[UPDATE] Black Duck Employees’ GoFundMe Page Shuts Down

NOTE: The GoFundMe page referenced below has been shut down. A note says “No longer accepting donations.”


Yesterday’s announcement was stunning: The Black Duck will close on Sunday.

No reason was given. Just like that — poof! — Westport’s iconic burger-and-bar joint will be gone.

Earlier today though, a GoFundMe page appeared.

Posted by “The Black Duck team” — described as “the remaining few long-time employees” — it offers a glimmer of hope. The goal is to raise $100,000, to keep the beloved barge restaurant open.

The crowdfunding plea reads:

The Black Duck Cafe, the last of “Old Westport,” the place of many first dates and first beers, home of famous burgers, wings and strong drinks, the place to “ruin your liver down by the river”…is drowning. We have been so fortunate to have served so many wonderful customers and friends for 40 years with the Saugatuck River as our backdrop, and are hoping to continue being able to serve you.

Our beloved old barge withstood Hurricane Sandy, the departure of near-celebrity status bartenders, rising food, liquor and utilities costs, and the takeover of Westport by brand name chains. Despite these changes, it is our long-time customers, camaraderie and meeting new customers that have kept us, the remaining few long-time employees, going.

Part of the Black Duck’s peril: increasingly frequent floods.

Consistency and “turning back of time” has been the Duck’s long-time appeal. Indeed, best-selling novelist Jane Green stated in 2017 that the Black Duck is “one of the few places where old Westport and new Westport meet.”

Yet this turning back of time, has also led to the accrual of increasing debts. Though we have had to increase our prices over the years, these increases have been disproportionately lower than the increasing food costs. In other words, our commitment to being one of the last affordable, laid-back restaurants in lower Fairfield County has caught up to us. In the last 6 months, we’ve been experiencing slower business and now have fallen on significant financial hardship, and are facing the biggest challenge of the Black Duck’s 40 years of business.

It is devastating to think that we won’t be part of Westport and a part of your lives anymore. If our small barge on Riverside Ave becomes empty, so many of you, our guests, will no longer have your go-to place to go to, so we the employees, are doing everything we can to keep it going.

We need to raise cash immediately. Our hope is that with the money raised, that the Duck will be able to stay open for this month and next month.  This money will get us through the slower time.  We would love your help and we are so thankful for your business over the years and for taking a look at our campaign!

Love humbly from the entire Black Duck team.

So far, $300 has been raised.

Duck-lovers: Now’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. (Right around those wings, steamers and onion rings.)

Click here for the Black Duck’s GoFundMe page.

(Hat tip: Jennifer Rankine)



15 responses to “[UPDATE] Black Duck Employees’ GoFundMe Page Shuts Down

  1. There are obviously many many people who have been to the Black Duck over the course of the last 40 years who will miss the restaurant for many reasons. Many people are sentimental yet no longer live around here. Many people just go occasionally but may think fondly of the Duck, and then there are those that consider themselves to be frequent customers or “Regulars”.
    Having good memories is great but this outcome will most likely be based on the economics. If somebody wants to take over the place (if that’s even possible), that’s awesome !
    But it seems to me that there needs to be an honest, open discussion as to why exactly the restaurant is closing.
    Where exactly is the GoFund Me money going to go? Who would run and own the place IF it stayed open ? Who would be involved that has
    solid restaurant experience?
    If it can be saved, that’s great BUT it seems that there is a lot of information that needs to be divulged regarding its closing before serious talk of saving it, or fundraising, occurs.

  2. If we could all do a little, together, we could all do a lot! Help us help the Duck.

  3. Virginia Lewis

    I’m sorry, but, there are so many worthy causes to donate to. I don’t think saving a bar is one of them.

  4. A Gofundme for the Black Duck a dive bar with meh food? Get real. I can’t believe there was even a link provided on this website. So we don’t know the whole story and they are begging for money? Was the business mismanaged? If so, why throw money at a mismanaged business. There is no statement as to how the funds would be used. Why donate to a for profit business to begin with? There are much better causes.

  5. Michael London

    Black Duck never did anything to up its game when others did or moved into town to compete. You can get sentimental about anything that has been around for a long long time….but the Black Duck is not one of them. Move on and lets finally come up with a plan to improve a part of Westport that has been a dump for so long.

  6. Virginia, I feel bad for the employees but I couldn’t agree with you more. When the worthy non-profit organization I worked for couldn’t financially sustain itself and unfortunately closed its doors the only thing the employees received was a pink slip for unemployment. On a side note, Westport should have a few less impaired drivers to contend with.

  7. Wow! I compare these comments to the announcement of the closure comments and I’m speechless

  8. Bart Shuldman

    What if everyone or many in town commits to spend $50 for dinner or something like that? Would that help? Or are the doors closed this weekend?

  9. Looks like the Owners deleted the gofundme links off their facebook page. To me that signals they are not interested in staying open and do not want to be affiliated with the gofundme?

  10. Celeste Champagne

    The Go-Fund-Me page has been shot down apparently as they are no longer accepting donations. There is about $5,000 collected toward at $100,000 goal. As some have pointed out, there is no way to know who instigated this funding page and who would carry it out if funds were raised. Sorry to see it go.