Friday Flashback #304

With the recent barbs being thrown Hook’d’s way, let’s revisit the Compo Beach concession stand.

We’ve featured these in previous Friday Flashbacks. But with so many newcomers to town — and so many others who so fondly remember Hook’d’s ancestors —  it’s a good time to check in with its predecessors.

Long before Joey’s by the Shore, there was this:

The photo is from 1933. The concession stand was located where the volleyball courts are now.

Later, at the same spot, came Chubby Lane’s:

(Photo courtesy of Liz Doyle Boyd)

Anyone could drive right up, order a really good burger, and eat outside — all without a beach sticker.

Like many teenagers, I worked at Chubby’s. It was a plum job: in the middle of all the action, with plenty of other kids, and free food. Sure, we wore dorky navy blue shorts and knee-length socks, but that was the price we paid.

Before my time, Chubby’s employees roamed the beach with walkie-talkies. They’d call in orders, and tie a balloon on a beach chair. A few minutes later, another employee hand-delivered the food.

Joey Romeo was the next well-organized, much-loved concessionaire. He was there for over 30 years. His customer service is legendary too.

Now we’ve got Hook’d. Years from now, will it be a nostalgic Friday Flashback — or just the answer to a trivia question?

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29 responses to “Friday Flashback #304

  1. Chubby’s was the best

  2. Michael Calise

    Dan,
    In between the dates cited the concession was operated by my Grandmother and Grandfather, Catherine and Michael Calise. I have sent you copies of their menu’s in the past. One interesting note during their tenure the existing pavilion which is now next to the volley ball courts was on a second level above the bathhouses at that time. It was used as a dining spot where they served dinners. Also across the street in what is now the gravel? parking lot there was a bandshell in which nightly entertainment was a regular activity run by the concession.

    • Carl A. Swanson '66

      I don’t think Chubby’s was there yet in the mid-60’s?

      • Hey, Carl! Yeah pretty sure it was: I seem to recall going there in the early 60’s maybe even in the late 50’s, with All-Sports Day Camp, run by Chubby’s brother, famous Coach Paul Lane and Woog’s predecessor, also-famous coach Albie Loeffler.

        • Carl A. Swanson '66

          Well, early 60’s we hung at Longshore pool but do not remember it by senior year when my gal wanted to “shake and bake” (complete with baby oil and iodine) all day Sunday. Coach Lane was my Little League coach in cap league, the Cubs. His wife, my second grade teacher at Coleytown, Ms. Small. Never knew Chubby. The Wonder Years.

          • Coach Lane was Chubby Lane. He owned a restaurant on the Post Rd. near North Maple Ave. I think it was named Chubby Lanes, if my memory serves me right. He also had a gym in the basement on the bowling lanes next to the pool room. I’m not sure how he got that nickname because he certainly wasn’t chubby.

            • Carl A. Swanson '66

              Coach Paul Lane was not Chubby Lane. Coach Lane became the long standing Staples football and track coach for decades.

              • Carl is correct. Paul and Chubby were brothers — they had many other siblings. Paul, the longtime Staples football coach (for whom the field is now named) did own Nautilus, one of the first “machine” fitness centers, in the space near what was then the bowling alley (now the shopping center with the medicinal marijuana dispensary). Chubby owned the 2 restaurants: the beach concession, and the year-round one on the Post Road, a few yards and across the street from Nautilus. Neither man was in the least bit chubby.

  3. Janet Lenfest Antonucci

    Loved Chubby’s!

  4. While I recall in general that Chubby’s had really good burgers, my only specific memory is unfortunately a less-than-positive one: that we gathered at the other Chubby’s location on the Post Road in September 1970 for an early pregame meal prior to our only night game of the Staples soccer season our senior year.

    Was it merely a coincidence that we ate prime beefburgers—or whatever they were known as on Chubby’s menu—and French fries a little while before our only loss of the season (and the only game in which any opponent scored on us all year)?

    I fully recognize that Nyack had a superb squad featuring two future college All-Americans but still…🤨

  5. Susie Swanson Milllette, Staples '58

    Chubby Lane’s was the best! I heard my first rock and roll music there as well. Bill Halley and the Comets “Rock ’round the clock”. It was “cutting edge” or so we thought at the time. Fond memories. The fact that “the pavillion” and any assets at Longshore are not top-notch is beyond comprehension. A town like Westport has so much talent, entrepreneurship, and plainly said, MONEY, to let this happen! PITY!

  6. India van Voorhees

    I never knew it was called Chubby’s. I only knew it as The Pavilion. ((I spent several summers at Compo in my youth.) Over the years, I’ve often talked about how you could smell those cheeseburgers grilling from a couple of blocks away. I am not exaggerating when I say that no burger since has lived up to that deliciousness.

  7. I was a Compo lifeguard from 1970-1976. My brother and sister both worked at Chubby’s until they turned pro and joined the lifeguard force. In the late 60s and early 70s, the all male (at the time) lifeguards and the Chubbettes had a special relationship. A fair amount of dating and, if Mark (“Chubby”) Lane or Dave Swift (“Swifty”) were not around, a fair amount of free burgers and fries.

  8. David J. Loffredo

    The difference between now and then is the value of residential real estate at the beach. Gone are the days of the cheap summer rentals of unconditioned cottages. I still remember the Summer of ’75 when Farrah Fawcett was a “summer local”. Lots of boys put some serious mileage on their Schwinns….

    Now it’s too fancy. No more restaurants, and no potential for any more. Really a shame because the beach should be enjoyed year round by everyone, and instead it’s mostly a playground for the walkable locals.

    I think a resurrection of Allan’s Clam House in the middle of the Compo Parking lot would bring year round revenue. Or a pavilion like they have in Fairfield that’s rented and used 365 days a year.

    Won’t happen, the well heeled locals will keep the status quo. But it’s a severely underutilized opportunity.

  9. Like so many, I only remember Chubby Lane’s. It was such a treat to go to Compo when I was elementary school. My mother much preferred taking us to Burying Hill which was smaller and didn’t have much of a concession stand if any. Seems like Ray, the Good Humor man, would swing thru Burying Hill so we could at least get an ice cream bar. On the rare occasions that we went to Compo, they would indeed come down the beach and take our orders and mark them with helium balloons tied to long ribbons. I would end up tying them to my pigtails (braids) so I would look like Pippi Longstocking 🙂

  10. When did they tear down the old concession stand?

  11. Carl A. Swanson '66

    That was my one “beef” with Joey by the Sea, he wouldn’t allow any “roach coaches” i.e. food trucks to service any of the beaches. Seems we the taxpayers should have that choice?

  12. Yeah, Ray was a really good guy. I remember him telling us his full name “hey Ray wait a minute”

  13. Margaret Moffitt Rahe

    Great photos of all the concession stands. I loved the waiters in their shorts and high knee socks. That was a FLASHBACK!

  14. Linda Pomerantz Novis

    My mom used to take my sister & I ,later on,(early 1970’s) to Chubby Lane’s ,
    Post. Rd. next to the New Englander hotel..
    (yes, the memory of their burgers, onion rings -So good..:-)

  15. Cathy (Smith) Barnett SHS '66

    I do remember when you could pull your car up to Chubby Lanes at the beach and run in and place an order. I think there was a 15 minute limit at some point and only a couple spaces were available.

    I also remember in the early 60s when Longshore had a strip of sand called the beach located next to the crumbling lighthouse. The beach vanished when the marina expanded. Of course the pool was always crowded but there were shade trees and sand if you wanted to cool off. Good times at Compo and Longshore in the 60s!

    I

  16. Paul Lane owned the hamburger restaurant next to the New Englander. That was called Chubby Lanes, as I remember it. Why did he name it Chubby Lanes? He also owned the fitness gym in the basement of the bowling lanes next to the pool room.

    • Sorry, Jack. Paul and Chubby were 2 different people. They were brothers — they had many other siblings. Paul, the longtime Staples football coach (for whom the field is now named) did own Nautilus, one of the first “machine” fitness centers, in the space near what was then the bowling alley (now the shopping center with the medicinal marijuana dispensary). Chubby owned the 2 restaurants: the beach concession, and the year-round one on the Post Road, a few yards and across the street from Nautilus. Neither man was in the least bit chubby.

    • Dan, I didn’t know there was a brother named Chubby. Paul did own the Nautilus Fitness Center ( I actually couldn’t think of the name of the place.) So what you’re saying is that Paul Lane had no financial interest in Chubby Lanes, and it was his brother that owned it? We’ll, you learn something every day.

  17. Speaking about ‘lanes,’ I need to get on 95, in the right hand ‘lane,’ and get to the 06880 beach party this year! I’m determined to make! I hope to meet everyone.

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