Benvenuti, Batali!

“Abbondanza” is Italian for abundance.

Mario Batali

“Abundant” certainly describes Mario Batali’s empire.  The restaurant owner, chef, cookbook author, TV personality and philanthropist has created restaurants — and buzz — in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Singapore.

Now, add Westport to the list.

On Friday, according to Skip Lane of Cushman & Wakefield, Batali closed on the former Abbondanza property.  The popular restaurant/speciality food store — across from the Charles Street office building in Saugatuck — closed last April.  (It reopened in August, in Fairfield.)

No details on Batali’s newest venture are available yet, such as a projected opening date or name.  He prefers Italian names — Babbo Ristorante, Lupa Osteria Romana, Pizzeria Mozza — and of course for nearly a century Saugatuck was a vibrant Italian community.

Something honoring renowned Saugatuck families might work — Santella Ristorante perhaps, or Pizzeria Nistico.

“06880” readers are invited to submit their own suggestions.   Click “Comments” above — we’ll pass them along to Signore Batali.

(Posted 12:40 p.m., Monday, Feb. 7, 2011)

52 responses to “Benvenuti, Batali!

  1. The Arrow.
    He needs to call it The Arrow.
    We’d move back.
    Well, not really.

  2. Terry Santella Anzalone

    Santella Ristorante would be great.
    My brother, Louis Santella, who passed away less than a year ago, would have loved it!!
    Bring back some “Italian” to Saugatuck, where we still live.

  3. Manero’s?

  4. Larry Perlstein

    I think the most obvious name for the joint is Mario’s Place Too. Hmmm, maybe that won’t work.
    Seems like an awfully small location for Mario but I’m not surprised about his interest in Westport … I saw Joe Bastianich, a frequent partner of Mario, hanging out, playing guitar and singing at the Dressing Room a few weeks ago.
    Between this and the Shack Shack announcement, maybe we’re seeing the trappings of a Westport restaurant renaissance!

  5. Molto Denaro

  6. Pigouta

  7. Another Italian restaurant in Saugatuck? Seriously? Not exactly an exciting proposition. Westport has ZERO culinary diversity (it’s ALL Italian). Also, that building has been on the market forever – there are reportedly some serious environmental issues…so he’s definitely gonna have to shell out some dough to clean it up, and that could take quite awhile. If David Chang wants to set up shop, you have my attention…but between Julian’s, Mario’s, Tutti’s, Rizuttos (all on the same block!)…what’s the point?

    • Jay, I couldn’t agree more! How boring and unoriginal to have yet another Italian restaurant. Once again, it’s all about the celebrity name with no focus on bringing something new to this town. How about non originale for the name…

    • I think the point is to have good food, no?

  8. Will it be affordable?

  9. It should be called Esposito’s after the fine people that ran taxi service and service station for many years.

  10. Richard Lawrence Stein

    So I guess my info was correct…

  11. DeRosa’s

  12. A new Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to Saugatuck soon

    Woogie, what is your thought on this?

  13. Jasmine

  14. The Dunkin Donuts is going to sit next door to a Subway at the former Bridge Street Market location. They shuffled it through planning and zoning.

  15. Westport has a lot of catching up to Fairfield to do…Fairfield has become more of a pretty and better night life town

  16. Sven Davidson

    Mario owns the Tarry Lodge in beautiful downtown Port Chester (a village of gastronomic delight of late). Maybe he doesn’t prefer Italian names exclusively.

  17. It will be nice to be able to check out this place when I come to town with my son for Shake Shack burgers.

    A new Batali restaurant is great and all but maybe someone could convince him to open another Eataly in Westport.

  18. Pretentious Palate.

    • Richard Lawrence Stein

      Ric are you saying my brothers palate is pretensious…. Actually it’s adventurous and worldly…. He has been lucky enough to eat at many great NYC establishments and enjoy the fruits of what the world has to offer…. Just because you don’t see the joy or interest in food appreciation doesn’t make one who does snooty

  19. Maybe it is because Mario is Italian and Italian Cuisine is what he is known for?
    Why would he open a Chinese Restaurant?
    There are Never too many Italian Restaurants!!

  20. Are we forgetting Viva Zapata, The Mansion, Dunvilles ,The Black Duck and the new Chinese takeout.
    Last I heard they were not serving Italian food.

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  22. Theres’a always room for another Italian restaurant in Saugatuck. Mario’s offers American cuisine as well as Italian, Tutti’s is small but does a huge takeout. We miss DeRosa’s so make room for Batali’s.
    I’m sure Mario Batali will have an excellent restaurant in Saugatuck.
    Good Luck to him. I’ll be there in the spring or early summer.

  23. J West doesn’t know. There is not an environmental problem. They did extensive testing. They will be open in the spring.

  24. Good luck

  25. born saugatuck

    Great news for Saugatuck! It would be nice to recognize the Esposito’s that were a bit part in the history of Saugatuck. Welcome Mario!!

  26. Who says he is going to open an italian restaurant? Maybe he’ll open a specialty doggie food store called Primo Snausages or Pupperoni Place.

  27. Now that sounds great Esposito’sw

  28. O boy

  29. well he’s gonna have a hard time with The Tuscan coming in to new canaan in may. Old Manero’s butcher shop/ Italian Market/ teamed up with Tuscan osteria. Looks like some one already stole your thunder baa-tali!

  30. Why would anyone drive to New Canaan?

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  32. He’ll be the second best chef in Westport…right behind Bill Taibe of Lefarm.

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  34. Were is everyone going to park? I’m sure P&Z will be star struck and help Mario out. Talk about big money! Let’s kiss those mom and pop places goodbye. What do you think Mario having a place in our town will do for our property values? Traffic?

  35. Were is everyone going to park? I’m sure P&Z will be star struck and help Mario out. Talk about big money! Let’s kiss those mom and pop places goodbye. What do you think Mario having a place in our town will do for our property values? Traffic?

  36. Please, this not the only restaurant in town with parking issues. As to the neighborhod, it is congested already. One more restaurant is not going to change much, especially since the old Arrow is now vacant. Mom and pop places will survive if they offer a good product.

  37. This restaurant will draw, unlike anything Westport has seen before imho. How many of you have made the trip to Port Chester? A bunch, I’d guess.

  38. He should franchise another Burger Shakes n Fries. That would rule!

  39. Break the bank to eat there! I hope not, but would be nice to try it!