Paul Newman, Donuts And…!?

“The Interrobang !?” — yes, that punctuation is an interrobang, and part of the name — is a quirky website that scours the country looking for interesting, offbeat places to visit.

Recently, Connecticut’s number came up.

Though, the site said, our state is “usually thought of as just the Gateway to New England,” it  actually might be “our most underrated food destination in the country.”

Lest we forget, “The Interrobang!?” says the Nutmeg State is home to

  • pizza– some of the best in the nation
  • great hot dog joints
  • homemade ice cream
  • a coastline with great seafood
  • the nation’s first Hamburger
  • and a long list of amazing  farm to table restaurants.

Sadly, though, when the website listed specific places to visit, none of our pizza, hot dog, seafood or burger spots made the list.

We did manage 2 listings under “Other Great Local Restaurants.” (One is not, strictly speaking, a restaurant. But it is great.)

“The Interrobang!?” cites Dressing Room:

Our first pick is Paul Newman’s place.  This adorable country restaurant is tucked behind a local institution, the Westport Country Playhouse, and that would be a destination in itself even if the Dressing Room wasn’t on the premises….

You’ll find a brightly lit, comfortable and incredibly inviting spot, often with live music blaring from the door. Nothing here is pretentious and everything is completely shareable.  Comfort food meets creative, and it’s all very local.  The oysters are amazing, local cheeses and hand cured meats, mini burgers, mini meatloaf, Pork Belly Mac n Cheese  and it’s all done in harmony with Paul Newman’s food philosophies including his commitment to neighborly hospitality, local, natural and organic ingredients and regional American heirloom food.

The not-really-a-restaurant is Coffee An’. “Interrobang!?” says:

It’s a tiny little coffee shop-slash-diner.   It’s as cute as a button.  It’s family owned and run by the nicest people this side of the Mississippi.  And it’s everything that people miss about those “old days.”

They’ve also got a wall lined with photos of politicians, dignitaries and other assorted celebrities.

Why?  The donuts.  You’ve probably been settling for chain-store donuts for so long that you’ve long forgotten what a donut is supposed to taste like.  Go to Coffee An’ and it will all come rushing back.  Don’t expect a wall full of choices here though, there are only a few options.  Take our advice, don’t mess around — go straight for the chocolate glazed.

I’m sure “06880” readers don’t think our dining options begin and end with the Dressing Room and Coffee An’.

If “The Interrobang!?” ever comes through town again, where would you send them? Click “Comments” — and give culinary details!


37 responses to “Paul Newman, Donuts And…!?

  1. Quite honestly, it sounds like it was written by a leader at the dressing room. Connecticut is not known for terrific food. There is terrific pizza in almost every place I’ve ever lived in that’s a lot of places aside from Connecticut. It isn’t exactly a culinary gustation paradise.

  2. The Dressing Room is not worthy of the mention. The food is mediocre. The wait staff is incompetent. Whover wrote the article does not have very high standards.

    But Coffee An’ does serve up great donuts.

  3. In my rare trips to Westport, Coffee An’ is my only stop–and for the best: the plain donuts! In fact, I am headed there this morning. Dozen plain, please! The full dozen never makes it home! Wait. I do stop at Max’s –Karl Decker

  4. Oscars for bagel lox & cream cheese
    Jr’s Hot Dog Stand for duh…

  5. Black Duck for burgers & steamers
    Shake Shack for burgers
    Westport Pizzeria for pizza

  6. Shake Shack is offensively expensive and overrated. Besides, it’s not what I would really consider a “Westport destination.” Seeing as they are in other parts of the country…

    • you think that Shake Shack is expensive, how much less money do you expect to spend on organic meat, cheese and fries, as well as to some extent, beverages?

      • It’s a good thing I don’t typically eat organic, then. You know it’s possible to eat fresh and healthy without spending insane amounts of money on “organic” products.

      • Five Guys burgers are orders of magnitude butter than ShakeShack burgers. Fries are better too. Only thing they are missing is milkshakes. The burgers and fries outweigh that shortcoming though.

        • “butter” being the operative word re: 5 Guys!! (and any fast food for that matter) not being snarky, just observant.

        • 5 Guys has a completely different menu of much less expensive ingredients at the wholesale level than Shake Shack. I was actually struck by how inexpensive Shake Shack is given the quality of the ingredients. if you are paying less than Shake Shack then someone else along the ‘assembly line’ is getting under-paid. It’s low price, clean conscience and clean via being organic That said, their parking is difficult and I’m having to clean off my own table, but, for that price, those are minor inconveniences.

  7. I can remember going to Coffee an’ with my dad before school on occasion- the plain donuts were my fav – my sister preferred the cinnamon bomb- I
    know they have changed hand since then but they never disappoint!

  8. My first and last stop when visiting Westport is the newly reopened Art’s Deli. Can you say Italian Combo!!!

  9. I highly recommend: Friendly’s to have a royal banana split with dad; Three Bears for a first prom date; Arcudi’s for the best square pizza; Borchetta’s for the best hard rolls; the Big Top Shoppe for burgers and onion rings to celebrate a football victory; Allen’s Clam House for seafood (and a decent first job washing dishes); the Ice Cream Parlor for the best wax lips (and wax bottles filled with sweet liquid) in town, and (of course) Westport Pizzeria because it’s still there.

  10. Le Farm and the Whelk are by the far the two best restaurants in Westport. The Boat House restaurant is solid, much better than the vastly overrated Dressing Room.

    Another great restaurant in its category would be Westfair Fish and Chips. I give props to Coffee An’. For donuts, it’s very good.

    Shake Shack is not a Westport restaurant–it’s part of a larger international chain. The best pizza? Probably Tarry Lodge, but certainly not a destination place and its not a Westport place either.

    • Le Farm and Whelk are only fair, and they have not stood the test of time. I would not eat at Tarry Lodge on a bet. Dining there is an apalling experience.

    • At Tarry Lodge, you never know whether the tips are going to the waiter or Mario Batalia.

  11. Best Westport local eateries – JR’s Hot Dog Stand on Riverside and Westfair Fish n Chips, in the back across from Stop and Shop.

  12. Rawley’s (Fairfield), Nauti Dolphin (Fairfield) , Westfair Fish n Chips (Westport), Paci’s (Fairfield)

    • You just listed Fairfield places. This is about Westport.

      • I had the same thought but I do have to agree that the best place for Westporters to get pizza is to drive over to Fairfield and pick one up at Nauti Dolphin.

  13. Do yourselves a favor and get an open face london broil sandwich (or dinner portion) at Dunville’s. Most underrated restaurant in town!

  14. Dressing Room is best for a dressing down-haughty, self satisfied, mediocre over-priced food; don’t come when the chef’s wife waves her scepter in “Hospitality”. Try Oscars for amazing tongue sandwiches, and Westfair fish and Chips, amazing fried oysters-both BYOB.

  15. We had dinner at The Dressing Room this past weekend, it was delicious and our waitress was efficient and charming. Agree it is pricey however, they are as pricey as all the others (of this kind) Tarry Lodge at the bar is fun, the Bolognese is AMAZING! The Whelk is also really fun at the bar, we had dinner there last Thursday, 2 fish dishes were delish, the tuna tartare preparation at present is not as yummy as the one in the summer. We love Acqua at the bar, quick and easy and always good food, the chicken Milanese is yummy. Sherwood Diner, always there when you need it!!!

  16. Jr’s Hot dogs !!!

  17. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Any type of donut from coffee’an, steamers at the duck, mussels at d’villes, dinner at the Whelk, shackdog at shake shack, clams at west fair market…. Tacos at the place in front of Athletic shoe factory, and there are so many other fun and good eats in Westport

  18. I like Super Duper Weenie (in Fairfield).

  19. I like S&S Dugout (Southport).

  20. Personally, I love The Dressing Room. I love the food and the fact that it’s very fresh, local, organic with meat from humanely raised animals. I’ve always found the waitstaff friendly, and I love the feeling of the place, with its fireplace and smokey smell. However, it IS expensive. That being said, many places that serve organic food and grass-fed, local meats ARE expensive, and the prices are no surprise for the moneyed majority now living in what used to be a less expensive town. I guess I’d rather eat meat less often and go out less often so when I do, I can go there…. (And no, I’m not a waiter or friend of the owner from there!)