Mario’s: One More Time

Mario’s owner Lori Kosut confirmed this afternoon that the sale of the beloved restaurant will be finalized in “a couple of weeks.”

As reported yesterday, the 48-year-old Saugatuck landmark will eventually have a new look, menu and name: Harvest.

It won’t happen for a while. In the meantime — thanks to Westport native/superb photographer Lynn U. Miller — here’s one more look at the spot that long ago assumed a mythical place in Westport lore.

Mario's front - Lynn U Miller

The menu, in the front window.

The menu, in the front window.

Dinner was packed, earlier this week.

Dinner was packed, earlier this week.

Smiling host Paul Tolentino graduated from Staples in 1971.

Smiling host Paul Tolentino graduated from Staples in 1971.

(Photos/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photos/Lynn U. Miller)


27 responses to “Mario’s: One More Time

  1. After reading your death knell of our beloved Mario’s this morning, I went right down to the bar for lunch – Westport’s greatest burger and a draft. Now that’s tradition you can really sink your teeth into. Hope the new place has 1/10 the quality and love for Westport that this iconic institution has had.

  2. Bruce Fernie - SHS 1970

    A sad changing of the guard. I am sure the new place will be healthier, more PC and boring as hell.

    • Susan Hopkins

      Very sad, indeed. Wish I lived closer to partake in a “Last Supper” of sorts. There goes the neighborhood.

  3. It is a sad day!! They were such a landmark.

  4. Sally Palmer

    Sorry, nothing can replace Mario’s.

  5. sandy johnson

    I agree with Sally. Nothing can ever replace Mario’s!!!! When we moved here in 1976 and asked someone our first day of moving in where we could go to eat, and the answer was Mario’s!!!! The hamburgers can never be better anywhere else for!! Best wishes to the family and thanks for many happy years of eating!

  6. Susan Hopkins

    Thank you, Lynn U. Miller for the wonderful photographs.

    “Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left of you.”
    (Simon and Garfunkel: Bookends)

  7. Bobbie Herman

    They had the best lamb chops I’ve ever had!

  8. Nina Streitfeld

    Mario’s is so much part of the history, legend and lore of Westport that I cannot imagine it gone.

  9. Can I buy a table and chairs for my dining room at home?

  10. Robert gagstetter

    Where am I gonna go on my birthday now? Omg!!

  11. Robert gagstetter

    Seems like all we are getting left with are lousy chain restaurants! I guess this young generation doesn’t know good food! What a shame….I’m saddened today

  12. Karen Nad Bernstein

    I can’t count the number of dinners I had there. Family, friends, and a few really special dates! The more time goes by the more Westport really isn’t home anymore.

  13. David M. Roth

    I would love the Elvis and Mohammed Ali little statues! Lori any chance? How about a past employee reunion?

  14. L.P. (Howell) Mitchell

    Way back when, for many years, my parents had a regular table, every Saturday at noon. Their drinks arrived without a word. The burgers were rare, and the service perfection. The bill came in the mail at the end of the month. In 1982, after my first day of work in NYC, Mom met me at Mario’s straight from the train. She wanted me to feel like a real commuter. When I go back to Westport, I can visit my parents in Willowbrook, but I feel their presence more keenly at that table for four, just across from the bar.

  15. Melissa Alward

    What a shame! SOO many great memories of Mario’s! I worked there, my two brothers worked there, Mario was the godfather of one of my nephews. And, by the way, that clock hanging over the bar was given to Mario by my father, Harry A. Alward. Will miss the food and ambiance and history.

  16. Mike Elliot SHS Class of '72

    First it was Big Top Shoppes, then the Great Danbury State Fair became a mall. I miss the Crest Drive In, Greenburg’s, the Arrow, Remarkable, Kleins, even the Food Fair! And now Marios. This is heartbreaking news. Long live The Black Duck!

  17. Kathleen Stuart

    Ah, most Westport Restranteurs started their careers at Marios as busboys, waiters, and cooks and went on to open their own businesses in Westport and Fairfield. The restaurants ranged from Rocco’s to The Appaloosa to the Georgetown Saloon to Bogeys to Connollys to Riverhouse Tavern, to Tavern on Main, to Tommy’s on and on, many more I can’t remember the names.
    My claim to fame was Mario was my son Ernie’s Godfather and he “adopted” my daughter Mercede’s as his other godchild.
    My parents were frequent visitors to Marios and befriended “Tiger”, and the bartender, the waiters and waitresses (Willy, my sister Missy and many more). The days of growing up familiar to one another have gone, ours is no longer a hometown crowd.

  18. We moved to Westport in 1973. My friend’s parents took me to Mario’s for the first time, where her father insisted I order the pork chops, still my “go to” dinner. I quickly became a regular and still am, but my fondest memory was of Tommy who was the maitre d’ until he died many years ago. I was on the Staples wrestling team and he used to attend our matches, so he knew me. We would walk in on a busy Friday night and Tommy would flash me two fingers, signifying he’d get me a table. Sure enough, and probably to the chagrin of many waiting patrons, he would call us in and seat us within minutes. Still a regular, I cannot describe loss of such a great institution.

  19. Susan Dawdy Jones

    So sad!!! So many great memories!! I had my first “legal” cocktail there!! So many changes in Westport/Saugatuck….Hopefully, The Duck will remain forever!!! Even though I moved out of the area many years ago, we always stopped at Mario’s for dinner and drinks when in town. Kind of a toast to my brother who worked there for many years…

  20. Anthony Alan Gordon

    We moved to Westport in 1953. My dad used to take me to Mario’s on a semi regular basis growing up. It is sad to hear that it is closing. I should have stopped by last year when I came to Westport for my 50th Staples High School reunion but was to busy. Now I wouldn’t get the chance. A truly great landmark will be closed.

  21. William Adler

    Mario’s was my parents’ go-to place from its start in the ’60s. My mother had a hard-drinking, chain-smoking tough-guy core to her, and she clicked with Tommy… as Tom Asher wrote, people whom Tommy clicked with didn’t even have to say a word – he made steely eye contact and you just knew a table was coming. His spirit lives on at Mario’s.

  22. Arlene and David Gottlieb

    Truly a loss!!! We brought up three little girls who are now mothers to six grandchildren who all wanted to go to “Marios” to sit at the front round table on the “right” to watch the trains – while we had our glass of wine and the best iceberg italian salad in brown wooden bowls and the chopped steak, broiled chicken and of course the biggest and best prime rib “on the bone”.

  23. Russel Choate

    Great place,great staff ,
    Especially Paul T.

  24. During the seventies when I frequented Mario’s just about every week with our office crew, the dinning room was so busy it was almost like Studio 54. If you wanted to get a table quickly you had to get through Frank De Mace. If he knew you and you weren’t an asshole you got a table in just a few minutes. If you insisted and tried to grease his palm you had to wait and finally got a table next to the kitchen door.Your best bet was to wait quietly and politely and you’d get a table. It took me a while to learn this and I sat by the kitchen door many times. Paul is the same way only he will seat you by the kitchen with a big smile on his face. I swear Mario’s is haunted by the great men and women who worked there for so many years. Good Luck to the new owners!