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Randall’s Ordinary- Dreams Come True!

Randall’s Ordinary- Dreams Come True!

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There is a very special place in Connecticut that my husband and I fell in love with more than twenty years ago. Back in the 1980’s, Randall’s Ordinary operated as an inn and restaurant, transporting guests back in time to the 17th century with Colonial cooking prepared on the open-hearth and served by staff dressed in period-style clothing. Rodolfo had just left his native Italy and visiting Randall’s made him feel at home, thanks to the farm-to-table atmosphere. It was something like a Colonial-style agriturismo. In fact, this spot became the perfect place to bring friends and family visiting from Italy and we ate there frequently.

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I still remember the last time our family had lunch at the restaurant. It was 2004 and by that time, we had two young daughters. They loved to visit the donkey outside at the barn. That day, a cook from the restaurant came by and gave us carrots. The girls’ faces lit up with joy at the prospect of feeding the animals. I knew it would be a while, so I turned to look out at the field behind the barn, enjoying the deep sense of peacefulness that this place had always given me. At that moment, I thought to myself- I wish we could own this place someday.

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John Randall came from England to America in the 1660’s with his family to find religious freedom and built his home in 1685 circa. The homestead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was a hiding place for slaves journeying along the Underground Railroad. Sadly, the restaurant and inn have been closed since 2006, and the buildings have sat idle, waiting for a new owner to come along and restore them to their original beauty.

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That day has finally come. This property not only has a new owner, my dream of ten years ago finally came true! Our family has purchased the 28-acre farm, and has approved plans for the construction of our company’s new headquarters. My husband and I have always looked to the past for a better future and we could not think of a better location for developing this mission. Many people have enjoyed the tranquillity of this land over the years and feel saddened by its current state. Today, we are overjoyed to be the new custodians of the Randall farm and promise to be mindful of the historic significance of this property, in every action that we take, for generations to come.

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The best news of all, really, is that this farm will bring us closer to you! We will be restoring the buildings, constructing a new test kitchen, planting an heirloom fruit orchard and a field of einkorn. We will also host Jovial’s Culinary Getaways here, as well as in Italy at the villa. A craft brewery, famers’ market, cooking classes, farm dinners, weekend and weeklong getaways- everything we have planned will be a great opportunity for our family and fabulous employees to spend time getting to know you in person. This will be a place where you can relax, eat well, feel the warmth of nature and the signifcance of American history, but never think twice about foods that you cannot eat. Everything will be perfect. That’s our way of saying thank you for supporting our company’s mission.

We look forward to sharing more photos as soon as we break ground this spring. In the meantime, we invite you to follow our Pinterest board, so you can watch our project move along from inspiration to completion.

Resources of the images of Randall’s Ordinary:

  • http://www.angelfire.com/poetry/saverandallsinn/randalls_ordinary_inn/index.album/dsc00149?i=14
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/mortizgallery/3896689796/?rb=1
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Randall_House

 

 

81 Responses to Randall’s Ordinary- Dreams Come True!

  1. Nick Randall says:

    Bless you for doing this. I was hoping, hoping that someone would be able to restore my ancestor’s home. I hope it works out very well for you.

    I am sorry, but I guess being from Arizona, this is the first I have heard of Jovial foods. I will keep a better eye out for it. Thank you again.

  2. You must be so excited. The history behind this particular location is simply wonderful! This is the beginning of an amazing journey and brings such hope for all allergy sufferers. I can’t wait to see all the changes and true building of a quality brand!

    • jovial says:

      Thanks Laura,
      Food allergies have impacted my daily life for thirty years now. I really feel compassion for everyone with an intolerance and these getaways feel so nice and liberating. It’s our way of giving back to the great community we are building. Cooking to show love, it’s our way!
      Hope to see you there someday,
      Carla

  3. David says:

    Great development! My wife and I dined there many years ago as devoted owners of early CT houses. We are now as devoted to your standards and products, and it’s exciting to see you bringing together so much that matters.
    If you care to consult with someone who’s probably the most knowledgeable in the business (and lives in a 1690 house up the CT River from you), Iook here:
    http://sunderlandperiodhomes.com

  4. Lynn Cattrysse says:

    So happy you are going to restore our family home. I hope you will invite Randall ancestors to your opening events. I was there on the family tour in 2013 with Terry Bishop. I wrote a story about our visit to the farm, I truly felt our ancestors were there with us and will be happy to send you my story if you would like.

    • jovial says:

      Thank you for this great suggestion. If you would like to help us find a way to communicate with the members of the Randall family, it would be our honor to host an event for all of you. We would also love to learn more and read your story. Please contact Heidi at heidi@jovialfoods.com

      • Nick Randall says:

        I for one would like very much, if I can, to come to an “opening” of the property. If you are making a list of Randalls to invite. I am a direct descendant of John through his son Nathan and through his son Nicholas. Thank you again for what you are doing. This is an answer to prayer.

    • Ellen in Conn says:

      If the ancestors are invited, it will be a big surprise if they actually attend!! 🙂 I’m sure there will be a lot of descendants.

  5. Normand M Asselin says:

    OMG! You have no idea how much joy comes to me from seeing and reading this.
    For years I have prayed someone would not only buy and reopen this beautiful property, but that the person that did understood, respected and appreciated all the property meant in history and to the people of the towns surrounding it.
    I look forward to it’s future and must say, would be honored to volunteer time to help in the restoration of this property over the next several months as well as inquire about future employment as well.
    Blessings to you all to a great future, success and welcoming relationship with the towns and their people.

    • jovial says:

      Thanks so much for the kinds words. We have some great plans that will include the local community and we look forward to meeting everyone soon.

      • Terry Bishop says:

        Lynn and Mary (see above replies) were among those who went with me to tour the Randall property in June 2013. I was overjoyed to learn that your company purchased the place and to how you planned to develop the place. I can’t wait to see the Randall house back in its glory! Thank you!!! Terry Bishop

        • jovial says:

          Terry, it will take some time to get the home restored, but we cannot wait to see it back to its former beauty. Thanks for your support.

  6. SMA says:

    I’m thrilled to see the farm restored. I grew up playing on the farm as my uncle rented it for cattle. Down in the woods there is a fish pond. I know that that the last owners did not restore it. Hopefully it is still there. When we had heavy rains the pond would overflow and the fish would end up in my uncle’s pond. He would collect them and return them. Best of luck.

  7. Angela King says:

    It will be great to have a new business in town, especially since my husband as a “form” of gluten intolerance which he got later in life. If we won a trip, I’m sure my daughter would like to go back to Italy and not have to stay at a hotel this time 🙂

  8. David Turco says:

    Just read the article in The Westerly Sun about your purchase. After reading your bio and the pictures of your family here on your website, I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m also gluten intolerant and have recently been considering trying the more primitive forms of wheat based on my research, einkorn being one of them. Looks like Jovial Einkorn will be the one I try!

    Welcome to the Westerly-Stonington area!

    • jovial says:

      Thank you for the welcome David! I think you will find that you are able to tolerate einkorn very well- let us know how it turns out. Can’t wait until you come visit us and we can meet in person!

  9. Bill Clark says:

    It is a Dream Come True for me! I created Randall’s Ordinary in 1985, restored the House and placed it on The National Register, moved the Barn for NY for Lodging, built the Cabin, Wood shed and worked on the Barn. And did our tasty, natural Open Hearth Cooking with one seating and lodging with antiques. Thank you, it’s like being born again! I wish you the BEST!!

    • jovial says:

      It is such a pleasure to hear from you Bill! We have always had so such admiration for your vision. You created a uniquely beautiful place that touched the hearts of so many people, included ours. We are thrilled to be part of the Randall’s renaissance. We hope to see you there!

  10. Anna Kelly says:

    At last, I have been waiting many years for this very thing to happen to Randall’s Ordinary. I watched with sadness as this Glorious Homestead sat idle. I had the pleasure of working at Randalls for 11 years I totally enjoyed cooking on the open hearth., Best of luck in this endeavor and look forward to seeing this property come alive once again.

    • jovial says:

      If you were cooking at the hearth for eleven years, you most surely prepared out lunch. We hope to learn open hearth cooking and return the favor some day. Thanks.

  11. Melissa says:

    I worked as a front desk attendant in the inn for a few years between college and high school. I remember the very first time I drove up the road and set eyes on this gem of a place. I had lived 3 miles down the road in Pawcatuck for years without even realizing that this beautiful property was hidden up in the woods. I distinctly remember parking and thinking “I want to work HERE!” I did, and loved every moment of it.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at Randall’s and I am delighted to hear of it’s restoration and reopening. Very much looking forward to some delicious food and a glass of wine by the hearth, now that I am legally old enough to enjoy it 😀

    • jovial says:

      We felt the same way the first time we drove into the property. We hope to meet you some day and hear about your time there.

  12. Anita Kuan says:

    I saw the picture posted in The Day yesterday. I was horrified to see the old chairs and tables stacked in the side of the room! (http://www.theday.com/article/20150331/NWS01/150339851) I am so glad you will be restoring the Randall homestead!!! If any of those old chairs or tables in the picture are unwanted, I’d be ecstatic to get a hold of some of them! We recently bought our new home and are trying to restore it (it’s a 1700’s farmhouse).

    • jovial says:

      We have to say we are happy that everything is still there, so although the chairs are stacked up, they and lots of other things everyone remembers in the building are still there. For now, we haven’t had the time to go through everything.

  13. Clayton Allen says:

    I started working the Ordinary in 1992. I was a dishwasher, but also fed the animals, and cut and split firewood. I saw the picture of the front door, remembering carrying many armloads of wood. I never used the tractor to bring wood from the woodshed to the house. I put many miles on the wheelbarrow. I loved working there while the Clark’s owned it. Best of luck with your endeavor. It makes me happy to see the history preserved.

    • jovial says:

      Thanks for sharing your story about Randall’s. I can imagine that you really did carry a lot of wood back then! We look forward to getting that fire going again next year and cooking on the hearth.

  14. Cindy Clark says:

    Congratulations, Carla and Rodolfo! My former husband and I created Randall’s Ordinary, opening in June, 1987. We sold the property in February, 1995. The vision grew out of our avocation of hearth cooking, restoration of early historic homes and antique collecting. I visited the property a few years ago and was devastated to discover its condition! From the current photo and description it seems it has deteriorated even further. There were so many exceptional architectural features in the John Randall House. I fervently hope that they have not been destroyed! I wish you all the best in the restoration process and continued success with your business! Your work in rescuing this incredible house fills my heart with gratitude! Should you wish any help in learning more about hearth cooking, please contact me.

    • jovial says:

      Cindy,Thanks so much for your comment and your incredible vision in creating Randall’s. We would love learning more about hearth cooking. We will definitely be in touch and we hope to meet you soon.

  15. Anita Reilly says:

    Congratulations. Is there any chance that people can come out to the place before the construction. I would love to take pictures of the BEFORE construction and then AFTER the results. This would keep a record of the history of the place. Thank you. Anita

  16. Marianne McCausland says:

    Congratulations, I’m so very excited for you.
    I spent a lovely Italian Getaway last July in Lucca and can’t wait to see what it is going to be like in Connecticut. It’s going to be fantastic!

  17. Cogratulations Carla. What wonderful news! I am looking forward to following your journey and eventually planning a visit to Conneticut. Very exciting indeed!
    Best wishes to you and your family
    Carolann Kummins

  18. Bonnie Olsen says:

    Congratulations! This place looks amazing! I look forward to watching the changes and will definitely plan to come when you open. I have been using your products for quite a while. I absolutely love the flour and pasta. I just ran off a copy of the Easter Bread and will be making this today. Best wishes on your new adventure.

  19. Nancy says:

    I worked across the street from Randal’s Ordinary for several years. I am beyond excited that you have purchased it. We ate there many times. We are in Florida now but back in Connecticut in June. I hope to meet you and take some cooking classes as soon as your are open.

    • jovial says:

      Thanks Nancy, we hope to see you there too. The cooking classes are a lot of fun, so we’ll count on meeting you then.

  20. Dorothy Randall says:

    I have heard so much about this property that the fact that you are going to bring it back for what sounds like a wonderful use is certainly something to be excited about! I haven’t been there, but since my husband is a descendant of John Randall, I have my heart set on us coming to see the property sometime in the not too distant future. I have a great interest in old buildings, especially when someone is willing to take on the task of restoring it. I will be anxiously watching for the progress as you move along. Thank you so much!

    • jovial says:

      It is going to take some time to get the building restored, but we will definitely be keeping everyone up to date on our blog once the work begins.

  21. Eric Randall says:

    Very exciting. I am a direct line descendant of John Randall (Nathan, Joseph, Ichabod, Stephen A., Orrin, Clifton Sr., Clifton Jr., Duncan, and Eric. We have been there twice (from SC) to view the outside. I would like very much to be included in any opening ceremonies that might include family. Both times we were up there we left with sad hearts at the current conditions. Now we are so happy. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.
    Eric C. Randall

    • jovial says:

      Eric, we definitely are planning to invite the Randall descendant to the property for a celebration. Please e-mail your contact information to us at info@jovialfoods.com, so we can add you to our list. Thanks for your comments.

    • Nick Randall says:

      Hello Eric,
      It’s nice to meet you.
      My name is Nick Randall. I also came from the line of John and then Nathan. But that’s where our common ancestry ends. I came from Nathan’s son Nicholas, then Jason, then Alfred who joined the Mormon church and came to Utah with them. After that it was Alfred Jason, who ended up in Arizona, then Alfred Bradley, and Alfred Harvey.
      I too am excited about Randall’s Ordinary. We’ve been there once but it’s a long way. Thanks for writing.

  22. Bonnie Olsen says:

    So happy for you. This was an amazing story and I can’t wait to see it. I have wanted to go to Italy for years but it always seems that there are too many family things at this point in time. So, with a new place in the states this will be a reality. Thinking of a girls trip and a little cooking as we all love to cook. Just revamped a chocolate cookie recipe today for chocolate chip and Louisiana pecans – yum! Am going to try the Easter bread recipe. It sounds so good. Thanks for all you do.

  23. Lynn Cattrysse says:

    Congratulations on winning the taste test on America’s Test Kitchen for your spaghetti. Since you purchase our ancestors home, I’ve noticed Jovial foods everywhere. Good for you.

  24. Tracey Anderson says:

    John Randall was my husband’s 8th great grandfather and just located the information regarding this home. We are excited to see all the progress!

  25. Randall William (Coleman) Kirkpatrick says:

    I am excited about what you’re doing with this historical property as I too am a decendent of the Randalls, although not a direct decendent of John senior, rather, his brother Stephen. My closest Randall ancestor was my great great grandmother (Grace Marie Randall), She relocated from the finger lakes in New York to southern California around 100 years ago. I was born in California and relocated to Pennsylvania in the early 90s and I hope to visit the house someday in the near future.

  26. My wife in doing some genealogy work recently discovered that John Randall is my 8th great grandfather!

    Thank you for what you are doing to restore the restaurant and inn. Much like so many of the other descendants of John Randall and his family, I too would love to be a part of a great big family reunion or other event at your location!

    I am involved in a lot of fundraisers as a TV and radio personality and entertainer. If I can do my small part in helping with some type of event to either bring awareness to your project, or with some type of reunion or other community event, please let me know.

    You and other Randall descendants may contact me through my website at http://www.markanthonyanderson.com or http://www.markanthonyanderson.net. I would love to connect with some of the family!

    Thank you once again!

    Mark

    • jovial says:

      Mark- thank you so much for reaching out to us, and what very exciting news! Please be sure to keep checking in to our blog and sign up for our newsletter so you can stay up-to-date with the new renovations! Once it is opened up we would love for you to come visit 🙂

  27. Joan Randall says:

    Please include me in your list of Randall descendents interested in the ongoing restoration of the Randall property.

  28. Nancy K Neely says:

    As all the other Randall descendants have said – Thank You ! I couldn’t quite tell from your announcement if it will be your home or if you will still run it as a B&B. If the former, I hope you will allow ‘family’ to come for a visit.

    Nancy in Maine

    • jovial says:

      Hi Nancy- thanks for your comment! We can’t wait for everyone to come visit- we will keep you all posted 🙂

  29. Heidi Clark says:

    I will be in town in a few weeks. Is this available yet or to view inside? I would love to see where my family lived.

    • jovial says:

      Unfortunately, the site is not ready yet. We had a few events, but now that construction is underway, the property is not available for visits.

  30. Ken Randall says:

    Please include me in your list of Randall descendents interested in the ongoing restoration of the Randall property. Very grateful that this property is being restored and in good care. Thank you, Ken Randall

    • jovial says:

      Hi Ken, thank you so much for reaching out to us. We are very excited about the progress so far with our new warehouse and office. Please be sure to keep checking in to our blog and sign up for our newsletter so you can stay up-to-date with the new renovations! Once it is opened up we would love for you to come visit and have the opportunity to meet you!

      • Terry Bishop says:

        Ken’s posting reminded me–do you have a date yet that you can share with us regarding the expected opening day for the warehouse and office? Regards, Terry Bishop

        • jovial says:

          Hello Terry, We do not have a date yet for an opening. There is still a lot of progress to happen but we are hoping for early summer!

  31. Lynn Cattrysse says:

    Yes, please keep up informed. There is a whole group of Randall’s from Iowa and Minnesota who are interested in visiting once the home is open.

  32. Pingback: 10 New Products and a New Home for Jovial! | The Jovial Blog

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