Friday Flashback #110

For an otherwise unremarkable spot on Post Road East, #1700 has a long and storied history.

Today’s it’s the site of a thriving Goodwill store.

For many years before that, it was the Peppermill — one of the first steak-and-all-you-can-eat-salad-bar restaurants in the country.

Before that, it was a different steak place. Bonanza Sirloin Pit served up meat in a quasi-fast food way. You got in line, snaked through, and picked up your meal at the end.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

Dan Blocker — “Hoss” on the great “Bonanza” TV show — made a personal appearance there once. I was in elementary school. He seemed huge. Now I know it wasn’t just because I was small

But the site has a history even before steak spot and Goodwill. Back in the day, it served as Westport’s Greyhound bus depot.

It was called the Greyhound Post House. There must have been food available inside too.

If you’ve got any memories of the bus depot or Bonanza, click “Comments” below.

Peppermill: sure, why not?

As for Goodwill: Save them for a Friday Flashback in, say, 2048.

29 responses to “Friday Flashback #110

  1. Jill Turner Odice

    My brother and I drove from Cape Cod to Westport and took my Mom to dinner at the Peppermill for her birthday.Then we drove all the way back to Provincetown that night. It was worth it…Surf and Turf.

  2. I remember the bus station and the wooden floor that always seemed dusty. It was down the street from the town dump, where Landsdown condominiums are located. I remember my father dumping used car batteries at the dump. I can’t believe I’m old enough to remember that bus station. It seems like just the other day I was 28. Where’d the years go?

  3. ArlineGertzoff

    My late mother had to work Friday evening at the old Franklin Simon so my Dad and I always went to the Peppermill for rare steak,salad , and a bread loaf they brought to the table.Great memories
    PS Dan you forgot Cafe del a Plage the original eatery later Positanos on Hillspoint and the original Ziva Zapata’supstairs On Main(0k it still lives and the Clam Mansion( now Parker’s)which was an institution inSaugaruck and the Townley,Red Galleon ,Purcell’s ,
    Ships ,Ye Old Bridge Grill, all the old WestportBig Top with 99 cent ribs Those were the days

  4. Loved Bonanza and the Texas Toast… The Peppermill was great for dates…

  5. Dan, didn’t you run another piece about this same location and photo a while back?

    In any case, to get back on topic, I do remember the Westport Bonanza and its relatively short run. it was one of the early casual dining franchises, and I believe a few of my dad’s ad exec friends were partners in it.

    Can’t recall who they were. Anyone else remember>?

    Just like the vast majority of restaurant franchises throughout history, Bonanza was hot one day, and not the next. This, combined with the fact that ad execs know little about restaurants (other than liking to eat and drink in them) sealed its fate.

  6. Were there two Bonanzas in Westport, because I remember Bonanza being where Sakura is.
    If not , what was there before Sakura

    • Linda, You always make us think! You know, you may be right. There might have been a Bonanza there.

    • Melinda Hemson

      I believe you are right. Bonanza was where Sakura is now and after that it was Family Affair. I remember going there quite a bit with my parents when I was younger (Late 70’s, early 80’s maybe?)

  7. The Greyhound Post House in the 40s and 50s was the official stop for Westport. You bought tickets there and I’m sure they must have had a restaurant with a busload of passengers arriving every hour or so. You could also board the bus in the center of town at Taylor Place and the Post Road. Achorn’s Drugstore, close by, was a ticket agent. Once in a while I used to take a Greyhound home from New York late at night, after the last train, and was able to get the driver to drop me off art Sylvan Road.

  8. Susan Hopkins

    Countless memories and enjoyable dining with friends, family and dates in the ‘70s at The Peppermill.

  9. Some background on the Bonanza restaurant. I too was in elementary school when Hoss came to town, but I remember it pretty clearly because the restaurant was owned and run by my family with my cousins. Peter Blau is correct in that it was a couple of ad execs. My father, Ed Green and Dick Seclow. They were both working in NYC for ad agencies. Family lore has it that they flipped a coin to decide who would continue to commute and who would run the restaurant. For awhile both families lived off the one ad exec salary. Dick stayed with advertising and my dad became an attorney with a Westport practice.

  10. Jonathan L Maddock

    There was food available at the Greyhound Post House. My grandmother, Louise K Nevins, did a stint there in the kitchen. If I remember correctly she was the pastry chef. Late 1930’s or early 1940’s??
    She went on to become one of the librarians in the Westport library until she retired to West Townshend, the 1960’s

  11. Dan, I know you have written before about the claim by Wikipedia that the Bonanza at 680 East State Street was the first in the Bonanza chain, but I was wondering if anyone has independent confirmation of that.

  12. Loved Bonanza!

  13. Mary Ann Batsell

    I remember the Greyhound terminal I’m
    Not sure it was in operation but I remember the building with the rounded glass block section
    Very modern in the 50’s!

  14. Hahahahaha! My first job, other than babysitting, was as “the salad girl” at Bonanza.
    Those were the days, my friend!

  15. I remember going to a pizza place at the Sakura location.

  16. David Barton

    I definitely remember Bonanza at the Sakura location. Not sure which location this happened at, but I got my first, and maybe last, (intentional) laugh from grown-ups when one of the adults at our table complained about the toughness of their steak saying “How am I supposed to cut this?” and I (maybe 10 years old) piped up, “With another steak!

    Actually the burgers were great. Even better than Big Top’s or the Crest .

  17. Steak and Brew was on or about where Shake Shack is now (opposite Barkers)

  18. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Like Jackie Backiel, I also remember the Greyhound Bus Terminal that was there before The Bonanza Steak House. I was pretty young, but my parents dropped someone off there to take a bus from there to destinations unknown to me. And, just down the road from the bus depot, before Barkers was there, it was a beautiful flower farm. Our family would go there every fall to purchase gorgeous mums among other plants. I am sure when Barkers bought the property the flower farm bit the dust. The Bus Terminal was a curious place for me, as a child. I was never inside but always thought about where people were going and what adventures they were on.

    • Jack Backiel

      I can always tell when someone knew me long, long ago. I was Jackie in the 1950s and then morphed into Jack in the 1960s.