Construction begins at former home of Randall's Ordinary
North Stonington — Just shy of six months since Carla and Rodolfo Bartolucci bought the property that used to house Randall's Ordinary, construction on the new Jovial Foods Inc. headquarters has begun.
On Thursday afternoon, the Bartoluccis hosted a groundbreaking ceremony, in part to thank the people who've helped them reach this point, Carla Bartolucci said.
Attendees included employees of the organic and allergen-sensitive food company Jovial Foods, state and local government officials, construction and architect company representatives and other residents.
Mark Scherer, director of sales for Jonathan Edwards Winery, said he attended to show support for Jovial Foods.
"It's nice to have another local business come in to the town," Scherer said.
Sam Eisenbeiser, town economic development coordinator, said the reuse of the property "means just about everything" to the town.
"It's a well-loved property and it's an important property," Eisenbeiser said. "It was a great match to have Jovial (Foods) buy this site out because they have appreciation for historic property."
The Bartoluccis intend to maintain the historic character of the 28-acre property's 1685 Randall House and its inn, which housed the popular, Colonial-style Randall's Ordinary Inn and Restaurant until the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe closed it in 2006.
The placement of the 25,000-square-foot administration and distribution building that's currently under construction is intentional, too.
Because it will be located close to Route 2, its hustle and bustle won't disturb the buildings in the back of the property, Bartolucci said.
John Carlin, president of New London-based Carlin Construction Co. LLC., said the company hopes to lay concrete by the end of October and to start to put steel up in November.
Both of those goals, he said, will depend on how much ledge workers hit as they dig out the site.
He expects work on the warehouse, which will "replicate a barn-type structure," to be completed in late June or early July next year.
He said his company also is working on a master plan for the property, but that "the focus now is to get the business up and running in this location."
Bartolucci said work on the inn may begin before the warehouse building is finished and could be completed by the end of next year. From there, the construction company will begin work on the Randall House.
Both state Rep. Diana Urban and First Selectman Nick Mullane said they are thankful the Bartoluccis aren't bulldozing the buildings on the property and starting over.
"This property has a phenomenal history," Urban said. "This is a fantastic project for the town of North Stonington."
She and Mullane also said they would do whatever they could to support Jovial Foods in its endeavors.
"I just want you to know that I take this project to heart," Bartolucci later said, shortly before grabbing a shovel and digging a symbolic bit of dirt.
The Bartoluccis, who have been running Jovial Foods in North Franklin, plan to plant an orchard of heirloom fruit and a field of einkorn, one of the world's oldest wheat grains.
They also want to put a brewery in the on-site barn, host weeklong "culinary getaways" in the former inn and have farm-to-table meals in the Randall House.
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