Roundup: The Saugatuck, Hook’d, Burying Hill …

Some of the most affordable housing in Westport is hidden in plain sight.

Two 2-bedroom units at The Saugatuck — formerly Saugatuck Elementary School on Bridge Street — will go on the market soon.

The Saugatuck is a senior complex (residents must be at least 62) that caps resale prices to ensure affordability for people with moderate incomes or below. The restriction last year was roughly $105,000 for a single person, and $115,000 for a couple.  There are no asset restrictions.

The property manager maintains a list of interested buyers, for sellers or their agents. For information on how to get on the list, email

The Saugatuck (Photo courtesy of SmartMLS Inc.)


For the past few weeks, a range of readers have complained to “06880” about the Compo Beach concession stand.

Some emailers are angry. Some acknowledge that this is a First World problem. But there are enough of them that they can’t be ignored.

Hook’d took over as the concessionaire from Joey’s by the Shore in 2020. They did not open that COVID-plagued year. Last year’s opening was delayed too. Many Westporters gave the new operators the benefit of the doubt; replacing a 30-year beloved institution would not be easy.

But patience is wearing thin. Here’s a typical email:

“I was there on Tuesday with grandkids at 4 pm. NO ICE CREAM. The place looked empty of everything.

“One of the workers said there have been lots of complaints about running out of things. It has no atmosphere, and is the exact opposite of Joey’s. And the food is very mediocre. I had a terrible hot dog. Burgers are so so.

“Compo beach needs a great beach stand. Have you heard this from anyone else?”

Yes. Other issues include early and random closures, and no posted operating hours.

There’s this too:

“A little birdie told me when the manager sends his supply list, corporate cuts it to their liking. It’s so not Joey’s. Typical ‘corporate.’ They don’t care about us Westporters. Just their bottom line.”

One reader wonders why, even when no one else is in the place, Hook’d employees insist on taking a customer’s cell phone number, to text when it’s ready.

Readers: What’s your experience with Hook’d? What are they doing well, or poorly? Are there any easy fixes? Click “Comments” below.

Hook’d is open. But customers don’t always know when. (Photo/Karen Como)


Speaking of beaches: The Burying Hill pier/groin reconstruction job is done. The final construction crew left on Friday.

Before departure they poured a new, low cement wall in the parking lot, to keep vehicles from driving on the sand.

The new construction looks great, and the crew was efficient and engaged. Congratulations to all involved, for bringing this important environmental project to fruition. (Hat tip: Eric Bosch)

Burying Hill Beach pier. (Photo/Eric Bosch)


The Congregation for Humanistic Judaism hosts “Havdalah on the Beach” next Saturday (July 9, 6 p.m., Compo  Beach).

Everyone is invited for a short service, with folk and klezmer music. Guests can swap Jewish-themed books too.

The CHJ will provide homemade desserts and soft drinks. Bring dinner, adult drinks and a beach chair. There’s no need for a beach pass; tell the gate guard that you are attending the CHJ event, and follow the signs.

Havdalah at Compo Beach.


The next Westport Country Playhouse “Sunday Symposium” guest is Ins Choi. The writer of “Kim’s Convenience” — the play that inspired the popular Netflix series, and which is the next WCP production — will talk about the show, following the July 10 matinee.

The Sunday Symposium is free and open to the public. No performance ticket is necessary; just arrive 80 minutes after the 3 p.m. curtain.

Perviews for “Kim’s Convenience begin July 5, with opening night on July 9. For information on tickets and special offers, including discounts for students, senior citizens, educators, military, first responders, Indigenous peoples, professional playwrights and groups, click here.

Ins Choi


“06880” subscription news: Issues continue to plague readers with addresses,

WordPress and Optonline don’t play well together. The great folks at the new Optimum store near Fresh Market are working on the issue, but have not yet solved it.

If you know someone with an address is not receiving “06880,” ask them to email I’ll send a list of troubleshooting steps.

The easiest solution, of course, is to subscribe to “06880” using a different email address.


The renovation of Longshore may be years away.

But there’s a new addition, near ER Strait Marina.

The Kahuna waterslide popped up the other day. It serves summer campers.

Though plenty of older folks no doubt want to give it a try.

(Photo/Bruce McFadden)


MaryLou Bell died peacefully Thursday at her Westport home, surrounded by family. She was 83.

Born to Patsy and Antonette Doddo, she was a life-long Westport resident. She graduated from Staples High School in 1956.

MaryLou was a well-respected local banker. She began with the Westport Bank & Trust Company while in high school. She sun-bathed on her lunch breaks with fellow employees on the roof of the downtown building (now Patagonia).

Loyal customers followed her to newest bank branches in her capacity as branch manager. Through the years she worked with Connecticut Bank & Trust, the Bank of Darien, the Bank of Westport and others. She ended her career in 2012 at Fairfield County Bank.

MaryLou enjoyed New York outings with colleagues, taking in Broadway shows and dinner. Her vacations in North Truro on Cape Cod were special to her. She volunteered at the Sons of Italy Festival Italiano and Westport PAL’s annual golf tournament, and was a member of Westport Sunrise Rotary.

She was active in local politics during the 1970s and ’80s, with the Republican Town Committee and Save Westport Now. Her family says, “She enjoyed spending time at the Westport Senior Center, and sharing laughs with her friends and family. She was fiercely independent, a straight-shooter, and was never afraid to express her thoughts to others. MaryLou lived life her way.”

MaryLou’s family thanks her exceptional caregivers Millie and Thomasine for providing friendship along with compassionate care.

MaryLou is survived by her daughter Kathy )Scott) Santarella of Westport; son Bob (Marybeth) Stephens of Suffolk, Virginia; grandchildren Jordan  and Jamie Santarella, and Wesston, Tyler, Ashley and Will Stephens; sister and brother-in-law Annette & AJ Izzo of Westport; her brother-in-law Ray (Linda) Barry of Fairfield, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

MaryLou was predeceased by her husband of 35 years, William Bell, in 2000, and her youngest sister Angela M. Doddo in 2001.

Friends may greet the family on Wednesday (July 6, 4 to 7 p.m., Harding Funeral Home). A mass of Christian Burial will celebrated at Assumption Church on  Thursday (July 7, 10 a.m.). Entombment will follow at Willowbrook Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to ­­­­the American Heart Association, or the charity of your choice.

MaryLou Bell


You’ve got to be carefully taught.

In the case of humans, that covers just about everything.

For tree swallows, it’s how to catch insects

The other day, a few babies awaited their mother’s lessons. She took each out, one at a time, while the others waited.

Nancy Diamond captured the scene, for “Westport … Naturally.”

(Photo/Nancy Diamond)


And finally … today marks the halfway point of 2022. (Well, any year actually. But this is the one we care about now.)

183 days are gone; 182 remain. It’s all downhill from here.

(We’re halfway through the year. If you haven’t donated yet to support “06880,” please consider helping. Just click here!)

25 responses to “Roundup: The Saugatuck, Hook’d, Burying Hill …

  1. Last year at Hook’d I waited on the line for fifteen minutes, only to be told when it was my turn to order that they had just closed. Haven’t been back. And won’t be going back.

    • India Van Voorhees

      Wild! I was just about to leave that exact same comment … only I think I was in line for longer than 15 minutes when I was told they couldn’t take any more orders. I, too, have never been back.

    • Jane Dally

      They also operate the half way houae at the golf course and service and food are terrible there as well

  2. Peter Marks

    I can say this about the concession at longshore.. every morning the area is littered with trash. Why aren’t the concession employees required to clean the area not only during the day but when they close

  3. Alan Schanzer

    There is not “Fix”. We need folks to run the place as a great beachside stand fun for families. This is an outsider not connected w the needs of the community. Joeys should never have been forced to leave.

  4. Mitchell Lester

    Yes, let’s not forget about the inadequate half way house. No easy way to place an order until you get there and then hold up the foursome behind you, QR code is cumbersome and they don’t pay attention to the on line orders anyway, the phone number is the owner or someone but he’s not there, and if you can even get a hot dog they have been out of mustard (can you IMAGINE?)

  5. Just to be on the positive side, I think food is quite good. So thinks my son.
    But I agree about the feeling of emptiness and lack of vibe and energy..

  6. Lisa Calabro

    This is what happens when the town bid out the contract to the highest bidder. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong but I believed the high bidder is a corporation out of New York it also ran Brian Park contracts. I’m not sure if they are actually hooked or if it was then subleased out to somebody else. What a mess I really hope the town reconsider is how they handle this process in the future.

  7. Sue Iseman

    What a shame when we have so many talented folks locally who could have done a better job with food at the beach. And geez, what’s with all the litter?

  8. I’ve been there three times and each time I’ve had a bad experience. The first two times I gave them the benefit of the doubt. The third time was my last. Each time I’ve been there the lines are crazy long, the preparation of the food takes twice the time it did at Joey’s and in my opinion the food isn’t good and is overpriced. The town ought to try to break the contract and get Joey’s back. In 20 years going to Joey’s I had only one issue ever with an order and they apologized and gave us a free meal. Bring back Joey’s!!

  9. Matt Murray

    To echo Lisa Calabro’s note, yes it was a New York company and the reviews of their operation were “iffy.” They supposedly were the caterer for a Grammy event or two, that eventually had the contract terminated. If I remember correctly, their head quarters are in Westchester County. If I am off on this, it was a while ago and I have fuzzy memory. :^)

  10. Merri Mueller

    The worst. Very sad because joeys was the best! The lines are long, the vibe is dead, the food is awful and it’s way too expensive. Such a shame. How about some food trucks?

  11. Dave Eason

    I’m sure that I’m not the only local, somewhat connected person that heard the rumors back when this contract was awarded. That said I sure would like to hear what Jen Fava (director of Parks and Rec) has to say regarding this. I miss “Joey’s” every day. We didn’t know how good we had it.

  12. Sherry Davidowitz

    I have had delicious food (burgers and lobster rolls) and attentive service at Hook’d.

  13. Werner Liepolt

    It sounds as if Hook’d deserves immediate attention… A big part of the joy of Compo used to be spelled J-O-E-Y-‘-S.

    But it IS great that one, now long-time Westport experiment has paid off for everyone, Thanks, Dan, for noting the continued success of The Saugatuck—the result of Westport’s citizens’ dedication to a concept that satisfied everyone and overcoming a thoughtless government attempt at overreach.

    Some of the history of how a neighborhood and Westport’s then elderly population made it work is contained in this NYTIMES story from 1988..

    Now if we could only pull together to get CTDOT to install the long needed sound barriers on those sections of I-95 that go through our residential neighborhoods…

  14. Clark Thiemann

    Hookd has been a disaster since day 1. Remember they never even bothered to open in 2020? When I ran for rtm last fall people asked what I wanted to do and my first answer was always digging into this disaster of a contract, how it came to be and whether there was any way to break it. The beach, the golf course (where the maintenance contract is another issue) and the Longshore pool are three of the jewels in this town and the concessions at each of them are embarrassing. Maybe they could have asked about them in the bizarre Longshore survey that was just sent out.

    To be clear, the staff there have always been nice, but the management clearly could care less about actually doing a good job.

  15. Hook’d no bueno. We went for lunch on a sleepy late summer weekday. My wife said the food was inedible. Would be great to change and get a vendor who actually cares about the good and service. Agree with Dave Eason above as well.

  16. hank ottinger

    As one who lifeguarded at Burying Hill back in the late 50s, I’m delighted at the improvements. The place is a real treasure.

  17. Tracy A Flood

    Gave them two tries, Never again. Pack my lunch every time. I miss Joey’s more than I can say.

  18. Ciara Webster

    What a tragedy. And “we told you so” comes to the forefront of my mind.
    Many of us begged and pleaded for the contract not to be given to this organization.
    Lou from valentinos, sunset grille, jr hot deli on riverside (local)
    Was bidding on it and as far as I know had them exact same bID give or take a dollar !
    It is unbelievable and incomprehensible that this contract was awarded to someone not local, and with appalling reviews on his previous failed ventures.
    This is what happens with ZERO transparency and ZERO accountability.
    He should be kicked out effective immediately.
    I remember Sal worked tirelessly on this very matter to bring it to peoples attention before it was snuck through with no regard whatsoever for any of the local comments and opinions. Copious numbers of emails and proof of the operators incompetence were sent including to the finance board..
    but for some “strange” reason all valid complaints were dissed.
    This was a preventable catastrophe.

  19. Hal Kravitz

    Well the good news here on this Hook’d debacle is…and unfortunately from what I’ve heard in the past, all of these negative comments ring true…the new Old Mill Grocery and Deli on Hillspoint…just down the road from Compo beach will be reopening soon thanks to the recent and amazing community effort…and from what I know, will be sure to please!! It’s a short walk away and if that doesn’t work for everybody, and if we’re lucky…delivery to a public drop off point close to the beach via on line ordering will be an option! Sounds like this can’t happen soon enough!

  20. Robert Harrington

    Leadership needs to step in and do something. Losing Joey’s was a BIG mistake. Anyone who investigated that company for more than 5 minutes would have seen how unprepared they were. Westport deserves MUCH better.

  21. Donald Bergmann

    Congratulations to our Parks & Recreation and DPW Departments for the fine and timely completion of the work at Burying Hill Beach. I believe that some additional sand will be relocated from the low tide areas onto the beach in a few months. All should remember that Burying Hill was allowed to deteriorate because of inattention and poor Parks & Recreation and First Selectperson management. We have a new Parks & Recreation superintendent, Michael West. and so far he appears to be on top of things and working to preserve and enhance our park spaces. Keep alert however.
    The task is always ongoing.