now the majority owner of the business.

“Employee ownership not only strengthens our business, but it ties us directly to the Rhode Island community,” said O’Reilly. “Our employee-owners care deeply about the local community and that is reflected in the fundraising and charity efforts we do to help our local partners like the Aquidneck Land Trust, Child & Family Services Rhode Island and the March of Dimes.”

Employee ownership is perhaps the best-kept secret in the American economy. Today there are over 6,000 employee-owned companies with combined revenue of over $200B and employment of nearly 2 million. Employee-owned companies strengthen communities, foster a financially savvy workforce, build wealth for working people, and increase the resiliency of the economy during recessions. Despite these major benefits, many Americans don’t know that employee-owned companies are so common and so successful.

Certified Employee-Owned is looking to raise the profile of employee ownership by combining the reach of employee-owned companies with a common brand and a common set of standards. “By connecting Americans with the great employee-owned companies in their communities, we will make employee ownership something every American cares about,” explained Dudley. “EO will become something people take into consideration when they’re thinking about where to work and where to shop. And it begins on September 5th.”

Newport Restaurant Group owns and operates 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille, Castle Hill Inn, The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar and Smoke House in Newport; Waterman Grille, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar in Providence, Trio in Narragansett, The Boat House in Tiverton and Avivo Ristorante in Cranston.

To learn more about Newport Restaurant Group, visit

To learn more about Certified EO, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.