As Westport restaurant owners get ready to reopen — outdoors only, with tables 6 feet apart and no bar service — one resident has an idea to help them succeed.
The other day, David Basich and his wife Vanessa took a walk by the train station. A daily New York commuter before COVID-19, this was his first time there in nearly 10 weeks.
That got him thinking. David says:
As I looked at the restaurants on Railroad Place — Tarantino, Harvest, Romamacci — I reflected on how tough it’s been for them (and all other restaurants around town).
I started thinking about what would put them in a position to best optimize the situation when they are able to reopen, and what would make patrons comfortable coming back. I know outdoor dining is one possible solution.
I thought it would be great if we could close down entirely the street that runs past them, and open it up entirely for outdoor seating.
We talked with Graziano, the owner of Romanacci, about the idea. They are the only one thus far that had carved out some small space.
Closing down the entire street would open it up even more. Restaurant-goers would feel more comfortable overall if some capacity could move outside, social distancing could be maintained more easily, and of course this would create a pretty unique al fresco dining row for Westport.
Regarding the impact on commuters, I don’t think closing this street would be too great of a hardship (at least for a while). I imagine Metro-North numbers will be down for the foreseeable future.
However, to alleviate some of the hassle, the one-way portion of Railroad Place that runs north past the parking lot off Charles Street, could be opened up to two-way traffic.
We could try this for a while — maybe through Labor Day — and readjust as things evolve.
I don’t know exactly what this would entail and how much of a hassle it would be. But I do know Westporters love our town, love dining out, and want to see these business given the best chance to survive.
“06880” readers: What do you think? Is this a good idea? Are there other places in town that could benefit from something similar? Click “Comments” below!