Pizza Power

Once upon a time, there was  Arcudi’s.

It was not Westport’s first pizza place — that honor goes to Westport Pizzeria, opened 40 years ago and still blissfully unchanged, right down to the paper place mats — but Arcudi’s was among the most loved.

It was home to two institutions: the “square pizza,” which makes sense because pizza boxes are square, and Joe Arcudi, who also made plenty of sense much of the time. Joe had 3 loves: his restaurant (in the free-standing store next to Carvel’s); baseball and softball (he coached and played), and Westport. In fact, he parlayed his Saugatuck roots and local renown into a term as first selectman, from 1993 through 1997. He was not what some people in Westport expected in a chief executive, but the Arcudi family was here a lot longer than you, I or Joe and Mel Mioli, and he always had the town’s best interests at heart.

In the mid-’90s, Joe took his square pizza to Norwalk. During and since that time, a parade of pizza places plowed through town. There are strictly home-grown places like Angelina’s; big chains (Bertucci’s) and small (Planet, John’s Best). There are spots with suitable Italian names (Joe’s, 4 Brothers), and those whose names have nothing to do with pizza (Martha’s? Gimme a break.)

There are names that miss by an inch (Pizza Thyme — a bit too frou-frou, no?) and by a mile (S&M Pizza — you didn’t want to know what those guys were doing in the back). There have been several others, clustered in the Westfair area, all of whose names (except Slice) I forget.

But now — bellisimo! — Arcudi’s is coming back.

Soon, the very same storefront — most recently the site of Chef’s Table, which served great food perhaps a wee bit more health-conscious than pizza — will house Arcudi’s.  Joe will be back in action, no doubt wearing the same apron and dishing up the same great grub. You may not be able to go home again, but you will feast on a square pizza at Arcudi’s in Westport.

Now, if we could work that same magic on Big Top…

7 responses to “Pizza Power

  1. Wish we could work that same magic on Chubby Lane’s too!

  2. jeff dyment

    I’d like to see an arcade to come back to town and a movie theatre or two. Who knows? Restoration Hardware and Sleepys behind it might afterall be converted back to Fine Arts movie theatres if the rents go down enough! There might be a silver lining in this recession anyway! Where do the kids have to go these days for entertainment besides Starbucks? No wonder they are all driving around like crazy people, doing drugs, drinking, facebooking and texting all night long looking for the next house party. It’s sad that Westport doesn’t have a huge teen center that is a place for Clean Active Fun such as music, projection movies, indoor skateboarding, a gym, an indoor soft court or two for pick up games and roller hockey or soccer, a cafe serving food, smoothies and coffee, climbing walls, couches, and wireless. In my humble opinion, this is what the Barron’s Land South should have been developed for instead of a new bank or retail building that is going up on that corner. Who needs another bank!

  3. Jim Wheeler

    where is Arny when you need him? Perhaps chained to some town hall door or another

  4. Peter Stonbely

    I remember at a very early age sitting with the warren family (JP Trey Jordan and of course Don and Judy…classic westport). every time they took me there I always got the spaghetti with sauce. Always tasted like hunts tomato sauce, but I loved it. glad to hear a good institution is coming back. And I agree that Im glad its not going to a bank as usual

  5. Was happy to hear that Joe is reopening the Restaurant. Son Todd cooked there for a few years. We’ll be looking forward to an early visit from the other end of the State as soon as it’s open.

  6. Ed Stalling

    Home of the square pizza! My very first job – washing dishes at Arcudi’s. Worked there for years in my teens. Joe was always good to us Stalling boys. Thanks for memories and glad to hear he’ll be employing a whole new breed of dishwashers!

  7. Judith Crowley

    I was a salad girl at Arcudi’s my sophmore year at Staples High School … I can’t wait for Arcudi’s to come back to Westport. Now, if we can only get The Selective Eye to come back to Main Street, I’d be in my full 80’s glory!
    Welcome Home Arcudi’s!!