Cold Fusion: The Remarkable Back Story

Cold Fusion opened Thursday. From the moment the new gelato place served its first scoop, it was packed.

It’s on Main Street near Avery Place, in the former Papyrus space next to Chase Bank.

Or, to put it another way: opposite the old Remarkable Book Shop.

The Remarkable Book Shop.

Relative newcomers know it as the long-shuttered Talbots (soon to be, remarkably, Local to Market, selling fresh produce, food and artisan craft items, all produced around here).

Cold Fusion owners (and longtime Westporters) Eric and Kelly Emmert know their history. As they planned their store, they knew they wanted to honor their long-ago neighbor.

For 34 years, an Edward Gorey-inspired dancing figure hung on the side of the Remarkable Book Shop.

Now — after all these years — he’s back.

With a different point of view. He’s inside Cold Fusion — occupying the spot he gazed out upon, for all those years.

The Remarkable Guy was stored at the former Westport Historical Society. More recently, Pam Barkentin has taken care of him. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The Remarkable Book Shop was owned by Sidney and Esther Kramer. (The store’s perfect name includes “Kramer,” spelled backward.) Their children, Mark and Wendy, have loaned the iconic work of art to the Emmerts.

Esther made her store a Westport landmark. Shelves were filled with books on every topic imaginable. Cozy, overstuffed chairs (and a house cat named Heathcliffe) invited browsers to sit, read, linger and talk to each other long before “store experiences” were a thing.

Esther knew every customer’s name, from Paul Newman and writers to young children. She and her team of loyal, learned employees remembered everyone’s interests and tastes, and happily recommended the next good read.

Warm, friendly and funky, the pink store was a community gathering place from 1960 until 1994.

That’s the kind of feeling the Emmerts hope to recreate at Cold Fusion. Bringing the Remarkable Guy back is a great way to start.

10 responses to “Cold Fusion: The Remarkable Back Story

  1. Morley Boyd

    Excellent! Glad to know that the Remarkable Guy has been rescued from the Westport Museum of Culture and Racial Grievance. That’s one less piece of our history that won’t be discarded – or locked behind a 40 dollar an hour paywall.

  2. Carol Waxman

    It is wonderful to remember the many hours spent in Remarkable! I read and copied many a fantastic recipe in those comfortable easy chairs! Such things were encouraged and shared with Esther and other staff!! Thanks, Dan, for sharing and best of luck to the Emmerts!

  3. Thanks Dan for posting the old photo of the fabulous pink store! It brings me back to many happy hours as as kid and teenager making the pilgrimage to Main St. Westport from Fairfield on Saturday mornings. Awesome that the Remarkable Guy has been resurrected!

  4. A. David Wunsch

    Esther and Sidney Kramer were my parents’ (Helen and Harry ) best friends. They introduced my parents to Westport when when we moved there from Brooklyn in 1953 and made them feel at home. They would be pleased to see how the Remarkable space has evolved.
    A. David W Staples 1956

  5. William Weiss

    Tried Cold Fusion today. It’s just ok, but a little sandy and icy. I don’t know what the hype is about.
    La Fenice’s gelato is hand made and authentic and better. Cold Fusion says it’s not made in a factory, but on their website, strangely, the first address listing is their “factory” location.

    • Sasha Morgan

      Having tried both places, La Fenice tastes like it is from an artificial base that uses fake flavoring and colors. In my opinion Cold Fusion is far superior and is definitely made with all natural ingredients. Additionally, the Cold Fusion staff is wonderful, friendly, and always has smiles on their faces. I cannot say I have had the same experience with the La Fenice staff.

    • Sasha Morgan

      I’m not sure that I agree with you William. I’m definitely excited about having the option to choose and that new businesses are downtown but I’ve tried both places and I have to say Cold Fusion is better by a large margin. Cold Fusion’s product tastes all natural while La Fenice’s tastes like it has artificial flavoring. Additionally, I had a far better overall experience in the Cold Fusion store. Their staff was welcoming and friendly. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about La Fenice.

  6. Ciara Webster

    My children and I are really excited to try the two newest gelato additions to town.
    I’ve heard great things about them both.
    It will be so nice to have choices. Good luck with your new businesses.

  7. September Stevens

    I’m excited our downtown is thriving! I hope both stores do well. There’s enough gelato lovers in town to go around. Not sure why someone would use this post for a negative review. And definitely sad that a “local” would say such things about a new business trying to succeed. Seems like a suspicious post to me.

  8. Christie Stanger

    As the custodian of The Remarkable Bookcycle and thereby a tiny version of The Remarkable Guy, I am thrilled the big guy is back on Main Street where generations can enjoy him! And to be able to do it while getting a scoop or a pint of delicious gelato is a treat!