ULYSSES, N.Y.—The former Barangus roadhouse was a favorite for gathering and gallivanting for its 41 years of business in Trumansburg, ending with its closure over a decade ago. Now, another local family has proposed to reinvigorate the site into a gathering place once again.
The Barangus bar and restaurant, known for the iconic black bull mounted on its roof, closed its doors for good back in 2012. Since then, the building at 2012 Trumansburg Road has fallen into rough condition, more recently sporting a large for-sale sign propped on the side of the highway next to its faded signage.
The forlorn property may find new life if a proposal submitted to the Town of Ulysses in October is successful. The Van Noble family, who operate a farm and commercial kitchen on Podunk Road outside Trumansburg, have proposed a “farm-to-table venture focused on creating barbecue-centered, local food menus for weddings and special events.” Some readers may also be familiar with the Van Nobles from “The Pork Shop” retail space they operate at the Dewitt Mall in downtown Ithaca.
The “Van Noble Smokehouse” proposal for the former Barangus property would take down the existing but dilapidated Barangus building, and construct a new building of a similar size (approximately 5,300 square feet) on the site. The building would host a cutting room, packing room and walk-in cooler/freezer for preparing, smoking and curing meats, as well as a commercial kitchen and retail space for meats, dry goods, and fresh produce from other vendors.
In the proposal, the building includes a lunch and dinner space with window views into the kitchen, a seasonal outdoor patio dining area, and potentially an event tent for private parties and entertainment during the warm season. The existing parking area would be cleaned up and re-graveled for staff and customers.
There is some legal/zoning work that will need to be done. The 14.37-acre property also hosts two manufactured homes along with the former Barangus building. The one right next to the roadhouse is vacant and would be demolished. The other, which is occupied and at the back (west) side of the property on Halseyville Road, would be subdivided and sit on its own 1.75-acre parcel.
Second, the specialized zoning on the site, which dates from 1979, allows a bar/restaurant and the mobile homes. The Van Nobles, though, would like to adjust the zoning to allow for retail, food processing, catering and events.
The proposal is only at the initial concept “sketch” plan stage and will require Planning Board approval and Town Board approval for any zoning amendments, a process that will take a few months at least.
Strengthening the local food system was a theme in the sketch plan presentation to the Town of Ulysses Planning Board in October.
“We have a lot of heart and soul into feeding people,” said Devon Van Noble. “I don’t want anyone to walk away from this thinking we’re just a catering operation.”
The goal is to provide food service on the property five days a week, Van Noble said.
The Planning Board were amused by the presentation of meats and packaging the Van Nobles produce. As clarified at the meeting, the applicants noted that butchering is not slaughtering — the slaughtering happens at a federal government facility in Penn Yan. The cleaned animal body is then returned to the Van Nobles so they can prepare and process it into various cuts and varieties.
The board felt that the food processing aspect, which would be a new use for the site, certainly required a zoning amendment from the Town Board.
There were some initial questions regarding stormwater management, and Chair Pete Angie expressed concerns they would need more parking than the current 30 spaces if they used a seasonal tent for event space. Van Noble responded that there was space to expand on-site parking, at least for another 15-20 vehicles.
Some concern was expressed with the utilitarian look, but Van Noble stressed they would have “really nice landscaping.”
“Is your expansion going to happen within this schematic?” asked Angie.
“This is a very sizable production space. The Piggery [a former butcher shop in Ithaca], they probably operated in 60-70% of this square footage. We have substantial walk-in cooler/freezers, the loading dock for carcasses and pallets of meat. This is the expansion version,” explained Van Noble.
The Planning Board formally, unanimously requested the Town Board review the zoning and subdivision possibilities for the proposal.
The plans will likely reappear before the town planning board in the coming months, and members sounded hopeful about the prospective business and the possibility to create a gathering place once again. The Van Nobles are being assisted on the project by local engineer Stephen Maybee, and T.G. Miller with the civil engineering and surveying.