Steamed At The Green’s Farms Station

For nearly 10 years, George Russo was a welcome presence at the Green’s Farms Railroad Station.

He served coffee, sold newspapers and traded banter with sleepy early morning commuters at the equally sleepy depot.

Last April, George was outbid for the lease. Despite scores of names on a petition to save him, Steam Cafe took over.

Green's Farms train station.

Green’s Farms train station.

This morning, commuters faced a locked door. No coffee. No papers. Not even a bathroom.

A call from “06880” to the Westport Police Department — which oversees the town’s 2 train stations — brought a swift response.

The Steam Cafe concessionaire overslept.

The cops were not happy. “The lease stipulates that if there’s a problem opening, we have to be notified,” a spokesman said. “No one told us. We’ll deal with this.”

And, the spokesman said, Steam Cafe has another issue to deal with:

“They’ve got a lot of apologies to make to their customers.”

28 responses to “Steamed At The Green’s Farms Station

  1. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Wow that is amazing!!! No contingency plan?!!! Even more amazing!!! Try three or four alarm clock!!!

  2. WOW!

    One more morning like that and commuters will find out just how easy it is to make up a thermos full of hot coffee at home!!


  3. I think folks should chill. 5 a.m. is not an easy transition for people who come from the late nights of the restaurant biz. They’ll figure it out. They’re doing everything else right so far.

    • Richard Lawrence Stein

      Nice… Making excuses…. They signed up …. Meet the expectations or don’t try to say you will…. Ask stews if there are excuses or bill Mitchell or the person who wants coffee and pay for convenience of buying a cup of Joe

  4. Tony Kobylinski

    I really miss George.
    I’ll bet you a cup of coffee he never overslept.

  5. I smell free coffee!

  6. Wah Wah Wah. I can’t buy my coffee today! If this was the first problem in 6 months, cut the guy some slack. Perhaps with a FOIA request we can see what penalties and damages the town put into it’s contract with Steam for having a bad morning.

  7. Wonder if everyone will order the vent(i) size tomorrow? Or is that Starbucks?

  8. Steam has been such an incredible improvement over the previous operation that I will gladly overlook this one transgression. I’m sure they will make sue this dies not happen again. If users of the Greens Farms station have not already tried their fresh blueberry muffins, they are missing a big treat.

  9. Steam would like to extend its sincere apologies to our loyal patrons at the Green’s Farms train station. It’s our pleasure to serve such a wonderful group of people every morning and I hope that this incident will not deter anyone from returning. Our foremost responsibility to the town is to have the station house open for public use during the busy commuting hours, which we failed to do. We value everyone’s support and patronage at the station and feel terrible about the delayed opening this morning. We ask that you please come tomorrow to enjoy a FREE cup of coffee!


    Chris & Briana
    Steam Coffee Bar

  10. It happens. Give them a pass. They probably feel bad enough already.

  11. I was surprised (and sleepy) yesterday when I discovered that Steam was closed. But the upgrade has been fantastic and well worth an occasional snafu. I think we can call off the dogs and hopefully this will be a valuable learning experience.

  12. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    It might make sense to only sell decaf to Westporters. Or maybe install a coin operated coffee dispenser for those occasional late starts.

  13. Joshua Princd

    Talk about a tempest in a coffee pot!
    Mr. Woog, I love your blog and follow it regularly. But why such a prickly tone about such a small, universally human goof-up? And why the tinge of schadenfreude about an…alarm clock incident?

    I have no relation or connection to the owners of either Steam (or to the former coffee-man-in-residence) other than being a commuter and customer of both. But how can anyone deny the INCREDIBLE improvement of the entire Greens Farms train experience since the Steam folks took up shop?

    I assume they’ve invested their own dough (and heart and sweat) into their little operation, which is immaculate and attractive. Their coffee and food is great. They’re trying to innovate with things like digital pay. The place is a little Westport jewel, and service and tax-paying new business that’s not a Starbucks or DunkinDonuts or other generic national chain (thank God). It’s a creative little business that delivers a slice of commuter joy; and as someone who schleps all the way to Soho daily, I’ll take whatever slice I can get.

    The previous set-up (and I mean no disrespect to the previous owner, who is a delightful and kind and utterly decent man) felt something like a thinly-stocked 7-11, or a sidewalk bake sale with Stop&Shop pound cake, bagels and a dorm fridge. There wasn’t anything “wrong” with it at all. But it wasn’t long on quality, pleasure, inspiration, or progress.

    Hard to share nostalgia for “what it used to be,” or even a ping of resentment over one-morning’s late opening. The folks running Steam have created something beautiful and good. That’s more worth writing about!

  14. Josh Prince – as usual – captures my thoughts and feelings about Steam and this ‘incident’ much better than I ever could.

  15. Jaclyn Jeffrey

    I am appalled that you would see fit to post such an absurd story. I suspect there is something else at play here… possibly having to do with your feelings about the previous owner losing out on the lease to someone else. I know nothing about the process, I know nothing about the previous owner… what I do know is this not-so-subtle attempt to bash a new business is under-handed, lacking in professional journalism and just shameful. While I see Steam has issued an apology above, you ought to consider doing the same to Steam’s owners.

  16. Ahhh. Backlash.
    The new concessionaire failed to to open at a key time.
    A longtime reporter with a wide audience got notification about it from some disgruntled (sleepy, undercaffeinated) commuters and he did his job and investigated. He then reported on his findings. He opened with historical perspective and local nostalgia — it is a blog about Westport — identified the potential fallout from this mistake, and quoted his sources. He didn’t editorialize or, worse yet, make stuff up. This is a perfect story and the reason I read this blog every day.

    • Jaclyn Jeffrey

      Yes, a blog about Westport… hardly something that needs to stand up to the scrutiny of the NYT. That said, despite the charm of small-town living even this would hardly have been “newsworthy” had there not yet been some modicum of disdain for the fact that the previous owner’s lease was not renewed.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      Dan Woog is a saint, I agree. But he wasted his time on this “investigative journalism” and a guy’s business got trashed. If blogs were coffee shops at Greens Farms train station Dan would be lying in the street with tire tracks up his back.

      • Jaclyn Jeffrey

        Eric, I am glad you put “investigative journalism” in quotes. This was hardly that but rather a moment where opportunity and desire collided… clearly Mr. Woog is disgruntled about the previous tenant’s loss of the lease hence why the current tenant oversleeping was deemed newsworthy. As a writer, Mr. Woog should be ashamed of himself for using this platform to bash a new business.

      • Dan isn’t a saint. He’s doing his job (for free). He gets contacted about a story that upset enough people that Mr. Barrett felt the need to issue an apology and offer free coffee to make restitution.

        Westport is a slow town. If you run a business and you screw up, you get called on it. Now, there happens to be a forum (or 3) where the flogging happens publicly. That’s not Dan’s fault. He felt the story was of interest to enough people to write about it and I thought the attacks on him and his choice of story were unwarranted and deserved to be called so.

        Disagree with me if you like but I think the lesson learned here is simple. If you have to get up early, set an extra alarm.

        • Jaclyn Jeffrey

          Evan, in this blog’s initial post months back about Mr. Russo losing the lease, Mr. Woog clearly showed evidence of bias … in favor of Mr. Russo. He concluded his post with saying it would remain to be seen if Steam could replace Mr. Russo. Now, the owner(s) of Steam commit the horrific crime of a delayed opening one morning and Mr. Woog swoops in, seizes upon the story and uses it to bash a new business. The delayed opening of a coffee bar at the train station is a story that “upset enough people,” “a story of interest to enough people…” you must be kidding. Upset enough people, I doubt it. Of interest to enough people… yes, to Mr. Woog who has an ax to grind.

        • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

          OK Evan you didn’t exactly say Dan was “a saint” but you did say this was the perfect story. Do you really think compared to the many, many other stories Dan’s written that this was the perfect story? A coffee shop guy overslept (one screw-up) and a nice guy who is an otherwise talented writer and hometown treasure blogged a non-story on a slow news day (another screw-up). But only one person’s business was trashed. Maybe not by Dan directly but on his watch on his blog. As you say, the coffee guy has his detractors as well as his defenders. But he overslept one time. Call the cops? Failure to man a coffee shop!!!!! Ohhhh the horror!!!!!!

  17. Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

    Maybe the prior guy George never overslept once in ten years, maybe not. I guess what we’ll never know is whether or not if the prior guy had, he would have been hung out to dry in public like this. They shoot Marines who fall asleep at their post in a time of war but they don’t broadcast it all over the media. The punishment should fit the crime.

  18. Jaclyn Jeffrey

    Eric, well said. I am sure, over the ten years, George committed some type of transgression… ran short on a supply of M&Ms, closed early due to the snow, opened late due to the snow… had this blog been in place at that time, you are 100% correct, never would have made blog “headlines.”

  19. First world problems – what a laugh. How about putting your anger toward the terrible train service the MTA provides instead.

    • Eric William Buchroeder SHS '70

      What they need is the Tea Party to come to the rescue and serve Lipton’s Tea at the train station to exact just retribution against the evil and incompetent Steam’s Cafe. They can call the competing tea concession “The (Tea) Baggage Compartment.” (Get it?, hahahahaha) Then the money they make can be invested by VC’s to develop Ceylon’s economy so Starbuck’s can open over there and convert tea drinkers to Westport caffeine addicts. Let the Capitalist system work it out and leave the Westport PD free to direct traffic at Democratic fund raisers on Beachside Avenue which is what they should have been doing instead of saving the world from caffeine deprivation at the railroad station.