Category Archives: Restaurants

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)

Pic Of The Day #187

Behind the Black Duck: a duck (Photo/Mark Ritter)

Zoe Brown Has A Job. Or 7.

Zoe Brown loved Staples High School.

Before graduating in 2015 she served as editor-in-chief of the school paper Inklings, and president of the Teen Awareness Group. She was on Student Assembly, in Student Ambassadors, and played field hockey.

She learned a lot about herself. She made friends who, she says, “have made me a better person.”

The University of Southern California was her dream school. She loved the journalism program, the “Trojan Family” spirit, the beautiful campus, the weather, football games, party scene, and the fact that it was different than any place she’d ever lived.

When she got there though, Zoe realized there were 2 things she did not love: its size, and how far it was from her home and family.

She felt she could not get as involved as she’d been at Staples. She lost her confidence and her passion. And, she says, “I lost myself.”

Zoe Brown

For those reasons — and issues involving mental health — she needed to take a step “to the left.” (That’s the name of her blog post by the same name. Click here for her very honest insights.)

In early August, Zoe chose to take care of herself and her body, by spending the upcoming semester at home.

But she knew she had to stay active. Which is how she now has 7 jobs.

You read that right. Zoe is working at 7 jobs.

First, she was hired as a hostess at Pearl at Longshore.

She then joined Two Oh Three — the zip code-named lifestyle brand — as a communications intern.

Zoe picked up some babysitting and tutoring work too.

Then she became a seasonal worker for Challah Connection, the kosher gift company.

Zoe Brown, at Challah Connection.

She also started helping jewelry designers Allison Daniel and Devon Woodhill.

That’s not all. Zoe is starting a greeting card/poster business with her best friend from Staples, Olivia Crosby — a graphic design student at the University of Connecticut.

Once Zoe finishes her USC classes from last semester, she’ll start tutoring with Freudingman & Billings.

No wonder her business cards say simply: “Zoe Brown — A li’l bit of everything.”

Each job is different. Pearl and babysitting are the most tiring. Pearl and Two Oh Three are the most fun.

But every job involves people. Zoe loves everyone she works with — everywhere –and has learned a lot from all.

She thinks she’s learned the most overall from being a hostess: about people and communication, especially.

Zoe plans to return to USC, and graduate in December 2019. Then — why not? — she’ll head to massage therapy school.

She’d like to work on a yacht or cruise ship, traveling for free before going back to Los Angeles to become a personal assistant to a producer, or work for a production company.

At the same time, she hopes to complete her own screenplays. She’s started one already.

Which means Zoe Brown is actually working 8 jobs right now.

I guess she’s too busy to count them all right.

 

Lee Lives!

The death of Lee Papageorge more than a year ago left a hole in the heart of downtown.

He’d closed Oscar’s — the deli he owned for more than 40 years — just a week earlier.

The end of Oscar’s meant more than the loss of a place with great pastrami and pickles. There was now no place on Main Street for a meal with friends — a spot where regulars always sat at the same table, and everyone (or at least the counter guys) knew your name.

Rye Ridge — the popular Stamford and Rye Brook kosher-style deli — signed a lease. It’s taken many months to renovate the site. But the good news is: They’re opening in a couple of weeks.

Rye Ridge renovations are nearly done.

The better news is: Some of Oscar’s old employees may be back.

And here’s the icing on the cake lox on the bagel: The owner of the new deli arranged with the Papageorge family to hang the iconic Oscar’s mural in the same spot it had been since 1982.

The Oscar’s mural — back at Rye Ridge Deli. (Photos/David Waldman)

Many regulars depicted on the wall are gone. So of course is Lee — the guy with the beard and red apron, all the way on the left.

Now he’s back, standing proudly with his friends and customers.

Rye Ridge’s reverence for the past is important. Here’s wishing them a run as long and successful as Oscar’s — and Lee’s.

Friday Flashback #59

Last week’s Friday Flashback featured the Tally Ho restaurant. Located near the intersection of the Post Road and Main Street, the popular American restaurant closed shortly after the 1950 photo was taken (click here to see).

In its place came West Lake: Westport’s 1st Chinese restaurant. At the time, that cuisine was considered exotic.

Last week’s photo showed the Saugatuck River lapping against the back of Tally Ho.

A few years later, the river was filled in. Parker Harding Plaza — quickly dubbed the Harder Parking lot — was created.

Here’s the rear entrance to West Lake. The brick building to the right housed the Westport Library (today, it’s Freshii and Starbucks).

As for the 3-story Main Street building whose back we see in this image: It’s still there.

But it’s hidden by new construction.

 

Pic Of The Day #160

Rothbard Ale + Larder Oktoberfest. (Photo/Joyce Joiner)

Friday Flashback #58

Last week’s Friday Flashback featured an intriguing aerial photo of downtown Westport, circa 1955.

That was right before the Saugatuck River was filled in, creating Parker Harder Plaza.

At the time of that photo — and ever since there businesses on Main Street — the river lapped up against their back doors.

Just like this:

(Photo/Peter Barlow)

Peter Barlow’s 1947 photo shows the Tally Ho restaurant. It was located — according to this 1950 matchbook — at the corner of State Street (now the Post Road) and Main Street.

That’s probably the site of the noted 1960s-’70s restaurant, West Lake. In modern terms, it’s next to the stark concrete plaza directly opposite Anthropologie (Bedford Square).

The not-to-scale map calls Main Street “Route 57.” Apparently, that’s its official name.

If you’ve got any memories of the Tally Ho — what kind of food it served, the type of customers, what it meant to be a “cocktail lounge” back in the day — click “Comments” below.