Category Archives: Restaurants

Take A Bite Out Of Hunger

As Westport heads toward the holidays, many of us will dine well.

We’ll enjoy meals at fine restaurants, with friends, family and colleagues. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But it’s not such a great time for our neighbors who are hungry. So, as we eat and drink, we should also look for this logo:

“Hunger Bites” is a month-long campaign to end local hunger. Co-sponsored by Food Rescue US — a national organization (with a strong Westport presence) that moves fresh, usable food that would have been thrown away by restaurants and grocery stores to families that desperately need it — and the CTBites website, the month-long drive is a way to make a donation on your restaurant bill. It goes directly to folks in need.

With the cost of delivery just 5 cents a meal, adding just $1 to your check provides 20 meals.

National board member (and Westporter) Simon Hallgarten notes that this is far below the norm for most food non-profits. Food Rescue US is so efficient because there is no cost of storage or delivery. They crowdsource their volunteers, so there is no direct cost for pickup or delivery.

Participating restaurants in Westport include The Cottage, Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni, Match Burger Lobster, Tarry Lodge, The Whelk and Winfield Coffee & Deli.

We’ve got a lot of choices for great dining over the next few weeks. Those places should be on everyone’s list.

Townee Tees Help Billy Hess

A few months ago, “06880” reported that Billy Hess — the longtime and very popular summertime fixture at Joey’s by the Shore, and winter manager of Joey’s at the Longshore ice rink — was seriously ill with lung cancer.

Billy’s many friends and fans rallied to help. He’s still battling — and Westporters can still help.

Townee — the local t-shirt, tank top, hoodie and fleece company — has designed a special edition shirt. Proceeds help pay Billy’s medical expenses.

It’s extra-special, because it features the same logo Billy designed, and etched in the Joey’s counter years ago. If you’ve ever bought burgers, fries or lobster rolls at the beach — and who hasn’t? — you’ve seen it there.

The unisex crew-neck gray tee sells for $30. How appropriate — Billy has worked at Joey’s for 30 years.

As for the colors: Billy was part of the design process. He requested red and blue, to show his patriotism.

Remember, every summer he dresses up as Uncle Sam.

(To order a Billy Hess t-shirt, click here. To contribute to his GoFundMe page, click here.)

Billy Hess with his wife Gina and daughters.

Pic Of The Day #208

Spotted Horse restaurant. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Friday Flashback #65

Today, there are plenty of places in Westport to buy great hamburgers. From Matt Storch’s Burger Lobster in Saugatuck to Shake Shack near Southport, we’re awash in meat.

Once upon a time, there were 2 places to go: Big Top, and Chubby Lane’s.

Big Top — which drew a great lunchtime crowd ranging from lawyers to bikers — was at the corner of the Post Road and Roseville. Today it’s McDonald’s, which basically says everything you need to know about America.

Chubby’s, meanwhile, was more of a dinner place. It was located next to the New Englander Motel (now the Westport Inn). Across the street was Charpentier’s (now Border Grill), a butcher shop that was the reason Chubby’s burgers were so good. (They were also the first place in town that charged the astronomical price of $1 for one.)

I don’t have any photos of Chubby Lane’s. Long ago, it was replaced by the Willows Pediatrics Group. But its predecessor was called the Bantam. And it looked like this:

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

 

Mystic Market Ends Saugatuck Blight

For too long, the building at 60 Charles Street — most recently the Blu Parrot, before that Jasmine, and for decades the beloved Arrow restaurant — has sat empty.

The vacant building and overgrown lot have served as a shabby welcome to everyone coming into Westport off I-95 Exit 17.

Also for too long — ever since Peter’s Bridge Market closed — Saugatuck residents have lacked a moderately-priced place to pick up food.

Both issues are now solved. The building — owned by Felix Charney and Jake Grossman — has been leased to Mystic Market.

(Photo/Russell Sherman)

This will be the 4th location. Three others — 2 in Mystic, 1 in Old Saybrook — tout “gourmet quality products, at marketplace prices.”

Mystic Market will offer groceries, soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, grinders, a coffee bar, and a bakery serving breakfast goods, breads and desserts. Catering is also available.

“It’s moderately priced — sort of a contemporary Peter’s Bridge,” says Tommy Febbraio, the Coldwell Banker Commercial realtor who brokered the deal.

A spring opening is planned.

 

 

Pic Of The Day #199

Just like old (Oscar’s) times (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Photo Challenge #148

You’d think a plaque honoring all of Westport’s veterans — “living or dead” — would be located in a prominent spot. Veterans Green, probably. The VFW, perhaps.

You’d also think that because it was dedicated in 1975, plenty of people would remember where it was.

You’d be wrong.

Jack Whittle and Deej Webb were the only “06880” readers who knew where last week’s photo challenge can be found. (Click here for the image, and all comments.)

It’s not what our veterans deserve. The plaque is at the old Bertucci’s (and older: Clam Box) property, near where a memorial flagpole once stood.

There’s a reason it’s there, and it has nothing to do with clams or pizza. For several decades, a Doughboy statue once graced the median, between the restaurant and Torno Hardware.

It was relocated probably 20-25 years ago to Veterans Green (though it was not called that then). It’s certainly a more appropriate spot — across from Town Hall, next to the Westport Historical Society.

Also appropriately, I’m honored to pass along alert (and patriotic) “06880” reader Adam Vengrow’s reminder:

Veteran’s Day is Saturday, November 11. Westport’s Town Hall ceremony is always inspiring — but  lightly attended. Consider going (10:30 a.m.). School’s not in session that day, so bring the kids too. It’s a great way — besides a plaque — to honor our veterans.

Now here’s this week’s photo challenge. If you think you know where in Westport it is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Chamber Of Commerce Maps Walking Tours

Westport has long had 2 commercial centers: downtown and Saugatuck. For decades they’ve been engaged in a quiet — but definite — battle for business.

Shoppers and restaurant-goers, meanwhile, have relied on a couple of basic methods to figure out where to spend their money: ads, and word of mouth.

But now both sections of town have collaborated on a project that may help both.

A walking map of downtown and Saugatuck becomes available this week. Colorful and well-designed, it’s a way to encourage foot traffic, serendipitous discovery — and of course business.

The map is the brainchild of Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce executive director Matthew Mandell. He noticed a walking map for SoNo, and wondered why we had nothing similar.

The downtown area walking map.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association provided information and funds for the area bordered by the west bank of the river, Playhouse Square, the Post Road and Avery Place.

(Curiously, the Post Road is also labeled “State Street East.” That name has not been used since we shopped at Greenberg’s and Shilepsky’s.)

Mandell solicited Saugatuck retailers, restaurants and services himself. The other side of the map shows those establishments, in the familiar “slice” shape between Railroad Place, the river and Saugatuck Avenue.

The map will be included inside every Westport Weston Visitor’s Guide & Membership Directory. Like the maps, the new edition is hot off the presses.

Those guides are available at the Westport Library, Town Hall and other public places, along with many businesses and area hotels. Real estate agents buy them at cost, and offer them to clients.

The maps will also be distributed this Thursday (November 2) by Mandell and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe at the Marriott Marquis in New York. That’s the site of a “Fairfield 5” event. Besides Westport, officials from Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk and Fairfield will promote Fairfield County as a great place to live and work.

The Chamber of Commerce printed 3,500 Visitor’s Guides with map inserts, and another 3,000 stand-alone maps. Look for them soon.

Then start walking.

The Saugatuck walking map.

Downtown Dons Pink

On Thursday, Westport will be in the pink.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association is partnering with Pink Aid, for the town’s 1st-ever Pink Day. The event draws attention to the needs of women with breast cancer — and highlights the merchants who support that organization.

Pink ribbons were provided by Party Harty, and tied along Main Street by students in Staples and Weston High Schools’ Pink Aid Clubs.

Students tie pink ribbons along Main Street.

Several businesses — including the Cashmere Sale, Kerri Rosenthal, Devon Woodhill, Bungalow, Benefit, WEST, Amis and Bill Taibe’s restaurants — donated items to Pink Aid’s major fundraiser, held earlier this month at Mitchells of Westport.

Other merchants have held, or will hold, sales events to benefit Pink Aid. Still others gave gift cards and small items to Pink Aid’s gift bags. The complete list is below.

If you’re downtown and see pink, now you know why.

In fact, why not take a special trip there? The merchants have done their part. Now we can do ours.

A Pink Aid display at Simon Pearce.

2017 Downtown Merchants Association members supporting or donating to Pink Aid CT

  • ·         Alegre
  • ·         Athleta
  • ·         Bartaco
  • ·         Benefit Cosmetics
  • ·         Blow Dry Westport
  • ·         The Brownstone
  • ·         Bungalow
  • ·         Dovecote
  • ·         Eileen Fisher
  • ·         Green & Tonic
  • ·         HB Home
  • ·         JLRocks
  • ·         Kerri Rosenthal – The Concept Shop
  • ·         Organachs Farm to Skin
  • ·         Pure Barre Westport
  • ·         Scout & Molly’s
  • ·         Serena & Lily
  • ·         She La La
  • ·         Shoe-Inn
  • ·         Simon Pearce
  • ·         Soleile Toile
  • ·         Specs of Westport
  • ·         The Spotted Horse Tavern
  • ·         Starbucks
  • ·         Steven Mancini Salon
  • ·         Swoon
  • ·         The Granola Bar of Westport
  • ·         The Plumed Serpent
  • ·         Theory
  • ·         WEST
  • ·         Westport Country Playhouse
  • ·         White Birch Studio
  • ·         Westport Police Depasrtment

Past supporters, donors or sponsors

  • ·         Vince
  • ·         Steve Mancini Salon
  • ·         Splash of Pink
  • ·         Matt Bernson
  • ·         Leifer Properties
  • ·         L’Occitane en Provence
  • ·         Dyptique
  • ·         Cotelac
  • ·         Clypso St. Barts

Rye Ridge Opens; Westport Rejoices

Fifteen months after Oscar’s closed, there’s a deli on Main Street.

Rye Ridge is open for business. The kosher-style deli fills a void in all of downtown.

Some of Oscar’s long-time staff are back behind the counter. Many of Oscar’s regulars are back in line.

Can you say “pastrami on rye”?

A waiter cleans up — and looks at Lee Papageorge, longtime Oscar’s owner (wearing the red apron at left). The mural was a fixture of the old deli, and has been restored by the Rye Ridge owners. (All photos/Lynn U. Miller)