West Bank Action

First there was Saugatuck.

Then came Church Lane.

Soon, another sleepy area of town may be revitalized, with the arrival of new restaurants.

This time it’s the west bank of the Saugatuck River. Though an easy walk from downtown, few folks bother. Mentally, that area — behind the Inn at National Hall, next to Save the Children — has been No Man’s Land.

Now it may play Brooklyn, to downtown’s Manhattan.

The Westport News reports that on May 17, the Planning and Zoning Commission hears proposals for 2 new dining spots.

The owners of Fairfield’s Safita hope to open a Middle Eastern restaurant at 6 Wilton Road. That’s the old Vigilant firehouse. It housed a couple of pizza places; more recently it was a kitchen store.

Plans call for 50 seats, a bar and an outdoor patio. Very cool.

The Vigilant firehouse that may house the Middle Eastern restaurant is the slender building in the left-center of this photo. The MOJA restaurant would go on its right.

Also on the menu: MOJA Restaurant & Bar, planned for 12 Wilton Road next door to the former firehouse. The News says the menu would offer Japanese cuisine and “elements of South American flavors to make a very tasty, healthy and distinctive fare that will resonate with kids, teens and adults young and old.”

Despite Westport’s many eateries, we do not have a Japanese/South American spot for every age group. So that’s good.

The restaurants are part of a broader redevelopment planned for the area, including National Hall.

More parking is in the works. But I’d still like to see some kind of footbridge, luring linking people over the river, to the interesting architecture and offerings — culinary and otherwise — across the way.

Until then, here’s wishing good luck to the intrepid owners serving up a couple of new restaurants in a section of town that certainly needs them.

13 responses to “West Bank Action

  1. What phenomenal news. So exciting to see all these new restaurants opening around Westport.

  2. Lou Gagliano

    Development on that side of the river will bring the type of vitality we need.

    We now need to take advantage of that development and tie the two sides of the river together effectively.

  3. A walking bridge would be really cool!

  4. John McCarthy

    I think a footbridge across the river should be pretty low on the priority list. We already have a perfectly good bridge. So why do we need a footbridge closer to Gorham Island? Is it being proposed because David Waldman owns property right by the western side of the proposed bridge?

    • Maybe David can finance it ! A walking bridge over the river, think of it.Nature with fantastic views….

    • It is being proposed because it is an interesting idea which would connect the west bank down by Gorham Island and on weekends, like the office lot for Gorham does now, open up a great deal of additional parking for the area. It is was studies by the art center in a competition to create the coolest connection. It is is our town plan and is and remains a very interesting idea. That, along with a parking deck being discussed on Elm Street, is just the thing we need to take back some of parker harding plaza and green it up. Without the additional parking provided by the deck and maybe the Save the Children lot, parker harding will remain Harder Parking. What any of that has to do with Mr. Waldman’s holdings on Wilton Road is irrelevant and clearly the point of view of a jealous, angry man. That said, if not for people like Gene Gorab, Sam Gault and David Waldman, we would not have the new spotted horse, urban outfitters, the Whelk, Down-under, Patagonia, the new West Bank and much more. He, along with the others, continue to be a great assets of our town and although they enjoy economic benefits due to there investments, they have and will continue ( BEDFORD SQUARE, SAUGUATUCK CENTER 2ND PHASE, NATIONAL HALL) to do more good. There projects create jobs, beautify and maintain history while allowing Westport to move into the future. They put there hard earned money back into out town and we, the residents, get the benefit of it. If you want to pick on developers who do nothing to make Westport a better place, pick on the delinquent tax payers, or the absentee landlord’s. Just because financial interests are involved does not always mean there is a trojan horse in the room. Not everyone is bad. These gentleman have proven to be a men of his word (as far as i can see). Mr. Waldman promised us a great Church Lane and so far he has delivered. Mr. Gault promised us a great Saugatuck, and so far he has delivered. Mr. Gorab, the developer of national hall, has promised us a great West Bank, and i am sure he will deliver as this article alludes.

      Start looking at the positives, start thinking outside the box, start embracing the inevitable change and be proud it is being executed by people who care.

      • John McCarthy

        Sad that your worldview could only imagine Anger and Jealousy as my motivation.

  5. I just threw the idea out there. I don’t think the pedestrian part of the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge is particularly inviting right now. Maybe we can just spruce it up and make it a bit more pedestrian friendly?

    • John McCarthy

      It is an idea that is being promoted. I’m just trying to figure out why, when so many other things that would have a major difference downtown could/should be done. My concern is that this push to “Reclaim the River” by greening over Parker Harding and removing 250 parking spaces doesn’t become the Trojan Horse to putting in a 1,000 car parking garage on the Baldwin lot. Thus finishing off the master vision for the Mall of Westport.

      • Great analogy. Anyone giving up 250 parking places is either an idiot or someone with an ulterior motive.

  6. Peter Flatow

    Maybe we could start with some walk signs that stop traffic. Trying to cross the Post Road to go to Art’s Deli the other day was a major challenge. He said it was a State Road and they have no interest. I would think safety would be the priority but I guess not. And just look at what was proposed to reinvent downtown – the west side was totally ignored.

  7. How about a trolley?

  8. Late to the party, Karen what flavor of Waldmn KoolAid are you drinking! Waldmen doesn’t care about Westport he cares about what goes pocket! Ask people that rent from him if he wants you out! He will break in to your space and even get arrested. This man is a first class no class d@@k.