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Dressing Room Ends Its Run

This message was posted today by founder-owner Michel Nischan on the website of The Dressing Room — his very popular (and quite cleverly named) restaurant next to the Westport Country Playhouse. 

After 8 great years and hundreds of thousands of delicious, local and sustainable farm-direct meals, Dressing Room Restaurant has closed. Founded by internationally renowned chef Michel Nischan and the late actor Paul Newman in 2006, the restaurant was Fairfield County’s first farm-to-table restaurant.

Michel Nischan at the Dressing Room, with a portrait of co-founder Paul Newman.

We thank our customers who shared our passion and genuine interest in supporting regional growers and responsible farming methods. As a result of their loyal support, and the resulting successful 8-year run of the restaurant, there are now nearly a dozen farm-to-table restaurants gracing discerning Fairfield County palates while supporting Connecticut agriculture.

Dressing Room Restaurant received numerous awards and accolades in the local and national food press, including one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 95 New Restaurants in the World” (2006) and recognition for “The Best Burger in America” by Steve Raichlen, USA Today (2010). This is a testimony to meals made with the best locally grown, artisanal and organic foods.

The Dressing Room.

Lori and I want to thank our talented staff and their families, whose selfless dedication to our cause made the vision a reality. Nearly every team member was with us from the very beginning, and each nurtured their guests with a sense of genuine hospitality not seen in many restaurants today.

When Paul and I founded the restaurant, we wanted to change in the way people thought about food. We believed that all people should be able to put the same ripe tomato on their family’s table, regardless of their income

Lori and I will always hold Dressing Room Restaurant dear in our hearts. Our talented culinary and service team made it one of the most amazing restaurants ever to grace Connecticut. We operated as a family unit, bonded together by a strong set of core values and love of good food.

With a more deeply dedicated focus on Wholesome Wave [the national non-profit founded by Nischan to help underserved urban and rural communities gain more affordable access to healthy, locally grown foods while supporting the small and mid-sized American farmers], I am proud that more people will have access to amazing meals. We encourage you to support farm-to-table restaurants, farmers’ markets, and healthier food choices. After all, it’s all about food. Good, pure, affordable, wholesome, delicious, local food. For everyone!

Reached tonight, Michel told “06880”: “Lori and I have been thinking this over for a while. Wholesome Wave is ready to explode. The Dressing Room was awesome and wonderful, but I reached a point where I need to devote all my time to one thing. Wholesome Wave is what I want to do when I grow up.”

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