Rhode Island calamari is the appetizer seen across the nation during DNC roll call

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island democrats used their 30-seconds of air time during Tuesday night’s Democratic National Convention roll call to tout the state’s official appetizer while formerly nominating Joe Biden for President.

Rep. Joe McNamara, chairman of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, and John Bordeiri, executive chef of Iggy’s, stood on Oakland Beach in Warwick outside of the well-known restaurant while holding a plate of calamari for the short spot during the state-by-state roll call.

McNamara said it was to promote the state’s tourism and fishing industries.

“The pandemic has been very very difficult on our restaurant industry and our fishing industry. So I thought it was a story that showed people working together, help each other out, and to promote two industries that are suffering.”

Little Rhody quickly became a trend on Twitter, along with calamari, as the nation chattered about the decision to focus the 30-seconds on the dish.

“Our state appetizer, calamari, is available in all 50 states,” McNamara said before nominating Biden, as Bordeiri stood silently next to him.

McNamara said it took about 20 takes to get it right.

“Even 12 o’clock last night I got a phone call from the Washington Post, and I said, wow, this is real. And I’ve got my girlfriend telling me that people are all over Twitter, you’re trending or whatever that means. Now I’m starting to learn this stuff. So that’s pretty cool. It’s interesting,” Bordeiri said about his new-found fame.

Not everyone was pleased with the video. Some took to social media to say they wished the Rhode Island Democratic Party would have used the opportunity differently.

But McNamara said it served a purpose, to highlight the industries that are hurting and to encourage people to visit the Ocean State.

“It’s been fun, but it’s also been very serious business. Our tourism industry is extremely important to the state, as is fishing and particularly our restaurants. I hope people realize that through hard work and perseverance and working together, we can overcome adversity. And that’s what this was about.”

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island, Warwick