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Seeking Grace

Nômade is the newest entrant on the Westport dining scene.

The long-awaited successor to Tavern on Main has earned great praise — and many repeat customers — for its eclectic cuisine, fresh-looking interior, and imaginative use of the upstairs patio (including a big new bar).

But several residents are concerned about its tables, chairs and large umbrellas by the Main Street entrance. They block the view of Savvy + Grace — the gift-and-more store on the lower level — and make it difficult to enter.

Tables outside Savvy + Grace …

Molly Alger writes:

Annette Norton, the proprietor, is one of the most enthusiastic supporters of downtown Westport, and of ‘shop local, shop small.’ Her shop is a delight, filled with great merchandise, much of it Westport-, 06880- and Fairfield-themed.

She is a philanthropic initiator of fund-raising efforts in Westport, and a champion of trying to make downtown Westport the best it can be. It saddens me when downtown businesses do not support each other. Each one that thrives improves our downtown Westport experience.

… and an umbrella near the entrance on Friday. The landlord moved this umbrella stand from the Savvy + Grace entrance yesterday.  (Photos/Molly Alger)

I asked restaurant owner Ciara Webster for her side. She replied:

We are aware that whatever store is in that lower spot, is of course going to want their safe and visual access and and I believe we have been very sensitive to that.

Tavern on Main always had tables (exact same number as we now have). I believe they were laid out in an identical manner. It would be very wrong of us to do anything that might harm the business of the ground floor shop below us and of course to give our community space to walk unobstructed.

Nothing has changed. It’s been this way for 30-plus years. I’m not sure if Chez Pierre had an outdoor sidewalk seating area, but ever since it became ‘Tavern’ it has.

An undated photo, however, shows only 3 Tavern on Main tables, with 4 seats each, in front of Savvy and Grace. There are currently 7 tables, also with 4 seats each.

Tavern on Main tables. Umbrellas were down, until used.

Nômade’s owner notes that the seating is seasonal, and that outdoor seating is important for people still nervous about COVID. She adds: “We are very conscious to remember it is a privilege and to treat it as such.

“We really do believe that our small outside dining area, will we hope bring new customers to our retail stores. In fact if I had a retail store in the immediate vicinity I’d be thrilled for the exposure to people eating lunch and looking around. ”

This seems like a simple fix. Fewer tables; repositioning them away from the entrance, and keeping the umbrellas down until needed will allow everyone to enjoy a nice meal, followed by a great shopping experience.

Or vice versa.

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