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SOUTH KINGSTOWN â After 30 years an iconic Wakefield restaurant is closing its doors and changing hands.
Caseyâs Bar and Grill on Old Tower Hill Road is closing Dec. 16.
New co-owners Charlie Samaras and Jamie Laplume plan to renovate the space and turn it into Rare Steak and Fish, a combination of a steakhouse and seafood restaurant.
âIt happened very quickly, over a matter of three weeks,â Charlie Samaras said Thursday of his recent acquisition of the restaurant.
Samaras and his wife, Deborah, formerly owned Charlie Oâs Tavern in Narragansett until 2006. Since then, Samaras has worked in consulting, but said he is ready to get back into the restaurant business.
âMy dad owned five restaurants when I was a kid,â he said. âItâs in your blood and I am looking forward to getting back and running a restaurant again.â
While Caseyâs was never marketed for sale, Samaras and Laplume were able to purchase the business due to Samarasâ long-time friendship with current co-owner Joe Formicola.
Formicola purchased the restaurant in 1981 with Judge Frank Caprio and Larry Casey, though Casey soon left the partnership to pursue other business ventures. Formicola will retain ownership of the property and lease it to Samaras.
Samaras said he thinks Formicola is ready to âget into other areas of his life" but hailed Formicola for maintaining a successful business for 30 years.
"It's not a very easy thing to do," Samaras said. "And it doesn't happen very often."
Formicola also co-owns the Coast Guard House in Narragansett, which remains closed as it undergoes renovations to repair damage sustained as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
Samaras and Laplume will officially own Casey's once the liquor license is transferred by the South Kingstown Town Council, something that Samaras said he doesnât expect to happen until after the new year.
The duo hopes to open Rare by March and retain as much of the current Caseyâs staff as possible to run the restaurant, which will be open at 4 p.m. daily for dinner and offer moderately priced entrĂ©es.
In the meantime, Samaras said he plans to start with the renovations.
âItâs a beautiful place but going form an Irish pub to our steakhouse/seafood restaurant concept we need to remodel in there - change upholstery, carpeting, table tops - itâs going to get freshened up,â he said.
At the restaurant, Samaras plans to serve fresh and locally grown produce, meat and fish.
âEverythingâs going to be fresh,â he stressed. âAnd if itâs fresh, it has to be local.â
Samarasâ long-term goal is to become one of what he called âSouth Countyâs great restaurants.â
âThere are great restaurants in South County, all types and sizes,â he said. âWe just want to put our name on that list.â