A Stop At Mario’s

Mario’s can seem like a place from another era.

With its brontosaurus-size steaks and overflowing pitchers of martinis, it evokes a “Mad Men” vibe.

Even the place mats offer a chance to travel back in time.

The other day, an alert Mario’s place mat reader noticed a Cohen’s Fashion Optical ad for Dr. Susan Westrup. Yet the eye doctor hasn’t been there since the store changed hands a while ago.

There was also an ad for S.Z. Manufacturing. That elicited fond memories of Yekutiel “Kuti” Zeevi, who owned what had become Y.Z. Jewelry Manufacturing when he was killed last December, in a robbery.

And more:  The warm welcome from the owners told diners, “should you find anything less than perfect, please tell Frank or Mario — one or the other is sure to be on hand.”

Unfortunately, no. Mario Sacco died in July 2009.

The alert reader asked what was up with all the retro stuff.

She was told that someone had found a few boxes of old place mats, and decided to use them up.

Maybe they thought no one actually read the place mats. Or perhaps service was slower than usual than night.

And about the headline on this story: Mario’s is, of course, located directly opposite the train station.

A stop at Willoughby? Westport? Mario's?

One of the most famous “Twilight Zone” episodes of all — “A Stop at Willoughby” — involves a harried 1960’s ad executive whose train ride home to Westport keeps stopping in a bucolic town called Willoughby. In the year 1888.

Like the train station at Westport/Willoughby, Mario’s has transported us all back in time.

7 responses to “A Stop At Mario’s

  1. The place mat is kind of a sweet memory lane !

  2. Wendy Crowther

    I admit it, I’m a placemat-reader too!

    I encourage the management at Mario’s to keep at least one of the old placemats for the historic record. They might also donate one to the Westport Historical Society. Next stop…Willoughby.

  3. Thank goodness we still have Mario’s!!!
    I don’t remember getting a place mat In ages, though.

  4. Love Mario’s – one of our (many) favorite nights there was when a couple – obviously new to the atmosphere (complaining about everything) left a nickel tip. The wonderful waitress chased them outside & said “I don’t need your @&$$ nickel” then threw it at them. Everyone clapped! She got great tips from the rest of us!!

  5. Mario’s is nothing without Tiger DeMace! Thanks, Tiger, for making Mario’s a memorable place for generations of Westporters. You’re the best! XXOO

  6. Mention of Mario’s also brings to mind the “Bannerman” thriller books. The premise of the series was that Westport was a “safe zone” for retired assassins. One of the former assassins had gotten a job at Mario’s, and listened sympathetically to customer’s problems. Sometimes he “solved” them. As I recall, the writer (a Westport resident) was cold-shouldered by many of his neighbors for a time…
    As one who grew up in Westport, I can say I found the local references and in-jokes very funny.