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Griswold’s Tavern took to it’s Facebook Page on Thursday evening to announced that it has permanently closed.

The following letter signed by owner James “Jay:” Madden was shared;

“Griswold’s Tavern which was named after the Griswold estate, known as the Art Association, was started on April 6, 1986. like most businesses that survived for thirty four years, time just flies by. It feels as if it were yesterday that we had our opening party. I was hoping to make it to thirty five years but unfortunately the virus that attacked us all hit me extremely hard. Sadly, I decided to close the door for the final time on April 30. I always had it set in my mind how I would end Griswold’s run, but this scenario was never imagined
I just want to thank my three families that were with me through all these years. First my immediate family who stood by me even when times were not the best or when I was forced to miss out on a family event. Second is the family that I worked with. These are my friends who always made sure that my best interest always came first. They always made that if I were not at the restaurant Griswold’s would be run as if I were. Third are my family of friends who I was so lucky to meet over all the years. Many would say that Griswold’s reminded them of Cheers “where everyone knows your name”.

We all had many laughs together and occasionally a few tears. There were a lot of great games watched, fun parties and some tragedies that we shared together as one. I think this is what will be missed most by me.

We did have some fun through the years. I only wish I had one last dance with all of you in person. I hope this virus ends soon and that all of you stay safe.

I will miss opening my doors to all of you.


Griswsold’s Tavern is located at 103 Bellevue Avenue. According to city records, 103-111 Bellevue was purchased from Providence-based Stonehenge Partners LLC for $2.445 million on February 10th, 2016.

103 – 111 Bellevue Avenue is currently home to Griswold’s Tavern, Megs Aussie Milk Bar and several other businesses and residences.

In February 2016 we wrote about the sale of 13,558 square foot historic commercial/mixed use residential building and at that time reported the sale was for $2.645 million. The property was sold by Christine Tellefsen to Stonehenge Partners, LLC, which is a subsidiary of Shore Properties LLC. What’sUpNewp had confirmed in 2016 that Griswold’s Tavern had a five year lease with an option of a five year extension with the new property owners.

Future plans for the restaurant, liquor license, or space are not known at this time.

This story is developing.

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Ryan Belmore is the 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 - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

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 ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.