Last week’s demolition of the old Positano’s restaurant — remembered by real old-time Westporters as its earlier incarnation, Café de la Plage — evoked a welter of emotions.
It also revived memories of Allen’s Clam House, the other waterfront restaurant in the otherwise residential neighborhood.
Allen’s was right around the corner, on Sherwood Mill Pond. Built in 1890 by Captain Walter Allen, customers flocked there for seafood — and views — from as far as New York.
It was the go-to place for generations of celebrations — proms, anniversaries, holidays, you name it.
In 1999, the restaurant and surrounding .83-acre property was up for sale. To protect it from the developers, the town bought it for $1.2 million. Private donations — including $50,000 each from Paul Newman and Harvey Weinstein — defrayed part of the cost.
The restaurant was torn down a few years later. Today — thanks to efforts of Sherry Jagerson, and a group of dedicated volunteers — the land is known as the Sherwood Mill Pond Preserve.
It’s one of Westport’s hidden-in-plain-sight gems. Of course, you can’t buy clams there any more.
But you can bring your own, and have a very fine picnic indeed.