Bentleys Restaurant to reopen in Woodstock
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | April 18,2013
Christian Avard Photo
John Ruggieri and Maria Freddura stand in front of Bentleys Restaurant mascot, “The Winged Warrior.” Ruggieri and Freddura will reopen the Woodstock Village restaurant today and the new River Stones restaurant in Quechee in May.
WOODSTOCK — Bentleys Restaurant of Woodstock is “never changing but always something new.” At least that’s what the new owners are saying on the restaurant’s website.
John Ruggieri and Maria Freddura of Boston were all smiles Tuesday after they obtained state approval to reopen the popular Elm Street restaurant. According to Ruggieri, dinner, drinks and entertainment will be served starting today and they are proud to reopen an important Woodstock Village landmark.
“We were in hyper drive the last couple of weeks,” Ruggieri said. “Vermont authorities were helpful, the health department and liquor control were responsive and they got us back open as quickly as they could. We all did it at breakneck speed.”
Ruggieri and Freddura are restoring Bentleys to its original splendor, they said. They furnished the restaurant with Woodstock artifacts and antiques, made improvements to the kitchen and will bring back the old menu with specials on a rotating basis.
“We’re not going to change what people expect at Bentleys. There will be live entertainment, dancing after dark and Bentleys classic menu items. We’re also going to offer specials that haven’t been served there before, whether it’s Italian or seafood fare, and we’ve freshened up the bar as well,” Ruggieri said.
The new company, Stonewall of Woodstock Corporation, acquired Bentleys after David Creech and Bill Deckelbaum of Mountain Trading Company filed for bankruptcy. A lease was arranged March 5 with the landlord Oliver Bock and restaurant ownership changed hands March 25, according to court documents.
Included in the transfer was another restaurant in Quechee called Fire Stones. Fire Stones is now operated by Stonewall of Quechee Corporation and Ruggieri and Freddura renamed the restaurant River Stones.
Ruggieri and Freddura intended to open River Stones along with Bentleys, but River Stone’s licensing dates, hearings and inspections were on a different schedule and River Stone’s opening date was moved to Mother’s Day Weekend.
Ruggieri and Freddura are part-time Barnard residents who were devastated when they heard about Bentleys’ and Fire Stones’ abrupt closings March 4.
Ruggieri, a private practice lawyer whospecializes in business dealings, and Freddura, owner and operator of three Daily Catch Restaurants in Brookline and Boston,saw