Ed Sheeran Feasts on Italian (and Scores an Arm-Wrestling Trophy!) Before Playing Boston Calling (Exclusive)

"He said, 'I'm going to put it right next to my Grammys,'" Strega owner Nick Varano tells PEOPLE

<p>Courtesy of The Varano Group</p> Ed Sheeran at Strega

Courtesy of The Varano Group

Ed Sheeran at Strega

Ed Sheeran knows how to fuel up before a concert.

The “Shape of You” singer headed out on the town in Boston late Thursday evening for an Italian feast. Sheeran went to Strega in Boston’s historic North End, known as the city’s Italian neighborhood. The singer/songwriter was in town to headline the first night of the Boston Calling Musical Festival.

Dressed casually in a white t-shirt, Sheeran, 33, arrived at the restaurant for dinner via limousine.

“We did almost like family-style. He had a little bit of everything,” Strega’s owner, Nick Varano, told PEOPLE, noting that Sheeran ate everything from gamberoni alla calabrese, meatball, and tenderloin pizza to Fettuccine Strega, lamb chops, and pollo parmagiana. A table-side cheese wheel also made an appearance.

When Sheeran was in town a few years back, he and Varano arm-wrestled each other, with Sheeran "beating me fair and square," Varano recalled. But when Sheeran returned last week, Varano was prepared, and gifted the singer a jumbo trophy for his strength.

"Ed was so happy. We gave the trophy as the 'Official Strega Arm Wrestling Champion,' and he carried it around and showed everybody in the restaurant the trophy," Varano continued. "I mean, he didn't take it out of his hand, and walked into the limo with it. He said, 'I'm going to put it right next to my Grammys.'"

Related: Ed Sheeran and Wife Cherry Seaborn Jokingly Share Awkward Kiss at 2024 Met Gala

<p>Courtesy of The Varano Group</p> Ed Sheeran and Oshae Brissett at Strega

Courtesy of The Varano Group

Ed Sheeran and Oshae Brissett at Strega

While the duo didn’t have an arm-wrestling rematch this time around, Sheeran's kindness stuck with Varano.

"He is maybe No. 1, as far as his time and generosity with the staff," Varano continued. "He didn't say no to anybody or anything. He's really unbelievable, for a star of his caliber. It's almost like talking to my cousin, my brother, like somebody that became a friend. He’s just a regular dude."

Sheeran also caught up with Celtics player Oshae Brissett, who happened to be dining at Strega.

<p>Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty</p> Reneé Rapp and Ed Sheeran at the Celtics game at TD Garden in Boston on May 23, 2024

Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty

Reneé Rapp and Ed Sheeran at the Celtics game at TD Garden in Boston on May 23, 2024

Earlier that evening, Sheeran headed to the TD Garden to watch the Boston Celtics tackle the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Sitting courtside with singer Reneé Rapp, who also took the stage on Friday at Boston Calling, the duo drank beer as Sheeran popped his Celtics foam finger in the air throughout the game. Sheeran was also spotted chatting with Celtics stars Derrick White and Jrue Holiday.

Before the game. Sheeran was gifted a Celtics hoodie, t-shirt, and foam finger, which he was seen popping up in the air during the game.

On Friday night during his set at Boston Calling, which took place at Harvard Athletic Complex, Sheeran called out the Celtics for their win over the Pacers the previous night. Before the show, Sheeran was paid a visit backstage by Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey and her partner Joanna Lydgate.

"He is an awesome person," Healey said of Sheeran, according to a spokesperson, while Lydgate referred to him as "one of the kindest, most down-to-earth humans I've met."

<p>Boston Calling/Alive Coverage</p> Ed Sheeran performs at Boston Calling on May 24, 2024

Boston Calling/Alive Coverage

Ed Sheeran performs at Boston Calling on May 24, 2024

Related: Ed Sheeran Meets with and Performs for Kids at Boston Children's Hospital Before His Boston Calling Set

While in town, Sheeran stopped by Boston Children’s Hospital, where Sheeran took pictures with more than 100 patients and their families.

Sheeran’s visit served as his 8th visit with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, including a visit in 2018 when he stopped by to hang out with patients.

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