RANDALL’S ORDINARY MAKEOVER
‘A NEW AND BEAUTIFUL LIFE’
New owners won’t ignore history in renovation of former Randall’s Ordinary.
By MICHAEL SOUZA, Sun Staff Writer, 08/15/2015
NORTH STONINGTON — As can clearly be seen by motorists on Route 2, the second phase in renovating the Randall’s Ordinary property has begun.
Site work has rapidly cleared land adjacent to the road in order to build a 27,221-square-foot warehouse and distribution building. The facility and its offices will be the new home of Jovial Foods Inc., formerly of North Franklin, Massachusetts. The company is owned by Carla and Rodolfo Bartolucci, a husband and wife team that has ties to New London County.
The duo plan to make the North Stonington location their headquarters. Ultimately they will rehabilitate the historic buildings on the 27-acre site and revive the unique restaurant and inn that operated there more than a decade ago.
“There has been a lot of clearing at the site, but that is necessary in order for us to
Site clearing work early this week at the former Randall’s Ordinary site in North Stonington. The work will leave the new home of Jovial Foods visible to passing traffic on Route 2.
| Photos by Harold Hanka / The Westerly Sun
place our new building near Route 2, so we do not interfere with the back portion of the property, which will not be effected by the construction,” Carla Bartolucci said last week. “We also had to account for a storm drainage system and a catch basin near the road.”
“New native landscaping will be extensive around the building this spring,” she said. “The road leading to the back of the property will not be paved and the upper part of the property will be renovated to its original beauty and hopefully much better. Stone walls will be relocated.”
If the coming fall and winter is mild, the owners hope to have the warehouse finished by May 2016. Work on the inn building would then begin, followed by repairs to the historic house.
“The town is aware of our plans for the site, and the project was approved by the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office,” Bartolucci said. The parcel is situated in an office/research aquifer protection zone. It has also been approved by the Inland Wetlands Commission, on Nov. 12, 2014.
About 4,200 square feet of the structure will consist of administrative offices, storage, and mechanical rooms. Access will be through the new drive on Route 2, at 41 Norwich-Westerly Road.
The single-story warehouse has been designed to resemble a barn, with vertical plank siding. The office building will be just at the start of the grass field, at about the height of the cemetery, and will be constructed from traditional timber frame, appearing as a Colonial home with cedar siding and roof.
The plans provide for the installation of a well and septic system, but based on the limited anticipated water usage and minimal number of employees, expected at 14, both systems should be sufficient. Traffic impact is also expected to be minimal.
The alterations to the area near the road should come as no surprise because they were part of the special permit proposal approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission on Dec. 4, 2014. At that time the property was owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and was purchased by the Bartolucci family in March 10, 2015.
Closed since 2006, Randall’s Ordinary operated an inn and restaurant, giving guests a 17th century experience with open-hearth Colonial cooking served by staff dressed in period clothing. Originally purchased a decade ago for $1.4 million, the Mashantuckets sold it for half that amount on March 10.
Since that time, repairs have been made in order to salvage and strengthen the historic buildings, which have been left unattended for nine years.
“We have hired a structural engineer to evaluate the John Randall home, which will be carefully renovated, with the help of a historian. No buildings will be torn down. I know the property is dear to many and change is difficult, but trust me, I have carefully considered all of the renovations and I believe the new construction and renovations to the old buildings will be a welcome upgrade to the property, because it will give a new and beautiful life back to Randall’s Ordinary, even though different than what it was, which is what the community has wished for many years,” Bartolucci said.
What is properly called the Randall House was constructed in 1685. The homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was believed to be a hiding place for fugitive slaves journeying along the Underground Railroad, and the house is also listed on the Connecticut Freedom Trail.
Also on the land is a 32-foot-high barn, transplanted from New York State and originally built in 1819, and a private cemetery.
When purchasing the property, Carla Bartolucci expressed her love for the local area, the inn and its wealth of history. Originally from New London, the couple spent many nights at Randall’s.
For 20 years the couple has built a successful business on selling healthy food alternatives under the Jovial name, and two of their brands have received national distribution. Their company has also expanded to hosting cooking seminars and vacations in an 18th-century villa in central Italy.
A similar plan is underway for the Ordinary. The Bartolucci family will restore the buildings, construct a new test kitchen, plant a fruit orchard while expanding the existing one and plant a field of einkorn, one of their specialty crops. In time will come culinary getaways, farmers markets, cooking classes and a craft brewery.
Site clearing work at the former Randall’s Ordinary site. The lower portion of the tract has been largely cleared. / Harold Hanka / The Westerly Sun