Villa Del Sol: Here For Cinco De Mayo, And Way Beyond

It’s hard enough to make it as a restaurant in Westport.

The last thing you need is a 2-year construction project next door.

Unless, added to that, is the unfounded rumor that you’re going to close.

That’s what’s happening to Villa del Sol.

Villa del Sol

The popular, family-oriented Mexican spot now shares Elm Street with dust and construction vehicles. When Bedford Square is completed, it will be a boon to the area — and Villa del Sol will benefit.

But it won’t be easy getting there.

The restaurant opened in 1998. While not as long as a previous place — Werner’s — 17 years is still “forever” in restaurant terms.

Owner Joe Osorio emigrated from Mexico at age 23. His background was in engineering, but in the US he entered the restaurant business. He had his own place in Rockland County for a couple of decades.

Villa del sol logoThere were originally 2 Villa del Sols, but the one in New Haven was closed, due to eminent domain. (A school took its place.)

Westport’s Villa del Sol is quite a place. All the furnishings — tables, chairs, artwork — come direct from Mexico. Joe made many trips south, bringing it all back piece by piece.

Joe’s daughters — Jennifer and Colleen — were always involved in the restaurant. He fought pancreatic cancer for 2 years, and worked until just 3 days before his death, in 2011. The daughters then took over.

Their children all help out now too. Jennifer’s husband, Fili Molina, has been the chef since opening day.

Colleen and Jennifer Osorio. Their father brought all the furnishings from Mexico by hand.

Colleen and Jennifer Osorio. Their father brought all the furnishings from Mexico by hand.

The customers are like family too. “They’ve been coming for years,” Jennifer says. “Before they sit down, their drink is front of them.”

The crowd includes plenty of families. Kids and adults alike love the menu — a combination of classic Mexican dishes, and contemporary Nuevo Latino ones.

“We’ve watched everyone grow up,” Colleen says. “And we’ll keep doing it, for years to come.”

Despite the noise, the debris, and the incorrect rumor that Villa del Sol will close.

See you there soon. Hey, Cinco de Mayo is Tuesday!

9 responses to “Villa Del Sol: Here For Cinco De Mayo, And Way Beyond

  1. Tami Benanav

    Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican celebration marking the battle of Puebla. Its name means the 5th of May in Spanish so it should be spelled “cinco” and not “cinquo” which seems to be a mix of the Spanish and the Italian “cinque.”

  2. Karen Wambach

    We’ve been going to Villa Del Sol for years. It truly is a Westport institution, and deserves our support during these trying times

  3. Roberta Tager

    Thanks for “the heads up” we will support and continue to dine in this cozy, special restaurant when we return from the Southland this season.

  4. Ryan Brennan

    Why is it that restaurants in Fairfield do phenomenal and restaurants in Westport struggle mightily?

  5. excellent food and service…

  6. Mary Beth Murray

    This is our Favorite Mexican Place!!! Jennifer and Coleen have done a terrific job and hat’s off to their father for working so hard and bringing his and his families dream to Westport. The Margaritas are outstanding! They are professional and the food is delish! We have been coming to Villa Del Sol for years and they should be proud. Wishing ou a Happy Cinco De Mayo!

  7. Audrey Hertzel

    I celebrated a milestone birthday (won’t say which one) there a few years ago. We closed down the restaurant for the party and the owner and staff at the time couldn’t have been more helpful, friendly and sooooo accommodating! The food was great, the drinks delish, prices reasonable and you can’t beat the atmosphere! It’s already so festive and colorful, you don’t need to decorate! Still, the best Mexican food and drinks in Westport!

  8. Bruce Leavitt

    This is one of our favorite restaurants. As soon as we moved back to Westport a few months ago, my wife and I started eating here regularly. They have great specials, super margaritas (order the fresca margarita…a bit more expensive but definitely worth it), service that makes you feel part of the family, and an authentic colorful atmosphere. We will definitely be making our way there for Cinco de Mayo this week and continue to support them during the construction so they remain a Westport institution.