Restaurants Take Drastic Steps; Savvy + Grace Closes Temporarily

First it was schools. Then the library, Town Hall and Y. Last night, it was the beaches and Compo playground.

Now, COVID-19 is rippling through our restaurants.

Yesterday, Bill Taibe closed his 3 restaurants — The Whelk, Kawa Ni and Jesup Hall — for in-house dining.

Takeout meals are available through curbside pick-up. If you can’t leave the house — or don’t want to — they’ll deliver. It may take some time how to do it, Taube says, “but we’ll figure it out. Everybody’s got to eat!

“We feel this is necessary in order to do our part to help stop the spread of this virus,” says the owner of 3 of Westport’s most popular dining spots.

“If there’s ever a time to tip, this is it,” he adds.

For the time being, the doors to The Whelk will be closed. (Photo courtesy of Our Town Crier)

While not closing, other restaurants are taking their own measures during the pandemic.

Pearl at Longshore — which recently hired a new chef, reworked the menu and remodeled the interior — has removed some tables, creating more distance between diners. They offer 10% off on takeout orders, and will bring it outside for pickup.

Pearl at Longshore has made changes….

In addition to also removing tables, offering curbside pick-up and delivery (within 3 miles), Rizzuto’s has removed items like flowers and salt and pepper shakers from all tables. They’re printing menus on lightweight paper for single use. too.

… and so has Rizzuto’s …

The Boathouse has added curbside pick-up, and will soon offer delivery.

… and the Boathouse, at the Saugatuck Rowing Club.

They — and every other restaurant in town — have strengthened existing health policies, and implemented new ones, such as washing hands upon arrival at work; before and after serving or removing food and beverages; before resetting tables, and after every customer interaction, including credit card processing. They’ve also expanded and enhanced their cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

Restaurants also encourage patrons to buy gift cards. They provide much-needed cash now — particularly for small, great places like Jeera Thai — and can be used whenever you feel comfortable going inside.

PS: It’s not just restaurants. Customers can call Calise’s Market (203-227-3257). They’ll put together hot foods, soups, sandwiches, cold cuts, homemade pizzas, drinks, snacks, milk, water, bread, eggs, butter, dry goods — whatever you want  — all for curbside service or delivery.

Sandra Calise-Cenatiempo reports they just stocked up on pasta, sauces and many canned goods. Tomorrow (Monday) they’ll start making dishes that can be frozen.

If you own a restaurant — or store — and would like “06880” readers to know what you’re doing, click “Comments” below.


But restaurants are not the only small businesses reeling from COVID-19.

Savvy + Grace — the great, locally own downtown unique gifts-and-more store — will close for a while. But only the doors.

Owner Annette Norton — Main Street’s biggest booster — says:

As a small business owner I have been grappling with how to handle this.

I am responsible for the rent, vendor bills, expenses, yet with all of the information I am collection, it pales in comparison with our community’s health. Therefore, I have decided to close until further notice.

I will be inside, alone, processing all of our new merchandise for spring. Which, by the way, allows me to offer curbside delivery and call-ins, or direct message me on Instagram for shipping: @savvyandgracewestport. You can also call the store: 203-221-0077.

My store has always been, and always will be, about putting my customers first. This too shall pass.

I just want to do what is responsible, given the information available. It has been my pleasure to serve this community, and I am committed to seeing this through.

See you soon. Stay healthy!

Savvy + Grace, a jewel on Main Street. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

20 responses to “Restaurants Take Drastic Steps; Savvy + Grace Closes Temporarily

  1. Some are being smart… removing shared condiment dispensers, menus, etc. As far back as a week ago when we were still dining out , we specifically asked for no menus, and used our phones instead. People thought we were nuts! Menus at most places are absolutely disgusting. Then they place them on your plates / utensils! I really hope all restaurants are not allowing anyone sick (or knowingly exposed) to work. That is what has us worried at this point. I have also heard of some restaurants temperature checking patrons before they can be seated – I’m all for that!

  2. Susan Reilly

    How about the landlords helping these places by rent assistance??So much of our trouble downtown, even before this virus, has been high rents.
    It’s going to difficult on everyone for awhile and, if they don’t want to lose these businesses, they need to help.

  3. I hate to single out, but Bar taco was packed last night. I spoke to the manager over the phone and he was nonchalant and almost disregarding the crisis. If anyone can afford to close up in house dining during this time, it’s them. They have over a dozen locations nationwide, corporate ownership, and generate millions of dollars a year. They should absolutely be doing curbside take out only. I really hope we all support the family owned restaurants around town by purchasing gift cards and ordering curbside take out. And thanks to Brian Lewis and Bill Taibe. Karma will pay them back tenfold for doing the right thing. Very disappointed in Bar Taco though. Profits over people. Anything to sell another taco.

  4. Thanks so much Dan for keeping us all informed and up to date. Gold’s is offering curb side pick up and we can deliver if necessary. Give us a call (203) 227-0101. We have PLENTY of chicken soup and all of your favorite items.

  5. Pinnacle Health and Fitness LLC has remained open. We use two cleaning services multiple times per week by each company along with our constant wiping and cleaning surfaces after each use. We use traditional Cleaning service and an Environmental cleaning service Enviro-Master Services of CT, which is a medical grade cleaning service that uses an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect all surfaces and equipment.
    We have asked clients who have traveled abroad or feel sick to self-isolate for two weeks prior to returning to the gym. Since we are a 3,000 square foot personal training facility we are able to schedule appointments to minimize the number of people in the facility at one time. We have offered our members the option to use their training packages at home with one of our trainers. As the weather improves we will be taking clients outdoors in the fresh air for workouts and more personal space.
    This has certainly not been an easy time in the service business.

    • @ Philip unfortunately doesnt matter if you clean multiple times per day. Gyms are one of the worst offenders for spread of germs. If Coronavirus can really survive airborne up to three hours, no amount of cleaning will keep things safe during the course of the day.

  6. Karen A Kramer

    Westport is a wonderful town . Our officials took immediate action closing up schools and public gatherings as soon as the danger became imminent.
    We are in a crisis and our restaurants and stores like Calise’s ( who is a combo of store and eatery)and Savvy Grace are all others taking proactive measures are all doing what they can to insure public safety and preserving the livelihood of their workers and establishments. We have been ordering takeout to help keep our economy going and preserve our safety . And special thanks to Dan Woog for keeping us all informed. This is a Hey Jude time for Westport. We are taking a sad song and trying to make it better.. my real estate business is definitely still working but only remotely.

  7. Alex Wennberg

    Unless every item passed at curbside is being disinfected in the midst of the pass and the passer and recipient maintain a minimum of a 6 foot spread, this virus will continue to be transmitted. The sooner everyone bites the billet and self-isolates, the sooner these hard times will pass. These actions currently being taken only ensure that this pandemic lasts longer.

    • Yup. People aren’t thinking about it the right way… using a credit card… possible transmission point… picking up food… not only possible transmission in the hand off but also from the workers/cooks in the restaurant… we are now cooking all of our meals ourselves so we can control the environment / exposure. when shopping we clean the cart handle with our own disinfectant, some times wear gloves… we try not to let any groceries touch the counters in the store… we clean our hands after paying / before touching car… when we get home we remove the groceries and store them… cleaning hands again after. think about workers stocking the shelves, other patrons in the aisles coughing/handling the products… etc. so many possibilities for spread. One of my biggest gripes is having to touch self check out or credit card machines at all… even at the pharmacy, accepting a Rx, you have to touch things…. companies need to think about all that! if you pay via chip, there is really zero reason to have to sign or accept the charge.

  8. Debbie Hoult

    I travelled to Nancy, France on Thursday by Eurostar from London to Paris and then on to Nancy. My friend and I had rented a wonderful Airbnb. Friday was great visiting la Musée de l’école de Nancy and Villa Marjorelle…. dinner at a Michelin Guide restaurant… yesterday was looking at Art Nouveau buildings and shops and ended up on the Place Stanislas to go into the Musée des Beaux Arts. We had to sit outside until some people had left as the French government had decreed a limit of 100 people in any building at a time. Dinner was at a bustling, très french bistro. We left two days early since all of the restaurants are closed…. the train stations are uncomfortably empty…. spooky. It’s a bit scary with empty shelves in the supermarkets in the UK: no chicken if any kind including eggs… we all need to spend our money at the smaller local shops to help them stay in business….

    >

  9. Fergal Moore

    Dan, a great follow up might be to highlight any positive efforts local stores are seeing from landlords. I enjoyed take out from Mumbai Times last night but when driving down past road at 8pm, it was desolate. Takeout, gift cards, e.t.c will help but a lot of stores still won’t survive the rental burden.

    • Thanks. There is a group of Westporters working on a very cool, townwide effort. Details to follow, perhaps in a day. It will be great!

      • Alex Wennberg

        Hopefully this town wide effort is a country wide lockdown. Anything less is futile. We are headed to a lockdown, the sooner the better. It will save lives and shorten the life span of this pandemic. The media should also stop congratulating retailers and shop owners who are continuing to spread this virus via curbside/takeout/delivery etc. we need a lockdown and we need it yesterday.

  10. Donna Bianucci

    The elephants in the Westport room are the MANY gyms, workout studios, and other places where people are close together, sweating and breathing heavily, launching small spit molecules into the communal space. In fact, physique 57 had a grand opening YESTERDAY in their cramped studio with people sharing food and gathering together. The owner was completely irresponsible. The same is true for OrangeTheory, Intensity, etc. that ignore what is happening because they put their bottom line over public health. I personally know that the Westport wife of someone currently self-quarantined with fever and flu symptoms went to a workout class yesterday. People are ignoring best practices by going to these places when they can keep in shape with exercise on demand at home. Club Pilates (also open!), as well as SoulCycle, orangetheory, physique57 and several other studios ALL have an on-demand app they should be telling their customers to use at home for free! It’s shameful, and will only help Westport to be the next New Rochelle or Teaneck.

  11. Our local retail and restaurant trade was already in some trouble. And now this. The overhead pressing down on these people is murderous, and they’re already of necessity laying off staff. It’s tempting to look to landlords for a solution but they have fixed cost burdens of their own. Right now it’s hard to see a light at the end of this tunnel, and I’m eager to hear about the townwide effort that Dan has mentioned. However, what’s even more bothersome is the fact that we’re only a mircocosm for what’s going on all over the world right now.

  12. John McCarthy

    Enjoying our take out brunch from Jessie Hall. Thanks for being there.

  13. Winfield Street Coffee
    13 Post Rd West, Westport CT
    We are offering takeout and delivery as always. We are also offering coupons for online ordering (www.winfieldcoffee.com/order) and 10% bonus on gift card purchases on our website and free shipping code mar2020 (www.winfieldcoffee.com/shop)

  14. With careful consideration, Restore Westport has decided to remain open with the intention of adjusting our service offerings and schedule. We believe that our services can play a role in our community’s ability to fight off the coronavirus.

    Additional cleaning and safety precautions have been added to ensure the health of our clients and staff. We are also carefully pre-screening all of our clients for travel (domestic and international), symptoms of the virus and any possible exposure to someone with COVID-19. Our staff is subject to the same screening as well. We are also limiting the number of people in the store in order to abide by the social distancing guidelines.

    We are discounting our High Dose Vitamin C IV Drips to make this therapy accessible at an affordable price. China and several global medical organizations are currently running clinical trials on Vitamin C IV therapy based on evidence that it may shorten the symptoms of cold and flu viruses. Since coronavirus is a flu-like virus, it is believed that Vitamin C could have similar effects in preventing the virus or reducing its inflammatory effects.

    We will remain open during the Coronavirus outbreak as long as we feel we can safely do so. As the situation changes, taking guidance from local and national experts, we may continue to adjust our offerings and procedures.