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  • Hilary Berg

Take Me Out


Shoeless Joe Jackson, the famous turn-of-the-century outfielder, earned his unusual nickname for running the bases in socks after a new pair of cleats rubbed blisters on his feet. Some may think he was "shoeless" his whole career, but the undressing took place once, during a single inning.

Ken Arrigotti, co-owner of Backstop Bar & Grill, shares a similar story. His executive chef, Narcisso Ponce, wore a baseball cap some 20-plus years ago into the kitchen of Arrigotti's previous restaurant, Lil' Cooperstown — the Arrigottis owned four more restaurants of the same name. The hat read "Mafia." He wore it only a few weeks. For better or worse, like Shoeless Joe, the name stuck.

It says a lot about a business for staff to be dedicated for more than two decades. Joining "Mafia" remain a handful of staffers who've worked for the Arrigottis for many years. Ken's wife and fellow owner, Lori Arrigotti, does the hiring. A former corporate trainer for Shari's, she knows what it takes. Keeping the employees happy is what the couple accomplishes together; Ken is always present. The high-quality food comes from the adept kitchen, of course.

Backstop's extensive menu comprises burgers, salads, sandwiches, fish and chips, salmon, steak and much more. If you order barbecue, don't hesitate; it's authentic and smoked everyday; the prime rib is smoked Friday, Saturday and Sunday, until it runs out. Ken says the brisket continues to be their most popular item; the peanut butter burger, their most unusual.

From his previous small chain of restaurants, he acquired 5,000 pieces of sports nostalgia. At Backstop, you can view about 400. One of Ken's favorite pieces is a vintage poster of Chicago Cubs player Ron Santo. It was after a game of blackjack at a Las Vegas casino, Ken realized the third baseman was at his same table.

Given the name of Backstop and the Arrigottis' former restaurant chain, you'd think baseball was Ken's favorite sport. You'd be incorrect. His favorite is college football, followed by pro football and then college baseball. Hockey is his favorite sport to watch in person. If you dine in the bar and a big game is on, he'll turn the volume up so patrons can fully follow along.

Next to the bar is the dining room of the family-friendly, family-run restaurant — two of their children also work there. It's an impressive place known for excellent food, fantastic service and a fun atmosphere.

Seriously, what's not to cheer about?



211 N. Grant Street

Canby, OR 97013


Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.;

Fri., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Weekend Breakfast, 8 a.m. to noon

Phone: 503-263-6606


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