Category Archives: Restaurants

Hot Times At Viva’s

Hot peppers and spicy margaritas are on the menu this Sunday (October 21, 1 to 5 p.m.) at Viva Zapata’s.

That’s not unusual. But the popular Mexican restaurant has added another attraction: 30% of total sales will be donated to the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

It’s Viva’s 2nd annual ALS Pepper Challenge Day. In addition to the drinks (and very hot peppers), participants can buy ALS Pepper Challenge t-shirts, hats and other gear.

Patty Haberstroh

You’ll get a chance to greet the Haberstroh family too. They started Pepper Challenge last Christmas on behalf of Patty, the well-known Westporter who is battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

In less than a year the movement has spread around the globe. Kelly Clarkson, Charles Barkley, Garth Brooks and Jimmy Kimmel are among the thousands of people taking the challenge. They’ve raised over $625,000 toward finding a cure.

Now you can help the ALS Pepper Challenge too. It’s no wonder Viva’s is known as one of Westport’s “hottest” restaurants.

(For more information, click here. For sponsorship and donation opportunities, email chuckhaberstroh@gmail.com.) 

Women Cancer Survivors: Get Pampered!

Westporters who have battled cancer are lucky to have the support of friends and family.

Now they’ve got local businesses behind them too.

Upper Deck Fitness and National Hall are sponsoring a special Women’s Wellness and Survivor Day next Saturday (October 20, 9:30 a.m.).

The event honors the strength of women who have overcome cancer, by treating them (and their friends and families) to a morning of nourishment.

Participants will enjoy a gentle outdoor workout on the Saugatuck River, followed by a communal brunch courtesy of Bartaco, OKO, Winfield Deli, Amis Trattoria, New Wave Seafood and Rye Ridge Deli.

Pampering is provided by Whip Salon, Beautycounter and the massage therapists of Upper Deck Fitness.

Lululemon, Athleta and others are contributing raffle prizes.

National Hall and Upper Deck Fitness.

Guest speakers include Maureen Lutz, who has written about surviving breast cancer and founded the non-profit Necessities Bags, and Upper Deck CEO Suzanne Vita Palazzo, who founded the Badass and Beautiful blog.

The event is free, but RSVPs are requested. Email spalazzo@upperdeckfitness.com. Questions? Call 203-309-6231.

Friday Flashback #111

Westport is blessed with some of the best Italian delis this side of Arthur Avenue.

Winfield Street Coffee & Deli took over the long-established Art’s on Post Road West — just over the bridge — and made it even more popular.

At the other end of town, Gaetano’s has a huge and devoted clientele. It’s particularly popular with Staples High students.

Sandwiched in between is Fortuna’s. It seldom gets the props of the others. But it’s anchored the small Green’s Farms plaza at the Post Road/South Turkey Hill corner for over 40 years.

They’ve got a winning formula — so much so, that almost nothing has changed since the Nixon administration.

Except — as the photo below shows — a few of the fashions.

(Postcard courtesy of Seth Schachter)

Soups (And More) On In Georgetown

Westporters of a certain age remember Soup’s On with love.

Much about the small Main Street restaurant with the big heart can’t be recaptured: its casual, homey atmosphere and before-its-time emphasis on healthful food, for example.

But more than 30 years after it closed, Soup’s On lives — in  Georgetown.

The country kitchen opened in 1978. Peter Fine — owner Sue Fine’s son — grew up in a house that was “all about food.” He watched proudly as his mother “moved heaven and earth” to serve grateful customers wonderful dishes, made with fresh, local ingredients.

Sue Fine (center) had a great relationship with her loyal employees.

Though Fine spent most of his professional life in real estate, the Soup’s On experience lingered. And because he focused on the restaurant and  hospitality sector, he always dreamed of recreating Soup’s On essence.

He tried to find a spot in Westport that would work. But when he heard the Lumberyard Pub sports bar had closed in Georgetown, he realized that neighborhood — where Weston, Wilton, Redding and Ridgefield meet — was perfect.

The result is Milestone. Since opening in late summer, it’s earned raves from diners far beyond the tiny — but funky — Georgetown neighborhood.

Peter Fine and his mother Sue, outside his new restaurant.

Fine installed a Forza Forni brick oven. Reaching 700 degrees, it produces superb, made-from-scratch pizzas and succulent fish.

There’s a great meatball dish, excellent salads, crispy chicken, skirt steak — “something for everyone,” Fine says. “Delicious, simple, without fussy flavorings.”

That made Soup’s On special too. And though he can’t recreate its magic, Fine has resurrected a couple of his mom’s recipes — exactly as they were.

He served her gazpacho. As the weather turns colder, he’s adding her onion soup and chili to the menu.

Peter Fine’s restaurant may be called Milestone. But in Georgetown — as it was in Westport — Sue Fine’s soup’s on.

Westport Pizzeria Parties Like It’s 1968

In October 1968, Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey battled it out for the presidency. Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave glove-and-fist black power salutes on the medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics. “Hey Jude” sat atop the record charts.

And on October 12, 1968 — its opening day of business — Westport Pizzeria sold a slice for 25 cents.

Joe and Mel Mioli, with a wai tress and customers in the early days.

In October 2018, we all know what happened after Nixon became president. We’ve seen how far our country’s race relations have progressed — and how much further we have to go. “Hey Jude” is still a great song.

It costs quite a bit more than a quarter to buy a slice these days. Westport Pizzeria is no longer an anchor on Main Street.

Westport Pizzera on Main Street. This photo could have been taken in 1968, or 2008.

But it hasn’t gone far — just around the corner, on Post Road East. And the special, basic-but-so-good recipe has never changed.

This Friday (October 12) the pizza place celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special deal: They’ll sell slices for 25 cents. Sodas are even cheaper: 15 cents.

In 1968, Westport Pizzeria was the only game in town. Now there’s competition everywhere, from thick-crust Planet and gourmet Tarry Lodge to train station Romanacci.

But the Mioli family — the founders and still the only owners of Westport Pizzeria — must be doing something right. A restaurant doesn’t last 50 years here on luck alone.

Some don’t even last 50 days.

Some things never change.

Willkommen, Westoberfest

For a decade, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association sponsored Blues, Views & BBQ.

This year, after the Labor Day weekend music and food festival evolved into a regional event — drawing visitors from as far as New York, but who seldom ventured beyond the Levitt Pavilion and Imperial Avenue venues — the WDMA handed it off to the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

That left a hole in the downtown group’s calendar. They wanted something new — but Main Street oriented.

Welcome, Westoberfest! It’s set for next Saturday (October 13), from 1 to 5 p.m.

Like Oktoberfests everywhere, this one features beer, food, music and more. Over 18 local and regional breweries will offer seasonal craft beers in the Elm Street parking lot. Merchants will walk around, handing out coupons and free items.

Rothbard Ale + Larder and Kawa Ni will serve special cuisines. Amber Anchor plays; kids can enjoy face painting, and the Westport Artists Collective, Historical Society, Library, Wakeman Town Farm and Earthplace will all participate too.

Also on tap: a pop-up artisan market courtesy of the Westport Farmers’ Market, and a classic car rally and exhibition through the Small Car Company of Westport.

It’s all free (except for the beer tasting). Those tickets ($35 for single, $60 for a pair, in advance online only, and a pack of 10 for $280, in advance online only) are available here.

If you think a lot goes on in Westport next weekend, you’re right. There’s also Saugatuck StoryFest at the library, Jesup Green and other sites.

This is one time no one will sing the downtown blues.

Friday Flashback #110

For an otherwise unremarkable spot on Post Road East, #1700 has a long and storied history.

Today’s it’s the site of a thriving Goodwill store.

For many years before that, it was the Peppermill — one of the first steak-and-all-you-can-eat-salad-bar restaurants in the country.

Before that, it was a different steak place. Bonanza Sirloin Pit served up meat in a quasi-fast food way. You got in line, snaked through, and picked up your meal at the end.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

Dan Blocker — “Hoss” on the great “Bonanza” TV show — made a personal appearance there once. I was in elementary school. He seemed huge. Now I know it wasn’t just because I was small

But the site has a history even before steak spot and Goodwill. Back in the day, it served as Westport’s Greyhound bus depot.

It was called the Greyhound Post House. There must have been food available inside too.

If you’ve got any memories of the bus depot or Bonanza, click “Comments” below.

Peppermill: sure, why not?

As for Goodwill: Save them for a Friday Flashback in, say, 2048.

Coffee With A Cop: A Great Stop!

There was a heavy police presence this morning at Aux Delices.

It’s all good.

Westport Police celebrated Coffee With a Cop day, at the popular downtown spot. Alert — and caffeinated — “06880” reader Jo Shields sends this photo of Officer Scott Thompson (sporting the WPD’s special pink breast cancer awareness patch), Office Mark Grasso and Westporter Ligia Brickus.

Jo reports:

Officer Thompson commented how nice it was to meet everyone who stopped by. I thought it was great to have a stop for coffee — not a traffic stop! We are so lucky to have such caring and competent members of our police force.

Conversations included officer commutes (Fairfield is lots easier than Milford!); raising 3-year old boys; little old ladies and kids being more comfortable approaching cops when they’ve got their motorcycles; finding time to sew the patches; the NY, PA, DC 9/11 Ride, and who gets to drive that pink Maserati this month!

In addition to the pink shoulder patches, Aux Delices provided pink-topped coffee cups, also for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It was a fun event, with lots of smiles all around.

That’s the ticket!

Coffee With A Cop

It’s an enduring stereotype: Cops eat donuts.

Some members of the Westport Police Department very well may. Others may not.

But our police are not caricatures. They’re great, hard-working, community-minded men and women, each with an individual story. Sometimes that gets lost in stereotypes.

Westporters can get to know a few of those individuals next Wednesday (October 3, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Aux Delices, 44 Church Lane). The WPD is participating in “Coffee With a Cop” — a national initiative to strengthen bonds between officers and local residents.

Westport Police do plenty of other community outreach: K9 and “Officer Friendly” outreach in schools and daycare centers; youth activities like Dodge-a-Cop and bowling; teen and adult Citizens’ Police Academies, and an ice cream social on Jesup Green.

Aux Delices is a perfect place for Wednesday’s casual get-together. They serve great coffee, and an extensive breakfast menu.

No donuts, though.

Of Course: Restaurant Week Returns

After a few years of meh, Westport’s dining scene has roared back.

So here’s some food for thought.

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s “Restaurant Week” starts this Sunday (September 30). Actually, it’s 2 weeks — all the way through October 14.

Throughout the event, 25 restaurants — from Saugatuck to Southport — offer prix fixe meals. They range from $15 to $25 for lunch, $25 to $40 for dinner, $15 and up for brunch.

New this year: The Naan.

This is a perfect chance to head to new spots. Then visit an older one you’ve always wanted to try.

And after that, hit up an old standby.

On October 15, you can head to the Y.

Participating restaurants:

  • 190 Main
  • Amis
  • Boathouse
  • DaPietro’s
  • Gray Goose
  • Harvest
  • Julian’s
  • Le Penguin
  • Matsu Sushi
  • Naan
  • Pane e Bene
  • Pearl
  • Positano’s
  • Rio Bravo
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Sakura
  • Spotted Horse
  • Tarantino
  • Tarry Lodge
  • Tavern on Main
  • Terrain Garden Cafe
  • Tutti”s
  • Via Sforza

For more details, click here