Category Archives: Restaurants

Arrivederci, Da Pietro’s

Westport says goodbye to another wonderful restaurant. Thank you, for all you’ve done for all of us!

Here’s the sad news:

To our faithful followers and devoted customers:

It is with much forethought and a significant measure of sadness that we write to inform you all that effective today, Da Pietro’s will cease operations. The impact of COVID-19 has made it impossible for us to continue service without a robust takeout demand. As such, our run has come to an end.

For over 30 years Da Pietro’s has had the tremendous pleasure and honor of serving each and every one of you. Throughout these years we have had boundless joy in doing so. Not only have we made lifelong friendships as a result of our precious jewel, but we have raised our children in a loving and supportive environment because of it. We are eternally grateful for it all.

It has been an honor to have been a part of so many of your birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding and Valentine’s Day celebrations, and more. The memories we’ve all shared will be with us forever.

Da Pietro’s (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

As our son Tomaso heads off to college, and our daughter Lucia enters 11th grade at Staples High School, we look forward to a bright future with our children. We will continue to enjoy our time spent both in Westport, and with our family in Ischia.

We purchased our building that housed Da Pietro’s years ago. It is now up for sale. We look forward to passing it on to someone who will cherish all that it has to offer as much as we did. It is a perfect location for many types of businesses that seek a charming building and an ideal location in the heart of Westport.

Our restaurant’s success over the years would simply not have been possible without the devotion, work ethic, and expertise of our amazing staff, past and present! We owe them all a tremendous debt of gratitude. We will never forget their loyalty, they are all forever a part of our family.

Please know as we say goodbye from Da Pietro’s, we look to our future with so much joy, adventure, optimism and endless gratitude. Let the good times roll for us all!

With love and heartfelt thanks,

Pietro and Janine Scotti
Da Pietro’s Restaurant 

Roundup: Smart Switch; Water Tanks; Panera Bread; More


Chris Scherban is quite bright. He was Staples High School’s 2017 salutatorian; he’s now at Georgia Tech. He’s a veteran of many Westport Maker Faires.

He and 2 friends have just launched a smart home startup, called Theory. With it, anyone — including numbskulls — can make any light switch (indoors or out) smart. Chris’ switch goes on top of existing one — no tools needed. It works via an app, and an adhesive strip.

Theory can be controlled through iOS, Android, Alexa, Google Assistant, even his new website. 

Now they just have to bring it to market.

A few minutes ago, they launched a Kickstarter campaign. The goal is $45,000. To help, click here.

Chris Scherban


Site work has begun on the North Avenue water tanks. A row of old trees has been taken down, offering a few of the decades-old tank that few have ever seen.

As part of the agreement with neighbors, Aquarion will eventually provide extensive landscape restoration.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


When the Westport Panera location looked closed — and any mention of it vanished from their website — Bitsy Higgins reached out to their “customer care” team.

This morning, they emailed her:

Thanks for your patience the West port location will reopen on 7/7/2020. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Have a great day!”

That’s tomorrow. And the news will ensure that many Westporters (or “West porters”) have a great day.

The Panera Bread near the Southport line.


Westport was awash in red, white and blue this holiday weekend.

There was this too, at a home near downtown: a reminder of another color that is an important part of the fabric of America. (Hat tip: Hannah Spencer)


And finally … 22 years ago today — July 6, 1998 — Roy Rogers died of heart failure. He was 86 years old.

 

Pics Of The Day #1174

Happy 4th of July! Here’s the scene at 18 Bulkley Avenue South. Monica Ryan and her family decorated their front door this way — and added plenty of bunting, pinwheels in the yard, flags in the driveway, and sparkling lights at night.

(Photo/Gina Ryan)

Last year, historian Bob Weingarten wrote a story for Greens Farms Magazine, about flags in town.

Three caught my eye. May they continue to wave proudly!

Artists Walter and Naiad Einsel designed Uncle Sam and Miss Liberty, flanking the Stars and Stripes.

Little Barn, on the Post Road.

A replica of Betsy Ross’ original flag, flying on Greens Farms Road.

Decorations by Rebecca and Diane Yormark:

Roundup: Yarn Bombing; Coffee Roasting; Black Duck; More


Everyone loves the Yarn Bomber. Now you can learn her secrets.

No, not who she is. Even better: how she does it.

The Yarn Bomber is bringing her talents — decorating trees and street signs in beautiful, uplifting colors — to the masses. She’s created a virtual knitting course, and anyone can join.

For just $50 you get needles, starter yarn, 5 days of instruction (1 hour a day), knitting videos, online tutorials, and a live public socially distanced yarn bomb at a scheduled date. All supplies can be picked up will at Westport Yarns.

The Yarn Bomber can also accommodate custom group sessions for groups (minimum of 6 participants).

Email yarnbalmer@gmail.com for more information.

Yarn bombing at Compo Beach (Photo/Judy Auber Jahnel)


There are plenty of places to buy coffee in Saugtuck, from Dunkin’ to Donut Crazy.

There may soon be one more.

A sign next to Tutti’s — in the storefront occupied briefly by a kombucha bar — advertises ILSE Coffee. It’s the work of 2013 Staples High School graduate Lucas Smith, and Rebecca Grossman.

They started a Kickstarter campaign. Their goal is to open a “dream cafe and marketplace.” The roastery/market will include specialty coffee, pastries, sandwiches, small plates and to-go food, along with wine, beer, cocktails and retail items. They hope to host coffee cuppings, seminars and workshops too.

The goal is $10,000. The deadline is August 1.

As of yesterday though, the Kickstarter drive was $9,999 short.

Lucas Smith, in the Saugatuck space.


Speaking of Saugatuck — here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for:

The Black Duck is back open!

Just in time for summer, all’s right with the world.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


Uncertain weather today forced a postponement of the Supper & Soul Drive-in/Tailgate Concert. The event — featuring the Tom Petty Project — is now set for Sunday (July 5, 6 p.m.).

Tickets for tonight’s show can be used on the new date. If you can’t make the new date, contact the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (matthew@westportwestonchamber.com). There’s a wait list for the sold-out show.

During the show, anyone with comments or concerns should call 203-851-2771.

The Chamber and Westport Library will also hold a streaming concert next Sunday (July 11). Part of Supper & Soul, it features the ’80s hair band Mullett. Tickets are $10.80. Click here for details.


In these challenging times, support groups are more important than ever.

But physical distancing and other rules make it challenging for organizations to offer that support.

Positive Directions — the Westport-based prevention and counseling agency — can help. They offer free, weekly virtual support groups for people trying to achieve healthy lifestyles, after battling substance abuse addiction.

There are special sessions too for family members, and young adults. Click here for details.


Kami Evans — who as “Kami’s Kloud” provided tons of Westport information on social media platforms — will move back here with her family in August. She’s been in England since 2018.

Her newest project is working on a global social media campaign, incorporating local artists. Her first video stars Westport’s own Rosie Jon. Born without arms, she paints (beautifully) with her toes.

Rosie’s current project — #WeAreOne — is “so poignant right now,” Kami says.

Click below for Rosie’s video. Click here for links to all of Kami’s platforms.


Westporters Chris and Amy Overman were ready to start a family. Yet at 38, Amy struggled with infertility. For 6 years, the couple tried many treatments.

After 13 failed cycles — including IUI, IVF and stem treatments — Amy read a chapter in her infertility book that many people skip: egg donation.

It’s expensive. But the Overmans received an egg donation. They’re now the proud parents of a son, Ryder.

Two years later, Amy paid it forward. She gave $10,000 to the Norwalk-based Nest Egg Foundation — and called it the  Ryder Grant. Now, someone else can benefit from an egg donation.

The Foundation’s application window for the 2020 fertility grant program runs through July 31. Connecticut and New York residents are eligible.

For more information, including grant application eligibility criteria and how to become a donor, click here


And finally … a fitting tribute to the late John Prine.

Westport Marketplace: The Town At Your Fingertips

What’s open? What’s closed? What’s different? What’s going on?

Everyone wants to know. Now we can.

A herculean collaboration between Our Town Crier, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Town of Westport has resulted in a comprehensive, almost-beyond-comprehension website covering every conceivable business, service and organization here.

Welcome to the Westport Marketplace.

Screenshot from Westport Marketplace

The “Virtual Yellow Pages” directory is filled with links and up-to-date information for just about every business and service in Westport. There’s contact information, operating hours,, safety precautions and more.

Users can search by name, relevance, distance, even popularity.

Major categories unfold with dozens of sub-categories.

Besides retail, restaurants, automotives, realty, markets and pharmacies, there are sections on home services (landscaping, builders, interior design, organizers …), medical (acupuncture, specialists, therapists …), banks (accounting, financial advisors, tax help …), personal services (hair, dry cleaners, physical therapy, tanning …), children’s services (sports and music lessons …) and more.

The project could not have happened without 72 interns, says Our Town Crier founder Betsy Pollak.

“The first group drove around town, literally going to each doorstep. They hand-surveyed the entire town. The next group got it onto the website, and took care of social media.”

The Chamber helped keep the restaurant list accurate. The WDMA did the same with retail. Selectwomen Jennifer Tooker and Melissa Kane funneled new information to Pollak and her crew. Local artist/super-volunteer Miggs Burroughs created the Westport Marketplace logo.

“We have incredible young people in Westport. I feel like I should be working for them,” she says.

This is the site we’ve all been waiting for. And need.

Click here to access (and bookmark) the Westport Marketplace. Then go to town!

(Questions? Email info@thewestportmarketplace.com. To update or add a business, or offer feedback, click here.)

Roundup: Le Penguin; Bears; Racial Inequality; Mullett; More


This sad announcement was posted to social media yesterday:

“It is with enormous sadness that we must announce the closing of Le Penguin in Westport.

“We hope you have enjoyed our food, our staff, our style and our sense of humor. We, Anshu & Antoine, are very proud of what we created. We are very proud of the relationships we have made, of the numerous smiles of gratitude we received from satisfied customers. We thank you for sharing your lives with us. In the meantime, come see us at Le Penguin in Greenwich and Le Fat Poodle in Old Greenwich.” (Hat tip: Johanna Rossi)


There were several bear sightings yesterday, in the northern part of Westport. A bear cub and large young male bear were observed, acting normally.

According to the Westport Police Deparment, black bears are increasingly common in Connecticut. They note: “Bears have an incredible sense of smell.  To prevent luring them towards your property, secure your garbage in sturdy covered containers in a garage or outbuilding.

“Residents who compost should do so responsibly. Do not throw meat scraps or greasy, oily or sweet materials in your compost pile. Clean greasy grills after each use, refrain from leaving pet food outdoors, and remove bird feeders from your property for the summer. Keep your eye on pets and small children playing outside.

“Use caution and do not approach the bear. The mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. If left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas. For more information on bears, click here.

In 2013, Cablevision News 12 aired this shot of a black bear in Westport.


If you’re like me, you would love a Long Island Sound sunset cruise. But you don’t own a boat.

No problem!

A generous Wakeman Town Farm supporter is offering a private excursion, as a fundraiser in these tough non-profit times.

The winner will enjoy “libations and lobster rolls” on a “luxe 43-foot Intrepid.”

Silent bidding is today only; it ends at midnight. The minimum bid is $350. Click here (or email wakemantownfarm@gmail.com). Include your name — and good luck!


JoyRide is a full-service spin studio.

Today (Tuesday, June 30, 5 p.m.), they host the first installment of their speaker series on racial inequality. It’s called “Teachers Raise Your Hands.”

Guests are Alli Frank and Asha Youmans, authors of Tiny Imperfections. The Black woman from Seattle and white woman from rural Washington use their stories from in and out of the classroom to encourage us all to actively seek out difference, and find our inner teacher.

Click here to register — and to ask questions of the authors.

Asha Youmans and Alli Frank.


Hey, Mullett fans!

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Library are teaming up for the next Supper & Soul event (Saturday, July 11, 8 p.m.).

It’s a livestream concert with ’80s tribute band Mullet. They specialize in classic Van Halen, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Journey and Poison songs — and look the part.

“What a perfect opportunity to have some friends over for an 80’s hair metal party,” says Chamber director Matthew Mandell.

“This socially distant version of the popular Supper & Soul event supports local restaurants while giving everyone an entertaining evening.”

“Attendees” are encouraged to order takeout from local restaurants, and eat home for the show.

To find out more and to order tickets (just $10.80!) for Stay Home & Soul, click here.

Mullett


The deadline to renew railroad station parking permits is exxtended to July 15. Renewals can be done 4 ways: click here, by mail (50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880) or at the box outside Police Department headquarters.

People on the wait list are required to update their information annually. Use the link above.

For more information, click here. Questions? Call 203-341-6052.

Railroad station parking has not looked like this for a while.


And finally … The groundbreaking 1937 song “Strange Fruit” compares the victims of lynchings to the fruit of trees. It’s been recorded by artists ranging from Nina Simone and UB40 to Sioxsie and the Banshees, but Billie Holiday’s is perhaps the most famous.

Though her label, Columbia, refused to record it — fearful of the reaction of Southern record store owners and its own radio network, CBS — they allowed her to release it on the Commodore jazz label. It sold a million copies — more than any other Billie Holiday song.

However, the song helped cause her demise. It enraged the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who used his men to frame her. Click here for details about the song, and what it meant to her and her career.

Pic Of The Day #1167

Arezzo was (socially distanced) rocking on Thursday night (Photo/Sarathi Roy)

Roundup: Staples Choral Concert; Da Pietro’s; BleachMaker; More


School’s out for summer. But you can listen today — and any (or every) day to Staples High’s Spring Virtual Choral Concert.

Masterminded by the great director Luke Rosenberg, with video work from student Tomaso Scotti, the wonderful event included solo performances, a choral work from each ensemble, and senior updates.

Click below for the full performance:

Click below for the choral performances only:


Among the restaurants that have recently reopened: Da Pietro’s.

The small spot on Riverside Avenue has a new “casual menu,” for takeout or delivery. Click here for details.

Owner/chef Pietro Scotti of DaPietro’s


Westporter Brandon Wilson was just a week into Peace Corps training in Costa Rica in March, when COVID-19 forced all volunteers to evacuate.

Back here and uncertain about next steps, he began working for a Louisville-based company. Waterstep was right up his alley: They empower citizens in developing nations to take care of their long-term water needs.

The key is a sanitizing BleachMaker. The portable device produces 1 gallon of powerful disinfectant in an hour using only water, salt and a 12V/DC power source for on-site.

During the pandemic it’s being used in the US too, in homeless shelters, food banks, prisons, jails, hair salons and other places that need bleach.

Money from domestic sales is used to donate BleachMakers in places like Kenya, where it’s disinfecting hospitals. It’s also a way for people to create microbusinesses.

“Instead of paying multinational corporations for bleach, money stays in local communities,” Brandon notes. He encourages “06880” readers to explore Waterstep further; just click here.


And finally … 50 years ago, the Temptations sang about a ball of confusion. Still, that’s what the world is today.

Now Cooking: Food For Behind The Lines

Among the many casualties of COVID-19, some of the first — and 3 months later, still hardest hit — were food service workers.

Tens of thousands of Connecticut chefs, cooks, servers, dishwashers, bartenders and others in the area were instantly out of work. Though unemployment, stimulus checks and food stamps have helped, thousands are not receiving any benefits.

Cruelly, men and women who spent their lives putting food on our table are now food insecure themselves.

A grassroots initiative — Food for the Front Lines — did a spectacular job supporting both the state restaurant industry, and healthcare workers on the front lines.

In just 8 weeks, the group — started by Westporter Nicole Straight — raised $130,000. They paid 40 Connecticut restaurants to deliver over 10,000 meals to hospitals and first responder units throughout Fairfield County.

State Senator Will Haskell (3rd from left) helped prepare food boxes, after a recent drive at Aitoro Appliance.

As the crisis evolved, the group did too. Food For the Front Lines is now “Food for Behind the Lines.” They’re working with local chefs to identify and support people in the industry in need. They conduct food drives, then distribute boxes of donated and purchased food to their families.

Chefs also help by purchasing food at reduced rates from their distributors.

Food For Behind the Lines has already hosted 3 food drives, and distributed 500 food pantry boxes to unemployed food workers.

Driving forces behind the group include 4 Westporters: CTBites founder and editor Stephanie Webster; Terrain Café and Amis Trattoria executive chef Jes Bengtson, and Food Rescue US volunteers Ria Rueda and Allison Sherman.

Besides food collections, Food For Behind the Lines seeks donations. $25 feeds a family of 4 for a week.

Now there’s a great way to give — and get something food-related in return.

Popular food website CTBites — founded and edited by Westporter Stephanie Webster — has published a “Connecticut Chefs Recipes for Restaurant Relief” online cookbook. It features 100 recipes from popular chefs throughout the Nutmeg State.

The e-cookbook costs $25. 100% of the proceeds benefit Food For Behind the Lines. (Click here to order.)

How’s that for a great tip?!

Roundup: Art For Auction; The Future Of The Arts; Tavern On Main; Trader Joe’s; More


Olivia Macior graduated from Staples High School last June. For weeks, she waited for things to get back to normal. Now — in the wake of George Floyd’s murder — she wants something different: a “new normal.”

It’s “a normal where people of color don’t have to fear the very people who should be protecting them; where education is equitable; where the criminal justice system is fair and lawful, and racial injustice does not plague every aspect of our lives.”

Inspired by the words of Angela Davis — “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — she is using her considerable art talents to help.

Her powerful work is up for auction on Facebook, through June 21. 100% of the winning bid will go to Black Lives Matter. Click here; then message her with your bid, via Facebook or at ohmacior@gmail.com.


Not everyone agreed with yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Westport. This graffiti was seen this morning at the boarded-up Tiffany store:

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)


Westporters in the know know: No one beats the Y’s Men for hosting insightful, thought-provoking speakers. Thursday’s — their first via Zoom — was typical: informative, wide-ranging, both global and local.

Andrew Wilk — executive producer and director of “Live From Lincoln Center” — moderated a discussion on the future of the Westport Country Playhouse, and arts in general, in the wake of COVID-19.

Panelists included Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos, general manager Michael Barker and actor Jake Robards.

The 30-minute chat ranged from the many issues impacting the Playhouse reopening — like safety, audience response and finances — to the importance of live performances. Click below to view:


As restaurants around Westport reopen, at least one will not.

An online auction is underway for many items at Tavern on Main: food service equipment, outdoor patio sets, decor and smallware.

It’s the end of the last sit-down, full-service restaurant on the main part of Main Street. It had a long run — and so did its predecessor, Chez Pierre.

No word yet on what — if anything — will replace it.


Nearly a dozen retailers are helping Home with Hope collect liquid dish detergent, all-purpose cleaners, soap, paper towels, sponges and sanitizing wipes. All donations go to families living in the organization’s supportive housing.

Hours are 10 a.m. 2 p.m. for all collections. There’s a box outside Restore Hyper Wellness (877 Post Road East) every day.

Other stores, with collection days:

  • Thursdays: ASF Sporting Goods (1560 Post Road East); UPS (606 Post Road East)
  • Fridays: West (117 Post Road East); Blow Dry (76 Church Lane)
  • Saturdays: Verizon (379 Post Road East); Fleet Feet (10 Sconset Square)
  • Sundays: The Granola Bar (275 Post Road East)
  • Mondays: Greenwich Medical Spa (645 Post Road East.)
  • Tuesdays: New England Hemp Farm (136 Main Street)
  • Wednesdays: Green + Tonic (17 Jesup Road)

Questions? Email westport@restore.com


How’s this for a way to treat the frontline workers we have been hailing as heroes?

Trader Joe’s had a picnic table at the back of their parking lot. It was a nice place for employees — sorry, “crew members” — to eat, or take a break.

The other night, it was stolen. (Hat tip: David Meth)


Eighth graders missed their “moving up” ceremony this year. But — thanks to the Bedford and Coleytown Middle School PTAs  — the 400-plus graduates are having their day in the sun.

Now, as you see these signs throughout Westport, you know who to thank.


Speaking of graduates, Margo Amgott writes:

“We’ve seen all the great signs celebrating Staples seniors. But there are others who are sheltering in Westport. We’ve long been weekenders, and after COVID now here we are!

“Could we do a shout-out to those transplanted seniors? The lovely people at Baker Graphics helped me make these for our daughter.” (The other sign — not shown — congratulates Molly for her acceptance at Trinity College.)

Great idea, Margo! Here’s too all Class of 202 grads! Wherever you went — and wherever you’re going — out town salutes you.


And speaking yet again of graduates …

St. Paul Christian School celebrated the end of the year with a drive-through closing celebration. Children received a diploma, yearbook and blessing from their teachers.


Tomorrow (Sunday, July 7, 5  p.m., Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport), a number of Westport congregations are participating in an “Interfaith Prayer for Racial Justice & Healing.” Masks are mandatory, and social distancing is enforced.


And finally … it’s hard to believe I haven’t posted this yet. I guess I was waiting for the exact right time.