Falmouth chef John (Jay) Bartolomei feels as if there are too few moderately priced restaurants in the area, and he said his new restaurant will help fix that problem.
Mr. Bartolomei is opening a restaurant and lounge in late May on the site of the former restaurant, the Regatta, on Route 28 in Cotuit. He is calling it Villaggio at the Regatta.
The menu will offer a variety of homemade traditional Italian dishes, such as chicken parmigiana, veal and chicken piccata and lobster fra diavolo, a two-pound lobster served with a spicy tomato sauce. Most of the entrée items will be in the $20 to $30 price range.
“The biggest mistake I think people make is following the philosophy that you have to charge expensive prices,” he said. “The menu here will be suited for all budgets", he added.
Mr. Bartolomei plans on serving dinner year-round, seven days a week. The restaurant seats 125 patrons in three dining rooms. There is an outdoor patio for dining, and a 14-seat bar. Although he was granted an entertainment license, he is unsure if he will offer live music and will wait to “get a feel for the place.”
He will continue to operate his current restaurant at the Falmouth Inn, Landucci Italia—for now, agreeing to stay on at least through Labor Day with an abbreviated menu. He leases Landucci from inn owner Gerald J. DiGiovanni. Mr. Bartolomei said the inn, including the restaurant, is for sale and almost sold last month, leaving his future there uncertain. He searched for a new business location and found the historic Route 28 location. Although the Falmouth Inn did not sell, Mr. Bartolomei said the owner is still looking for a buyer.
Over the last decade, the Regatta has changed hands several times. Most recently, Peter N. Menounos, owner of the Santuit Inn in Mashpee, purchased it through a bankruptcy auction in 2012 and opened the restaurant last summer. The property’s previous owner, chef Weldon R. Fizell, purchased it in 2006 and ran the restaurant for six years. Mr. Fizell purchased it from Brantz M. Bryan Jr., who ran it for decades as one of the Cape’s most acclaimed fine-dining establishments.
Cooking Italian cuisine is a family affair; Mr. Bartolomei’s grandparents owned for 18 years the Italian restaurant Danny Kay’s in East Falmouth until they retired in 1977. His father owned Johnnie’s Italian Restaurant off Main Street in the 1980s.