Friday Flashback #194

One day — sooner rather than later, hopefully — the Compo Beach snack bar will open.

A new concessionaire replaces Joey’s by the Shore. After 31 years, there will be a new look and feel to the familiar brick building.

It seems like it’s always been there, smack in the middle of the boardwalk. But for most of its existence, that was actually part of the bathhouses.

The concession stand was located a few yards north — where the volleyball courts are now. Low-slung and wooden, it had even more of a “beach shack” feel than the current one.

And because there were a few parking spaces in front — just before the drop-off area where the Soundview exit road begins — anyone could drive up and walk in. You didn’t need a beach sticker.

(Photo courtesy of Liz Doyle Boyd)

Working at Chubby’s was a coveted job. I was hired the summer after 10th grade. Despite the dorky uniform (blue button-down shirt, dark blue shorts, high socks), I had a blast.

I loved my co-workers. I got free food. I was at the beach. Life did not get better than that.

PS: A few years earlier, Chubby pioneered “delivery.” Employees wandered up and down the sand. They called in orders by walkie-talkie, and tied a ribbon on the customer’s chair. Someone else then brought the order.

That service was gone by the time I worked there. Maybe the new concessionaire can bring it back?

BONUS FEATURE: Chubby’s beach success led to a year-round restaurant on Post Road East. It’s now the site of Willows Pediatrics, next to the Westport Inn.

Chubby Lane’s featured the first $1 hamburger in town — with meat from Charpentier’s butcher across the street (now Border Grille) — and killer onion rings. I worked there also, wearing that same ridiculous outfit.

I had a blast there too.

This is actually the Bantam Restaurant, a predecessor of Chubby Lane’s. But when he owned it, it looked the same.

48 responses to “Friday Flashback #194

  1. John L. Krause

    If you remember Chubby’s, and I do, you’re officially old…
    And Beach School, for $5 a summer.

  2. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    I remember that old concession building at Compo and going in to get popsicles with my mother and sister back in the old days. Chubby’s was great too and since I remember that makes me officially old as well. Never did Beach School but knew kids who did. Thanks for the memories Dan.

    • Christopher Jones

      You’re not officially old until you remember the place was known for years before Chubby ever got there as “The Pavillion” and was run by a Mr.(Gene?) Wildfoster who smoked a big cigar and rode around in a big car.
      And you’re just a kid if you didn’t attend “Beach School” when it first started and was called (more appropriately) “Beach Camp”.

  3. Tom Feeley Sr.

    I worked with Chubby Lane in real estate and thinking that maybe the chubby moniker was a tease line when people told me his name was chubby I was afraid to use it and I called him by his real first name and he promptly corrected me that his name he wished to be called was CHUBBY😂

  4. Joan Ketley(McCarthy)

    My brother and I worked at Chubby’s at the beach and the Post Road. Loved that job!

  5. Tom Feeley Sr

    I did real estate with Chubby Lane many years ago and at our first meeting thinking that chubby was maybe a nasty nickname I called him by his proper first name and he promptly corrected me to say that his preferred name was chubby 😂

  6. Arthur Klausner

    I have fond memories of that place as well, although we always called it “The Pavillion.” Best was around 1970 when I was ten years old and my little brother and I thought it would be fun to lock all the doors at our house on Westport Avenue. Given that the whole family was outside and not carrying keys, that presented a bit of a problem. So my Mom walked over to the Pavillion, begged a dime off someone, and called the Westport Police! Did we get in trouble? WHAT DO YOU THINK?!

  7. Oh, one of THE great memories shared by all of us ole locals…BOTH locations…beach shack might beat them all out (and this is with Ships and Big Top in the picture)!

  8. Lots of memories today. I remember before Chubby ran the beach restaurant out by the road, someone else ran it, whose name I don’t remember but he made good hot dogs too. You could go there by bicycle or CR&L bus just to eat and not go swimming. That restaurant was known as the pavilion, a term that has described four places at the beach.

  9. I love everything about this post! Can’t wait for the beach to open! Had a great burger and fries at the new Joeys (Elvira’s) used the app and my order was ready in 10 min!!

  10. Dan – re: Chubby’s at the beach. They came by and took your orders and marked them with colorful Helium balloons. After they brought the order I would tie a balloon to each pigtail (I had long braids) and walk around with my pigtails up in the air like Pippi Longstocking. It was all so much fun!

    • I remember your pigtails, Fran!

    • Jonathan Maddock

      You used to have a wicked loud whistle produced with the aid of two or more fingers. I lived on Wake Robin Rd, and remember begging you to whistle for us. I loved it.

    • Hi Dan — I was a Chubette and worked at both the beach and the Post Rd. locations for about year. I remember walking through the sand attired in the navy blue bermuda shorts (bought and altered at Ed Mitchell’s) and the blue button down shirt, as well as the navy knee socks and penny loafers — of course, carrying the balloons. It was so hot on some afternoons.
      On the Post Road, it was hot as well, especially by the grill. Being a Chubette is a wonderful memory.
      At both locations Chubby’s right hand man and chief grill master was Swifty.
      Does anyone else remember him?

  11. Charles Taylor

    After our afternoon 5 mile run several lifeguards and I would finish a Chubbys order giant cokes and retire to sit in the shadows by the lifeguard shack and cool down. The smell of burgers on the lifeguard stand made my mouth water!

  12. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    I assume Chubby Lane was related to Paul Lane (coach at Staples in the 80’s)?

    • They are brothers (it was a very large family). Paul Lane began coaching football at Staples in the 1950s. He became head coach, and remained there through the early or mid 1980s. He is now in his 90s, lives in the same house on Soundview Drive, and can be seen most days greeting relative and his many friends. Wave the next time you drive by. I believe Chubby is living in Delaware now.

  13. Kathleen Brannigan Fazio

    Burned in my early memory is the sound of the screen doors slamming at the beach concession.

    • Kathleen – that’s EXACTLY what I was going to say. They slammed QUICKLY behind you – probably to keep out bugs, etc. If you didn’t move fast, the door would slam you in the butt!

  14. Chubby and Paul are brothers. I think there were 10 Lane siblings. One of them, Joanne, was in my class, the class of ’65.

  15. Jeffrey Jones

    Ah, Kathleen…, the screen door slamming! Compo Beach let the good times roll, all Summer long.!

  16. Chubby made the best hamburger with grilled onions….ever. My wife and four kids talk about missing Chubby’s on the Post Rd. to this day.

  17. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    A standard ritual, growing up, late 1960’s- after a late afternoon piano lesson in Westport- and then going to Chubby Lane’s,Post Rd. East.. (the Best Burgers,Ever 🙂

  18. Another memory, almost forgotten, of Chubby’s at the beach – I painted the fairly large signs for the inside of the restaurant -“HAMBURGERS” , “HOT DOGS”, etc.

  19. We loved Chubby’s hamburgers and to this day I make their smothered onions as my family loves them on their burgers. My sister and her boyfriend worked for Chubby. Way before the restaurant was in existence we lived next door to Bob and Judy Charpentier. We loved when he opened the restaurant up on the Post Road and I even saw Paul Newman there one time. Great memories of both places.

  20. Nancy Kondub-Harris

    Loved working at both spots…he was so great ,he hired a lot of Staples women athletes!

  21. Mary Schmerker

    Oh the memories! Thank you Dan and all the responders. Darn, now I’m wanting a burger .

  22. Nancy Powers Conklin

    I started working at Chubby’s at the beach in the summer of ’67. Moved up to the restaurant on the Post Road once the beach closed down for the summer. What a BLAST it was working in both restaurants! I loved the outfits and loved working there. Chubby was pretty serious but, Swifty was always fun to work with. I have wonderful memories of working there and am so sad that it is gone!! If you ever visited Bermuda, you know where Chubby came up with the dress code!

  23. Scoring one of those few, coveted parking spots on the road out front of the snack bar, and hanging out nearby with a burger and a [ahem] beverage, was among the top of my list of accomplishments during the summer. But officer Marc Pocius would eventually chase us out of those spots, something about a time limit on how long you could park there, which only seemed to apply to us . . .

  24. They were kind to me. I hardly ever had money and was skinny as a rail. They let me eat all of those fantastic caramelized onions. I don’t think I was the only one. I told Chubby’s daughter, this several years back. She gave me the recipe but .. of course.. I lost it. Very, very nice family.

  25. I used to go to Chubby’s on the Post Road with my great grandmother and grandparents on Sunday nights – my great grandmother always had a hotdog and I remember the yummy onion rings – also, my aunt dated Swifty!! 🙂

  26. Agreed! Chubby’s @ the beach was the best! Those burgers- now we know one secret was the meat came from Charpentiers- no wonder! And the drawback to Beach School was that it was so close to all the yummy aromas! And I think that we did not wear shoes into Chubby’s at the beach? I recall the big slamming screen doors, too..Sigh, the sounds & smells of summers, truly those old days were good😎

  27. WTF is WTF being used as abbreviation for Wakeman Town Farm when that is NOT what it stands for?

  28. Now here’s a controversy for all of you old time Westporters: who had better burgers – Chubby’s or Big Top?

    • Jeffrey Jones

      Big Top had great burgers, no doubt about it, but Chubby’s had the smothered onions, no shoes and ambience for The Whole Package. So, I’ll punch out the chad for Chubbies.

  29. Me, too- Big Top yum, but Chubby’s @ Compo had the elusiveness & ambiance of only being available in the summer😎 Just great times: bare feet, sandy suits, Coppertone SPF ? , salty air mixed w/grilled food, &
    awesome food!

  30. John L. Krause

    My sister reminded me of something about this place.

    “Did you know. Chubby (a very good friend of mom & dads), had gone crazy over moms Sauerkraut at a picnic and had mom show him how to make it like hers. We spent a few evenings up at Chubbies while mom was in the kitchen at the grille browning the sauerkraut to get that just right flavor. Yup. His famous kraut came from our mom!! Wish she was here she’d tell ya. We never paid for a dog at the beach or post RD shop as long as he was there”

  31. Thomas W Nistico Sr

    Chubby’s was the Best !
    How I miss his food . Chubby ran his business ‘s to the Tip-Top ! Westport today don’t know what they missed. It would be the spot to go now in town either at the Beach or on the Post Road. There will never be another Restaurant with that cuisine again.

  32. Steve Doig (SHS '66)

    I’m another Chubby’s alum. There or Compo lifeguarding were my summer jobs all through my Staples years.

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