Christie’s Country Store: A Dash Of Renovation?

For a place that looks almost exactly like as it did 7 decades ago, Christie’s has seen a lot.

For decades, Christie Masiello and her nephew Don ran the Cross Highway store as a country market. Nearby residents bought milk, eggs and produce there.

When the Masiellos finally sold it, there were changes (including a brief, forgettable moment as a dry cleaner).

In 2009 John and Renee Hooper bought it, and brought back the comfy, community gathering place vibe. They added burritos, prepared foods, Frosty Bear ice cream and a Sunday farmers’ market.

The couple wanted to offer brunch in the winter by the fire, and on the porch in the summer, plus a limited dinner menu. But state regulations prohibit expanding the septic system — a prerequisite for the changes — so after 9 years the Hoopers closed Christie’s.

Chef’s Table took over in April 2019, adding premium sandwiches, soups and a salad bar. But it closed this past January. Owner Rich Herzfeld said, “Very simply, the location didn’t work out for us.”

Jonathan Mathias

Jonathan Mathias thinks it can work for him. The 1977 Weston High School graduate — who for 20 years has built A Dash of Salt into a full-service catering firm with clients throughout the tri-state area, and as far as Maine and Florida — had long been encouraged by Christie’s owner, Tim Purcell, to give it a try.

Now Jonathan wants to.

He’s got some intriguing ideas. He’d transform the patio, with inviting seating, and hang rattan swings by the entrance. He’d bring back the ice cream hut, and sell Arethusa dairy products from Litchfield inside. He’d offer pick-up Community Supported Agriculture boxes from a farm partner, and local fresh eggs too.

With a bit of attention and fixing up, Jonathan says, Christie’s could be vibrant and exciting. He mentions Harbor Market in Sag Harbor as a model.

But he needs community support. He was buoyed by many positive comments when he floated the idea on Facebook.

Of course, online likes don’t translate into cold cash. Putting a first-class market requires extensive funding. Purchasing the building would be ideal. He’s looking for investors who share his vision.

Interested residents — or anyone who would like to know more — should email contact@adashofsaltcatering.com.

Christie’s, and its traditional front porch.

Just tell him Christie Masiello sent you.

15 responses to “Christie’s Country Store: A Dash Of Renovation?

  1. Jacque O'Brien

    What a great idea! “A Dash of Salt” has always done an excellent job of serving delicious and healthy food. I hope this works😋

  2. Wouldn’t that be great? Finally a country destination, with great food? I for one would be whole heartedly in favor…it sounds glorious!!!

  3. Tatyana Hixon

    How wonderful to use this platform to try and help a business with such community character. Best of luck and sign me up as a customer.

  4. Christine Bisceglie

    Jonathan knows how to cook ! Seriously. And the nicest guy !

  5. I didn’t realize Masiello once owned Christie’s on Cross Highway. (P&Z would never allow a store like that now to be built in a residential area.) If you leave the store and take a left and go past Bayberry Lane, Masiello used to live on the left. I remember as a kid around 1953-ish , he used to have a bulldozer in his yard. I think he had a construction company. My father was friendly with him. His first name might’ve been James.

    • The Masiello family also owned one of Westport’s 2 school bus companies. The Cuseos owned the other.

      • Dan, Now that you mention it, I do remember that. There were 12 Cuseos. I knew the one that lived on Old Road. His license plate was QZO.

    • I think I made a mistake. Hermenze lived on Cross Highway, not Masiello. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

      • Isabelle Breen

        You were right, Masiellos lived on the corner or Cross & Bayberry. My son went to school with one of the daughters.

        • Thanks Isabelle for clearing that up. Across the street and a few yards away, lived the author Peter DeVries. I was good friends with his son. This is going back to 1958.

      • Susan Sutherland

        my parents have lived around the corner since 1972 and we have seen many places come & go —- we would be thrilled to see Dish of Salt be a success!!!! We will support you 💯 !!!!!

  6. What a great addition to the town that would be. We’ll be loyal customers. DOS is excellent!!

  7. I wish Johnathan all good things – I know many ‘country stores’ that are tremendously successful and have always imagined that Christie’s had that potential…But I have watched Cristie’s parade of owners now for almost 20 years. My wife & I have tried to help encourage & support in all ways but no one was able to build & sustain the traffic needed to make it viable. All good-intentioned but never able to make that ‘connection’ with the hood. I’ve spoken to many neighbours who want to see and are excited about a country market/restaurant there. My assessment is you would need either deep pockets to get over the hump to build a base or have a base of clients that can keep you there already. I even got a successful country store owner from N.J. to be interested but Chef’s Table signed a lease first. I thought Chef’s Table would be the one to make it work because they had a great formula that worked in Fairfield. This time I think A Dash of Salt brings what’s needed, an existing base of catering clients that don’t depend on the location. I’m thrilled (and I’m sure the neighbours are too) to see it finally work out. Happy to help in any way. The best of luck!

  8. Isabelle Breen

    Jonathan is an accomplished chef and businessman. And like Christine said, the nicest guy! I’m not in that neighborhood anymore, but I’d go out of my way to support him (and get some fresh eggs)!

  9. A great idea – and take a look at the Chilmark Store on Martha’s Vineyard – great food, local products, a wonderful porch, and incredible pizza (http://chilmarkgeneralstore.com/). Also, Greiser’s in Easton is doing a terrific job as well, additionally featuring many locally produced foods from small purveyors. Although they do not have much prepared takeout food, their breakfast, sandwiches, baked goods and coffee are great, and they added quite a few grocery items for pandemic shopping, local eggs and milk,
    which can be ordered online. Plus, a wood-fired pizza truck on selected evenings, which is very popular.

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