For nearly 5 years, Pearl at Longshore has been a favored destination. Diners loved the menu, the location, the decor and the service.
Perhaps there were not enough of them. Today, owners Marc and Lois Backon write:
With Thanksgiving approaching, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the Pearl family – from the staff to investors, the town of Westport and guests who we have had the pleasure of serving since February of 2016.
This may seem a bit ironic today as we announce that on Saturday, November 28, Pearl at Longshore will be closing.
Our story and mission for Pearl was actually quite simple when we set out on the journey in 2015. We wanted to bring life back to Longshore for Westport and the surrounding community, when we saw the restaurant and patio space within the Inn at Longshore laid bare for over a year.
We wanted to resurrect this very special location and turn it into the gem of Westport for all to enjoy and be proud of. We wanted to create jobs, we wanted to create a “uniquely Pearl” environment for people to create their own special memories over delicious food, drink and entertainment.
We, and hope all who frequented Pearl — whether for special occasions with family and friends, date night, graduations, holidays, drinks at the bar after a long work week, round of golf or enjoying live music on the patio in the summer — believe we succeeded at this mission.
There is a great opportunity and destiny ahead for Pearl. A new management group is taking over responsibilities for The Inn at Longshore, and in turn will also take over the restaurant and patio area. They will have the ability to holistically reimagine Longshore, and not be restricted by what restaurant space is today.
All that is special of Pearl remains open until the evening of the Saturday the 28th, so please come in and enjoy. We also invite all to have Thanksgiving dining at Pearl, or pick up for home dining.
Again, we are so very grateful for being able to bring Pearl into the lives of so many people and appreciate the dedicated support of the staff and of the community for the last 4 years.
Last week, town officials reassigned the Inn at Longshore lease.
Rory Tagert — who operated the facility in the heart of the park for 35 years — is retiring. Longshore Hospitality LLC — which operates boutique hotels in many states, including Delamars in Southport, Greenwich and West Hartford — is the new operator.
Since the town bought the property and took over in 1960, it’s been the scene of countless banquets and other celebrations. Here it was during the ’60s:
Besides the ballroom and several hotel rooms, the Inn’s expansive lawn — sloping down toward Long Island Sound — is one of Fairfield County’s favorite wedding sites.
The front of the building has not changed much over the years. But here’s a view of the rear, from 1949:
The Inn at Longshore — a gorgeous, historic (and tired and underutilized) property — may soon get a new “lease on life.”
The Boards of Finance and Selectmen will consider an intriguing proposal foro the town-owned property.
Long-time tenant Longshore Associates of Westport — headed by Rory Tagert — seeks permission to assign their lease to a new group of experienced hotel and restaurant operators.
Tagert has been involved with the Inn for 35 years. He will retire soon.
The Inn at Longshore
Known officially as Longshore Hospitality LLC, the partnership is led by the Greenwich Hospitality Group.
Founded by Charles Mallory of Greenwich, they operate boutique hotels in many states, including the Delamar hotels in Greenwich, Southport and West Hartford, along with the L’Escale and Artisan restaurants in those locations.
Principal Michael Ryan is a Westport resident. Longshore Hospitality was represented by Westport attorney Jim Randel during negotiations.
The current Inn at Longshore lease has 8 years to run. It allows the tenant to assign the lease, with town approval. Those approvals are on the agendas of special online meetings of the Board of Finance (Thursday, October 22, 5 p.m.) and Selectmen (Friday, October 23, 12:30 p.m.).
The ballroom at the Inn.
1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:
I feel comfortable and gratified that the Inn at Longshore will be in the hands of experienced, local and reputable businesspeople who will represent the Town well in the years ahead.
The Longshore Hospitality LLC proposes to continue operating the Inn and the banquet facility as they have been under the proprietorship of Longshore Associates. Hotel and event staff are proposed to remain in place and all scheduled events will be unaffected. The Pearl at Longshore restaurant will continue to stay open.
Christmastime at the Inn at Longshore.(Photo/Katherine Bruan)
“Our ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign was stolen from our front yard. We paid for it; it was up for weeks, and we live on a side street.
“I am stunned, having grown up in this town. We disagreed, we debated, but we didn’t do warfare with political signs.
“The sign was on our property. How is this not an invasion of my property? How is it not the bullying or pummeling in the name of what you don’t like or believe?
“Black lives matter. They still matter, even when you steal signs.”
Speaking of political signs: An Old Hill resident offers this warning to a possible thief:
The Artists Collective of Westport sponsors an outdoor trunk show of “affordable art” this Saturday (October 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Westport Playhouse parking lot).
Artists will display their works from in and around their cars. All COVID restrictions will be followed. But, the Collective says, “we can’t mask our excitement!”
Lindsey Blaivas spotted this house on Long Lots Road. “Instead of hauling away this magnificent tree that fell during one of our many storms, they landscaped around it,” she writes.
“It is a piece of art — and a tribute to the magical gifts that nature sometimes leaves us.”
Like many venues, Longshore has been hit hard by the coronavirus.
Yesterday, however, Bruce McFadden spotted a ceremony taking place. It was not big — and there seemed to be plenty of space between guests and tables. Still, it was a nice reminder of a bit of normalcy.
And finally … on Columbus Day, let’s honor the people who knew this land long before the Europeans “discovered” it. Songwriter/saxophonist Jim Pepper adapted “Witchi Tai To” from an ancient chant he learned from his Native American grandfather. It is still the only song in the history of Billboard’s pop chart to feature a Native American chant.
The facility — at Bridgebrook Marina, on Riverside Avenue between the VFW and Saugatuck Rowing Club — has quickly become the go-to place for rentals, group activities, and a very popular summer camp for kids.
Now there’s more. Last night was the first “Taco Tuesday” in the parking lot by the dock (near the palm tree).
A taco truck will be there every Tuesday, from 5 to 7 p.m. A nice breeze, the calming river, fun food — you won’t care about the pandemic, a tropical storm, or anything else.
Westport Paddle Club owner Robbie Guimond (left), with employees and Staples High School seniors George Smith and Jack Douglas, at the taco truck.
As of early this morning, 98 Westport customers still lack electricity. That’s 0.78% of the town — meaning Eversource met their promise of 99% by Tuesday midnight.
The utility notes that a derecho storm that caused nearly a million outages in the Midwest caused some crews from those states to be called home to restore power there. Just think of those drives those workers had, getting here and back — and the work they do, here and there.
Eversource says, “at this time, we do not expect this to impact our restoration process” across Connecticut.
However, Jeff Jacobs takes issue with Eversource and the town’s announcement that all Westport roads are now passable.
Kings Highway South is closed just below Birchwood Country Club.
Finally yesterday, a barrier — mostly traffic cones — was erected at the junction of Kings Highway and Treadwell Avenue. There are still no signs or barriers at Post Road West, however, so drivers keep coming. And keep turning around.
Meanwhile, as Westport’s cleanup continues, residents — including David Meth — remain concerned about a utility pole in a very visible spot.
It rests on cables attached to another utility pole across from Willowbrook Cemetery, near the Main Street/Cross Highway split.
“If it crashes, it will pull down all the cables and then some,” David says. “I spoke to 2 Eversource workers nearby. One said he would take a look. The result: nothing.”
Today marks the Westport Library’s return to normal — that is, COVID-normal — hours. Curbside pickup is available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The building is open for browsing and staff support weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Beginning this Monday (August 17), appointments are recommended for the Children’s Library.
A family (or cohort of up to 5 people) will have the Children’s Library to themselves for 30 minutes. If they leave before their 30 minutes are up, walk-ins can book the remaining time.
Click here to reserve an appointment for the Children’s Room.
The Longshore golf course reopened today. The tennis courts will be back tomorrow (Thursday, August 13), after reconditioning.
Some of the damage on the Longshore golf course. (Photo/Brian Sikorski)
Next up in the Remarkable Theater’s remarkable summer drive-in movie series at the Imperial Avenue parking lot: “The Jungle Game” (Thursday, August 13), “Thelma and Louise” (Friday, August 14) and “School of Rock” (Saturday, August 15).
The lot opens at 7:45 p.m. Movies begin around 8:45. Tickets are $50 per car. Click here to reserve a spot, and for more information.
Last night, Darren Spencer and his family made their first trip to the pop-up series. He reports:
“It was a balmy evening in the parking lot with 49 other cars, but you would not have known it. Tuned in to 90.9 FM with clear audio and a brilliant screen, it made for a memorable evening.
“Thank you, Remarkable Theater, for breathing life into Westport in these uncertain and unusual times, and for turning what used to be unremarkable before the pandemic into the truly remarkable. And to Westport Town officials, I let’s ensure we turn this into a Westport institution every summer for many years to come!”
Still need a place to work? Serendipity Labs — the co-working space which opened at 55 Post Road West just a month before COVID hit — is offering complimentary day passes for the first visit. Click here to learn more.
Serendipity Labs, 55 Post Road West
Many voters in yesterday’s Democratic and Republican primaries sent ballots by mail. But those who ventured to the one polling place in town — Bedford Middle School — gave high marks to local officials.
Everyone working wore masks. They hand voters plastic gloves. They strictly enforced the 6-foot rule. And — though you couldn’t see them — they did it all with smiles.
It’s not easy voting in the midst of a pandemic, right after a treacherous storm. In Westport at least, we proved we can multi-task. On to November 3!
First, an outdoor volleyball court popped up at the old Save the Children property on Wilton Road.
Now there’s a floating water polo game in the waters off Compo Beach.
Click “Comments” if you know what’s next.
And finally … you may not recognize the name Wayne Fontana. The lead singer of the Mindbenders died last week in England, at 74. But if you’re a certain age, you probably remember his signature song:
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