Fairfield County Foodies Favor…Fairfield

Fairfield County Weekly’s annual reader’s poll is out.

In it, something else is out:  Westport as a culinary capital.

The free paper’s survey covers a broad array of categories:  restaurants, bars and clubs, drinks and eating (as in “best buffalo wings,” “best burrito,” “best falafel”…).

For those of us clinging to the idea that Westport’s got all best places in Fairfield County, I have 3 words:  Get over it.

According to the Weekly’s readers, Fairfield reigns as county king.  Our eastern neighbor won 30 categories — 32, if you count Southport as separate, which the paper did.  (Southport Brewing Company won for Best Brew Pub, Coromandel for Best Indian Restaurant.)

In 2nd place was Stamford (27 winners).  The great gastronomic metropolis of Bridgeport came in 3rd (14).

Norwalk had 10 winners.  We were 1 back, with 9.

Actually, only 5 separate places made the cut — 3 won multiple categories.

The good news is that Le Farm picked up the big prize — Best Restaurant Overall — along with Best Chef (congrats, Bill Taibe).

Splash was a triple victor — Best Place for Brunch, Best Restaurant With a Water View, Best Restaurant With Outdoor Dining.  (The last 2 are not, technically speaking, culinary awards.)

Our only other double winner was — ah, how the mighty have fallenFive Guys.  It captured Best Burger and Best Fries honors, which are culinary awards (technically speaking).

Sakura won for Best Japanese Restaurant.  Our other champ, meanwhile, took Fairfield Weekly’s version of the Oscars’ Best Key Grip:  Crumbs has the Best Cupcakes.

(Well, it should.  How many cupcake specialty shops are there around here?)

When the busboy fills your glass, some people see it as half-empty.  They would say that — culinarily speaking — Westport has gotten really, really dead.

I prefer to see the glass as half-full.  I think Westporters are too busy dining in our many fine establishments to fill out some dumb-ass survey.

71 responses to “Fairfield County Foodies Favor…Fairfield

  1. Dick Lowenstein

    Five Guys made the list? They are all over, including Norwalk; what distinguishes one from another. Does anyone my age remember Mayhew’s or Prexy’s (“the hamburger with a college education”), both in NYC? Now they had burgers!

  2. OMG – better build condos downtown, add a parking garage and parking meters. Thank god the Y is leaving – we can use that space to support the P&Z’s new Restaurant Recovery Text Amendment. If we don’t act now, it will be a travesty. What will the downtown real estate owners do?

  3. Splash sucks. Great Cakes has far superior cup cakes.

  4. Le Farm’s food was good but not worth the price. I won’t go back. Via Sforza is Westport’s best restaurant. Don’t you agree?

  5. Simple Minded


  6. Sherry Rudeman


  7. Richard Lawrence Stein

    All of this is so subjective… I can tell you the best in all these categories and every town…. Here it is…. THE ONE YOU LIKE IS THE BEST!!! End of debate!!! Dan is a soccer guy, to him soccer is the best… To others it is not the sport for them but it does not make it the worst… To each his own…

  8. The Dude Abides

    Of course, it is subjective, Richard. So can you eat at Woog’s Soccer Cafe??

    • Richard ate there once. He said the food tasted like rubber.

      • Richard Lawrence Stein

        Yes it was a bit rubbery but had that hint of required chicken… But Dan your specialty is Coaching well run machines… So no harm definitely no foul ..pun intended

  9. Now we know where David Pogue’s Honda tires went.

  10. Le Farm is definitely putting out the most creative food with the best ingredients in Westport.

    Whether you enjoy that is up to you. (The first statement is less of a discussion I think)

  11. Charles Wagner

    Manola’s. Order the mussels.

  12. Bonda was the best. Had the best iceberg wedge and burger in town. Now it’s in Fairfield.

  13. Tommy the Barber

    Iceberg wedge? Wat is dat?

  14. Archie Goodwin

    “Culinary capital” It must have been that newest Dunkin Donuts that put Westport over the top.

  15. Don’t be knockin’ the DD, Archie. It is Corporate America
    at its finest and ooohhhhh, the flatbread is one of my favs.
    Ambiance is rustic sterility. Just how we 65% obese Americans
    like it.

    • Archie Goodwin

      Funny; no one eats at DD or Mickey D’s but they manage to make $billions every year and maintain a few stores right here in the culinary capital.

      • Those are for the lower classes. The aristocracy here in Westport does not touch Corporate carbs although Mickey D’s parking lot is always full.
        Must be Paul’s dressing.

        • Archie Goodwin

          It is all those people from out of town passing through. They must keep all of the pizza joints in business as well.

  16. Why is southport separate?

  17. Fairfield has always had best food.

  18. Fairfield has no personality. No identity. Just fair.

    • Fairfield's Defense

      Fairfield’s certainly has an identity. Local merchants, some national chains (but not many), fantastic unique restaurants, and many beaches. Now, I grew up in Westport and adore town…not b/c of it’s identity of today. Rather, b/c of what i recall it being yesterday. Main street escalating rents over the years have driven out the creative, local stores and restaurants that could bring this identity back. Now, stores and restaurants don’t make a town, but they help.

      • Archie Goodwin

        Dowtown Wetposrt reflects a revealed preference of the part of those who patronize the stores that are there. In addition, the rents have gone up along with the taxes on the real estate that houses those stores. The most recent proposed increases in tax rats will not help bring “mom and pop” back to dowtown Westport.

      • The Dude Abides

        The “Mom and Pop” stores of Westport Main Street past have been highly overrated. Kleins was about the only one of any use and they had a gas station in the middle of Main at one time. I still don’t know why every one goes gaga over the Remarkable Book Store. One step into Barnes/Noble and you can see why that went out. Archie is right, the free market determined the fate of downtown. I just don’t find any charm in Fairfield after growing up here. A bunch of stop lights on Post Road and college drunks on the beaches. No Longshore either. Lousy football teams too.

        • I have lived here since 1984 and I think the river running close to downtown adds to its charm as opposed to Fairfield’s Post Road. There are parts of Greenfield Hill and on the water that are gorgeous but Fairfield lacks the flair of Westport with its many celebrities, Playhouse and artisan history. And the Dude is right, nothing like Wrecker football in the fall.

        • Trends do not favor bricks and mortar. There are fewer and fewer purchases that cannot be made on-line in the conveniece of your home and outside of the purview of the tax man. The trends are so clear you would think that those in the political class who want to waste gobs of taxpayer dollars to “revitalize” dowtown Westport would recognize just how backward looking are their plans. Of course, in many cases of grandiose public works, self-interest transcends function.

          • Earle Stanley

            You make an excellent point, Agatha. But on-line shopping doesn’t seem to have stopped a packed Harding Plaza yesterday. I can understand an upgrade of the downtown but for cosmetic reasons only. I doubt if a complete revitalization will add any more tax dollars in revenue. As a Darienite once told me (referring to their dump downtown): “We like it just fine. We don’t need all the traffic and New Yorkers.” Amen.

          • Crowds and a shoppers are two different groups. The crowds I see usually are not shopping, but are engaged in other actvivities. There are some things you won’t buy over the Internet as a rule; coffee, a toasted bagel, an ice cream cone, a hair cut. But why would you go into a book store to buy a book you can buy on line for 30% less? Most major retailers offer for less through their website the same merchandise they offer in their stores. Why visit their stores? So you can fight for a parking space? So you can have the pleasue of standing in line to pay for your merchandise? Maybe you feel you should pay all of those sales taxes. If so, you can mail in the taxes and still avoid the parking hassle, and in store fiascos. Downtown anywhere is pretty much a waste of space, and will soon to be replaced by something more consistent with the new economic realities.

          • Earle Stanley

            I concur but the discussion comes back to square one whereby people do go out to eat. And thus an emphasis should be made to attract people through good eateries which I find lacking throughout Fairfield County. On a counterpoint, many still want immediate gratification that the internet can not provide. And, of course, as Patty Hearst once said: “Every day is Christmas in Westport.” The shops will not go dry.

          • I agree in general with your evaluation of the resaraunts in Fairfield County, however, the quality of the resaurants reflects the preferences of the residents.; there would be better resaurants if people wanted them. Or “good eateries” might not attract people who want immediate gratification. On the other hand, another fast food restaurant might draw the immediate gratification crowd.

          • Earle Stanley

            I think the demand is there as many like to eat out. But for some reason, the restauranteers settle for mediocrity due to, perhaps, high overhead, lack of skilled culinary talent and staff along with a lack of patience with those who suffer from the disease of the dull and make up for it with arrogance.

          • Why serve up excellence when mediocrity will do? You pointed out the quest for instant gratification. Preferences tend to accompany that quest; a preference for fast and mediocre food might be among them.

          • Dick Lowenstein

            Re:” We like it just fine. We don’t need all the traffic and New Yorkers.” How do Darienites define “New Yorkers”?

            By the way, what Westport ‘s downtown lacks compared to all the towns from Greenwich to Fairfield is proximity to the railroad station

          • John McCarthy

            “Of course, in many cases of grandiose public works, self-interest transcends function.”
            Yes, we are seeing this play out all over Westport these days. Couldn’t we just erect a monument to those in power and call it a day? Would be a heck of a lot cheaper than “revitalizing” downtown and giving Baron’s South away.

          • We could commission a statue of Joseloff, and put in the $10 million doggie toilet laughingly called a park.

  19. Fairfield’s Defense absolutely right. And let’s face it, Westport have never liked being behind Fairfield ever.

  20. Anonymoussy

    Woogie should start his own ‘the best of 06880’. The honor of the most annoying commenter goes to…….

  21. Please guys, Fairfield has always overmatched Westport in every way. Fairfield has just as many celebrities and high ranking people in the economic/Wall Street world. Westport has never been a top place to live…sorry.

    • Richard Lawrence Stein

      Rick I love Fairfield… I think it has some great great things like the lake and two golf courses…. Fantastic beach community…. But it has not had the athletic prowess or history… The artist community (love FTC)… Or even close to famous infamous or big money folks that Westport has had or has… Sorry but as much as I love Fairfield it does not measure up to Westport

  22. You pride your town on high school football? Ouch.

  23. You obviously have never been to Texas, Rick.

  24. Westport has many temporary rich people where as Fairfield has a consistently rich community. Lots of foreigners diving in and out of Westport make you guys rich, but the rest of the county knows it, Westport is on its way down.

    • Richard Lawrence Stein

      Your right they go from temporarily rich to really really rich… And that is the way it has been for more than 60 70 80 years… I know nothing about foreigners… Having lived here for almost 40 years… And I work all over lower southern Fairfield county and no one says Westport is going down except the kids who play sports and try to talk trash

    • Many Westport residents appear ready to proclaim the superiority of their town in every dimension with few if any real standards. I don’t hear the same amont of puffery from my friends who live in Darien, or New Canaan, or back country Greenwich. Frankly I don’t think they spend one minute a year thinking about rankings or foolish arguments about better or worse. Moreover, I bet people in La Jolla, or Winnetka, or Beverly Hills, could not care less about such foolishness. It is to be expected that people prefer top live where they are living; they have a choice for the most part, and revealed their preference.

      We have all seen the late season footbal game in which the Moo U Heifers (6-5) beat their long time rival Bugtussle State A&T (4-7) and the Heifers rush the field chanting “We’re number one.” Not for one minute does anyone watching the spectacle believe the claim, and so it is here.

      • The Dude Abides

        Moo U? Bugtussle State? LOL.

      • Richard Lawrence Stein

        Agatha do you know what the kids chant at NC vs Darien games…. Landlocked.. Stating NC geographic limits…. Greenwich and Westport have been rivals for eons…. Every town does puff themselves up… You just don’t hear it see it or are around it…. Besides having pride or support of your hometown is not a bad thing… And yes it can and had been qualified and quantified… There is a measuring stick

        • Whatever Richard; there is nothing so bullish as a bought bull. “Be true to your school.” Wilson and Love.

        • The Dude Abides

          They also chant “Westport Sucks” at New Canaan football games. That rivalry has gotten down right nasty. Throwing quarters at the tennis matches to Wrecker players and fights after football game three years ago.

  25. Fairfield Defense

    So does Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Fairfield, Wilton, etc…still waiting for that unique quality about Westport

  26. The Dude Abides

    I find the unique quality of Westport as being a mix of compassion of soup kitchens, homeless shelters and adult housing coupled with the affluency that provides beauty, good schools and values unparalled in Fairfield County. It is the people that make Westport special and has for five decades.

    • “Unparalleled” not really. Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Fairfield, all have plenty of “values.” I find Westport to be the most amusing of the towns on the list. The RTM, the BOE, the P&Z all provide endless sources of laughs while pretending to be doing very important stuff; swing sets, deer hunting, dog runs, you can’t make this stuff up.

      • The Dude Abides

        I don’t see many churches in Darien or New Canaan serving 450 people at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Nor many homeless shelters in any of the listed towns. Or facilities like Longshore in any of them. Politics aside, no comparison.

        • Richard Lawrence Stein

          Thank you Dude… That sums it up in a tight nut shell.

        • Gee, Danbury has many more homeless shelters than Westport and serves up more free food; ditto Bridgeport. I guess they are the paradigms. BTW you forgot to mention the $10 million doggie toilet in Westport, now there is a standard to which all town should strive.

          • I knew you would want the last word. Danbury and Brideport have well over 100,000 residents each compared with the wee few here. There is much good here despite the misguided priorities you mention and I often allude to as well. But on point, Fairfield ain’t in the same league. Never has been and never will.

      • I prefer different, not better or worse. There is no need to make invidious comparisons.

        • Nature of the beast to compare. Westport is unique for better or worse. We both live here. That has to mean something?

          • I hope it means that we prefer living here to living elsewhere. Every day we stay we make a choice, but let’s not lose perspective.

          • Hank Bauer

            That, of course, would depend on what perspective you wish to view things. Once the sun is out, things look a lot better to me. Stay thirsty my friend.

  27. I’m actually a fan of Fairfield. More of a mix, and much saner policies regarding zoning and open space. I tend to like the quieter part of both towns, places like Greens Farms and Southport. Having spent much of my life near the border of Fairfield and Westport, I appreciate them both.
    I detected some sarcasm in the reference to “the great gastronomic metropolis” Bridgeport, but some of the old Italian joints in the North End really are very good, and I know people like some of the more Whole Earth type joints in Black Rock.

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