NORTH SMITHFIELD — After months of rumors, coy hints and claims from some of, “fake news,” the owners of Lucky Dog Tavern announced this week that they have entered an agreement to purchase The Village Haven Restaurant, confirming what at times has been the worst kept secret in town.
And the good news for fans of the classic comfort food offered at The Village Haven for the past four decades is that much of the menu at the iconic restaurant is expected to remain the same.
According to a release from Lucky Dog owners Gianfranco & Sandra Campanella, “Customers can look forward to family-friendly favorites usually offered by The Village Haven Restaurant including roasted chicken family-style, prime rib, and house-baked fresh cinnamon buns.”
Plus, one member of the family that has long run the business has joined a new Village Haven management team.
Built in 1973 by the late Normand Branchaud, Village Haven has offered family-style chicken dinners and other classic comfort foods to hungry diners at 90 School St. for 45 years. Branchaud’s sister Rachel Naradowy and her husband, the late David Narodowy, took over the business in 1977, and it has remained family owned and operated.
The Campanellas, meanwhile, opened Lucky Dog Tavern just two doors down from the Narodowys’ long-standing business in 2019, with a focus on more modern cuisine, from cheese boards and gourmet sandwiches, to Mediterranean dishes.
Rumors of the purchase have been rampant for months and in April, both businesses alluded to the sale on social media, but declined to offer comment.
That changed on Monday, June 27, one day after what would be the business’s last day under the Narodowy family.
“Since opening Lucky Dog Tavern three years ago, the Narodowy family has always offered their support and friendship to us, and we are so grateful for this opportunity. We’re honored to continue the 45-year tradition of The Village Haven Restaurant” said Chef Gian Campanella.
David Narodowy died in January at the age of 88, but Rachel said she made the decision to sell the restaurant prior to his passing. Her final day as owner was Sunday, June 26, with the business to close through part of the summer for renovations.
“I will always cherish the relationships I have built with my loyal patrons, devoted employees and friends throughout the last 45 years,” Narodowy wrote of the sale. “The Lucky Dog team was always so warm and welcoming to us over the last 3 years. Trusting in our decision to move forward was not easy but we both felt this was the best decision for myself and my family.”
The restaurant is expected to reopen in August, still under the iconic name of The Village Haven, and still offering accommodations for large family gatherings, special events, bereavements, and wedding celebrations.
And while the Campenellas will continue serving their specialties and crafted cocktails around the corner at 82 School St., they’ll also take on the new challenge of renovating and maintaining a North Smithfield icon. Gary Narodowy, who has managed The Village Haven for years, will join the Campanellas’ team.
“I hope you will all join me in supporting the Campanellas as they transition to continue my legacy,” Rachel Narodowy wrote in her final message to customers.