Category Archives: Restaurants

Friday Flashback #75

We’ve lost many handsome buildings in Westport.

Some are gone because of neglect. Others outlived their usefulness. Still more were torn down because they were in the way of something newer, different or “better.”

For years, a handsome building stood at 50 Jesup Road. It was once a private residence. Later, it became the Open Door Inn:

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

It was demolished in the 1950s. The town had outgrown its police headquarters — in the basement of what was then Town Hall. Today the building houses 2 restaurants: Jesup Hall and, below, Rothbard Ale + Larder.

If you close your eyes, you can almost imagine the cops who worked there — and prisoners in the lockup, staring through bars at the alley outside.

Photo Challenge #159

Last week’s photo challenge took “06880” readers out of Saugatuck.

All the way to Easton.

That’s where the “Arrow” sign — an iconic symbol of the much-loved Nistico family restaurant, which began at the arrow-shaped corner of Franklin Street and Saugatuck Avenue, before moving around the corner for a long run — is today.

It hangs in Greiser’s, the deli/antiques/general (and really only) store in that nearby town.

After the Arrow closed — becoming first Jasmine, then the Blu Parrot, and opening soon as Mystic Market — the sign could be found at the Red Barn, the Nisticos’ other beloved restaurant.

When that closed, Greiser’s bought it. Congratulatons, Bob Stalling: Staples grad, Fairfield resident, and the only “06880” reader who recognized it from there. (Click here for the photo, and all comments.)

Meanwhile, in honor of all this frosty weather, today’s photo challenge is:

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

If you know where in Westport you’d find this — when it’s not covered in snow — click “Comments” below.

Friday Flashback #74

Once upon a time, (nearly) everyone smoked.

And once upon a time, (nearly) every restaurant and business promoted itself by handing out personalized matches.

Check out Chip Stephens’ vintage collection:

Some of these — Westport Bank & Trust, Three Bears, Manero’s, Sakura (!) — are long-time local institutions.

Some — Beefsteak Charley’s, Tanglewoods, Leong’s Palace, Premier Market — are great mind-joggers.

But Boss Tweed’s?! That must have been here for a New York minute.

Pic Of The Day #269

36 Elm Street was demolished yesterday. The building — most recently Villa del Sol — housed many previous businesses, including for a number of years Werner’s restaurant. It’s owned by David Waldman, who will build a retail/residential complex across the street behind Lux Bond & Green, in exchange for expanded parking next to Bedford Square. (Photo/Jen Berniker)

Any ‘Port In A Storm

The forecast says snow for the next few hours.

But — fingers crossed! — there are only flurries right now. And the winds have brought only very scattered power outages. (Five customers were out at 9 a.m.; they were restored by 9:30.)

So The ‘Port — the warm, welcoming casual restaurant in National Hall, just across the river from downtown — has put out the word: They’re open all day.

“Soup is on,” say owners Sal and Melissa Augeri. “There’s complimentary hot cocoa for anyone who joins us today.”

And, they add: “PJs are welcome!”

 

“Supper & Soul” Offers Food, Drink & Music

A dog festival. Slice of Saugatuck. Tuesdays @ the Train.

You can’t say the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce just sits around exchanging business cards.

Now the organization — which takes its mandate to promote local businesses very broadly — announces its latest let’s-all-get-out-and-have-a-good-time idea.

“Supper & Soul” ties together a few of Westport’s favorite activities: eating out, concert going and drinking.

One ticket is good for a 3-course meal at one of 5 downtown restaurants; a concert at nearby Seabury Center, and a stop back at any of those same restaurants for happy hour-priced drinks. It’s all sponsored (appropriately enough) by lifestyle guru Mar Jennings.

“Supper & Soul” comes at a perfect time: the mid-winter doldrums. The first is set for Saturday evening, January 27.

Dana Fuchs

The 5 restaurants are Amis, Boca, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse and Tavern on Main.

Featured entertainer Dana Fuchs heads out soon on a European tour. But first she’ll prowl the Seabury stage, pouring her heart into the microphone like Janis Joplin (or, I’m told, Robert Plant). Many Westporters know her from the Fairfield Theater Company.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. The concert is at 8. Tickets can be bought online (click here); meal reservations are made on a first-come, first-served  basis through the chamber.

Chamber executive director Matthew Mandell calls the idea “date night in a bottle. Or just a chance to hang with friends.”

I call the idea very, very cool.

Photo Challenge #157

Last week’s photo challenged many “06880” readers. Diane Silfen was one. “I guess I spend way too much time in Saugatuck,” she wrote. “I need to get out more.”

If she does, she should head east on the Post Road. There — on the side of the building that once housed Swanky Frank’s, Woody’s and Dairy Queen, and is now the very popular Little Barn restaurant — hangs a wooden American flag.

Only Tom Ryan, Fred Cantor and Jonathan McClure knew where they’d seen it. Click here for Ed Simek’s photo, and the very few (hey, it was Christmas Eve!) comments.

Bobbie Herman took this week’s photo challenge. If you know where in Westport you can see it, click “Comments” below.

Hint: Bobbie says “it’s really decrepit.”

Remembering Jessica Shure

Jessica Shure — a Staples Players star in productions like “Guys and Dolls,” “Mame,” “The Mystery of  Edwin Drood” and “The Sound of Music” — died on Wednesday of a brain aneurysm.

The 2001 graduate is remembered by Players directors David Roth and Kerry Long for her “exceptional soprano voice, quirky sense of humor and devotion to musical theatre.” Here she is as Deirdre Peregrine/Rosa Bud in “Drood”:

As a senior, she performed a memorable spring concert solo with Alice Lipson’s choir.

She headed to Northwestern University and pursued acting after Staples, then changed careers and focused on food. She became a valued pastry chef at Bill Taibe’s Whelk and Kawa Ni. (Click here for a profile of her there.)

Jessica Shure (Photo courtesy of CTEatsOut.com)

Friends are invited to stop by the Shure house today (Saturday, December 30), from 1 to 6 p.m.

Her sister Caitlin and brother Dan suggest that contributions in her name can be made to a local animal shelter or the American Civil Liberties Union,

(Hat tip: Jim Honeycutt)

Tina’s Cousins Come To Town

A year ago, Westport said goodbye to Tina Wessel.

Over 150 people gathered in Christ & Holy Trinity Church to mourn the homeless woman who for years had limped around town. She died — alone — in a shed she frequented near the Senior Center.

Photos of Tina Wessel, from her memorial service.

A few days ago, Westport welcomed Cornelia Kunzel and Rolf Rabe. They live in Germany, and are Tina and Ludy Wessel’s first cousins. Ludy — Tina’s brother — died in 2012.

Cornelia and Rolf came to see where their cousins had lived. They wanted to meet Tina and Ludy’s friends and acquaintances; thank Human Services, and give a donation to Homes With Hope.

Cornelia Kunzel and Rolf Rabe at Christ & Holy Trinity Church, where Tina Wessel’s ashes are interred.

Accompanied by Ellen Naftalin (who helped Tina) and Larry Ritter (a close friend of Ludy’s), they traced Tina’s frequent routes through town.

They saw the shed she called home, and toured the Senior Center nearby.

They had lunch at Rye Ridge Deli — the new downtown spot that replaced Oscar’s. Late owner Lee Papageorge always fed and looked out for Tina.

They visited Christ & Holy Trinity Church, where Tina’s ashes are interred.

And they drove all around Westport. At the end of their meaningful day, they watched the sun set — crimson red — over Long Island Sound.

Cornelia, Rolf and Tina.

Saugatuck Redevelopment Schedule Set

In his twin roles as RTM member and executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, Matthew Mandell keeps his eye on the town.

He wants everyone to know what’s happening with redevelopment plans for Saugatuck — the RTM district he represents. Yesterday, he told constituents that the study committee will meet — without the consultants — this Tuesday (December 19, 8 a.m., Town Hall Room 201).

The public may attend, and will be given the option to speak. However, Mandell says, “It might take a bit to get to you. I think the committee will have a lot to talk about.”

He included a link to the Executive Summary (click here to read).

A map in the Executive Summary shows possible developments in Saugatuck.

Three days later — on December 22 — consultants will submit the draft report/plan to the town.

Mandell says, “Personally, I think this might be too quick, figuring there might be a whole slew of changes and requests from the committee. But hey, it’s a goal from the chairs.”

On January 11 (Town Hall, 8 a.m.), the committee and consultants will discuss the plan.

A public evening session is set for January 22 (7 p.m.).

The final draft will be submitted to the town on February 2. Three days later — 9 days before the deadline — it will be submitted to the state.

Mandell says there is one thing he has not seen: when the committee itself votes on the plan.

The previous redevelopment of Saugatuck brought a retail/residential complex that includes The Whelk, Saugatuck Sweets, Downunder and 20 apartments. It is separate from the new redevelopment plan.