August 04, 2014
SOMERS — The historic Somers Inn Restaurant, a landmark in town, has been sold and is now closed for renovations.
Louis Masaschi, a managing partner with Black Horse Realty of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, said he and his company are the new owners of the restaurant, located at 585 Main St.
Masaschi, who owns a string of Backyard Bar and Grill eateries, said the site will continue as a restaurant and he hopes to reopen around Thanksgiving, although he has yet to decide on a new name. The Somers Inn will not be turned into another Backyard Bar and Grill, he said.
Masaschi said he closed on the property last Wednesday after working on the purchase for several months. The property was listed through Chozick Realty Inc., a Hartford-based real estate firm, with a sale price of $710,000. Masaschi refused comment on what he purchased the property for, only saying it was “well below” the listed price. According to the deed filed at Town Hall, Masaschi purchased the property for $525,000. The former owners, Peter and Darlene Boggio, operated the restaurant, known for its elegant dining and gourmet cuisine, for the past 33 years. Peter Boggio had been working with Chozick, particularly real estate agent Thomas Boyle, since last summer in an effort to sell the restaurant as he and his wife wanted to retire. Masaschi said he plans to work on interior and exterior renovations, giving the building a “whole new look inside” while the inn is closed. Masaschi said he isn’t sure if the restaurant will continue to be called the Somers Inn, but he plans to incorporate that name into the new name of the restaurant in some fashion, such as the Black Horse Tavern at the Somers Inn, for example. Masaschi said his company was contacted by a real estate agent from Chozick and was told that the Somers Inn was on the market. He said he was interested because of the location and history of the building.
“I’m very excited,” Masaschi said. “It’s a great property.”
Since around 2011 Masaschi has owned the Backyard Bar and Grill in Enfield. He opened the eatery at the site of a closed Friendly’s restaurant, he said. He also recently opened a Backyard Bar and Grill in West Springfield and plans to open another in the West Hartford area.
The Somers Inn was originally built in 1804 as The Kibbe Hotel and then became the Olde Homestead Inn in 1931. The building was renamed the Somers Inn in the early 1960s after the original Somers Inn down the street burned down in 1957. According to the real estate listing, there are two buildings on the 1-acre commercially zoned property. The main building is the restaurant, which features a reception room, two main dining rooms, two private dining rooms and the kitchen, all on the first floor. The second floor consists of several private dining rooms and a bar service area, the listing says. The second building includes a seven-room apartment where the Boggios live, a banquet room, an office, and storage rooms. The combined area for both buildings is 10,541 square feet. Masaschi said the Boggios plan to move out at the end of the month. He said he plans to turn that living space into a two- or three-bedroom apartment and rent it out to tenants.
For the restaurant, Masaschi said he plans to make the place more lively with a “rustic tavern type of feeling,” complete with a full bar and outdoor patio, but still plans to keep the historic feel of the place. He said banquets and other events will still be hosted at the inn. Masaschi estimates that 30 or 40 jobs will be created. First Selectwoman Lisa Pellegrini said she thinks the inn being purchased by new owners is “wonderful.”
“We absolutely welcome them to Somers,” Pellegrini said. “We hope that they’re very successful.”
Peter Boggio and his parents, Lester and Jean Boggio, bought the restaurant in 1981, and Peter later bought out his parents, taking full ownership in the mid-1990s. Peter Boggio said in June that he decided to put the Somers Inn up for sale after his adult children told him they didn’t want to continue the business when their parents step down. And Peter and his wife wanted to retire. The Somers Inn has the distinction of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 19th century, it was part of the Underground Railroad — a secret network of routes, people, and safe houses that helped slaves escape to freedom in the northern states in the years before the Civil War. The escaped slaves were hidden in the inn’s basement during their journey.