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Local man opens up an old favorite, with a twist
The original Randy’s is back. Well, sort of. The most significant change people will see is in the name — it’s now Randy’s Bistro.
Owner Chris Wiloth of Porterville has also brought back the popular American-Italian menu used by the original Randy’s owner — Randy Krohmer.
Krohmer’s fingerprints can be found all over the restaurant. Krohmer still owns the building that was most recently home to Porter Street Steak and Pasta. That closed in 2012. Krohmer closed his restaurant in 2011.
“Randy was very good to us. He did a lot to get us going,” said Wiloth.
The restaurant at 1549 W. Olive Ave. offers a variety of menu options including steak, seafood and Italian selections. Patrons can also take advantage of daily lunch and dinner specials.
Using the old menu was a no-brainer for Wiloth.
“Everyone liked it,” said Wiloth, adding that new items were added, such as stuffed mushrooms.
The theme of the restaurant is a bistro feel with wide spaces between tables and an open area. Wiloth said that he wanted his customers to have a feeling of being outside, away from Porterville. Some of the changes he has made to the establishment include brighter lighting.
“There’s a lot of love and care in this place and that will show through our food and service,” said Wiloth.
For his business to be successful, Wiloth said 70 percent of the operation is customer service with the rest being the food.
“I want people to come back because they know they’re going to get great food and great service at a fair price,” said Wiloth.
With that in mind, he has hired six new faces, brought back cook Cesar Rangel and has kept three of the original servers.
The restaurant has a Facebook page which alerts people to the daily specials.
“If people post concerns or compliments about my establishment, I respond either way,” said Wiloth.
A first-time restaurateur, Wiloth has been in the food service industry since he was 16. Some of his former jobs include being a line cook and a bartender. Wiloth said he knew that he wanted to own some kind of business, perhaps a microbrewery, but the opportunity to own this restaurant was something that just happened.
“This kind of fell into my lap,” said Wiloth.
Wiloth said his family is an integral part of the business, as his relatives helped with the inside decoration among other things.
“Without my family this place would never be here,” said Wiloth.
To keep his meals affordable, a lunch will cost around $10. For families, he is offering family-style take-out. A family meal for four includes a pasta, salad and bread for $19.95.
Though still waiting on a liquor license, Wiloth said the establishment will serve beer and wine. According to Wiloth, customers will also be able to bring in their own wine — $5 corkage fee will be charged.
Future plans include adding a customer loyalty program and a catering service.
Overall, his goal is to provide a good experience.
“I want people to take pride in Randy’s Bistro,” said Wiloth.
Randy’s Bistro is open from 11 am to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Tuesday.
Contact Emily Shapiro at 784-5000, ext. 1050, or on Twitter @EmilyShapirogar.