Category Archives: Saugatuck

UPDATE: Make It Monday For Mystic Market

Earlier this afternoon, “06880” reported that Mystic Market’s final walk-through was scheduled for next Tuesday. The long-awaited Saugatuck store would open the next day.

But that final town approval was all that remained. Owners were ready. The staff was champing at the bit.

Town officials had first said they’d do that walk-through this week. Then they put it off until Tuesday.

Now it’s back on for this week. So, Mystic Market says, it looks like they’ll open at 10 a.m. Monday.

Just a bit of Westport — and Mystic — magic.

Mystic Market takes over the former Blu Parrot, Jasmine and Arrow property.

Mystic Market Opens Wednesday

When the Blu Parrot closed in 2013, Saugatuck lost a great venue for live music.

For more than 4 years, the Charles Street property — the gateway to Westport off I-95 Exit 17, and for decades the site of the beloved Arrow restaurant — sat vacant. Weeds grew near boarded-up windows.

Then Mystic Market announced they’d move in. Area residents — many of whom still mourn the loss of Peter’s Bridge Market — rejoiced. Those who knew of Mystic’s 3 other locations in eastern Connecticut were particularly pleased.

Mystic Market, on Charles Street.

Mystic Market touts “gourmet quality products, at marketplace prices.” They offer groceries, soups, salads, wraps, sandwiches, grinders, a coffee bar, and a bakery serving breakfast goods, breads and desserts. Catering is also available.

That was November 2017. “A spring opening is planned,” “06880” cheerily reported.

Spring 2018 came and went. So did summer, fall and most of winter. Spring 2019 is exactly 28 days away.*

But good things are worth waiting for. Owner Charles Spathakis says they’ve passed their health inspection. They should get their certificate of occupancy on Tuesday. They’re shooting to open the next day.

Final work is being done now. The interior looks great. The state-of-the-art kitchen gleams. Staff is being trained.

The Saugatuck arrow definitely points in the right direction.

* Hallelujah!

Biscotti are ready for sale.

Progress Report: The Old Bertucci’s Site

Last August 1, I reported that work was proceeding s-l-o-w-l-y  — yes, that was the technical term I used — at the former Bertucci’s property, on the Post Road near the Sherwood Island connector.

Now it’s exactly 6 months later. It’s still not finished. But the end is in sight.

Ignazio’s Pizza will — as noted previously — occupy part of the former Bertucci’s floor. This will be the 2nd location for the thin-crust restaurant. The original is in DUMBO — it is literally down underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.

An art and design firm will take up another part of that floor. That leaves about 2,100 square feet still available — which is why the “Building For Lease/Space Available” signs has Westporters wondering if Ignazio’s was just pie in the sky.

The view from the parking lot.

Not to worry. Steve Straus — of Fred Straus Inc., the Yonkers-based family real investment company — says that exterior work is done. When Ignazio’s finishes their interior work, they’ll open.

And, Straus says, there are “very good prospects” for the remaining first floor space.

Upstairs, there’s another 2,840 square feet of office space to rent.

Straus is proud of his company’s new landscaping, sidewalk, rain garden, facade, parking lot and lighting on the spot that many Westporters will long remember as Bertucci’s. (Older generations recall Tanglewoods. Real old-timers know it as the Clam Box.)

Straus says that the redevelopment of the property coincides with the construction of the office/retail/residential complex across the street, at the Post Road/Long Lots junction. He believes it will create a “village” environment in that part of town.

As for what’s going on clear across town, in the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow property by the train station parking lot: Mystic Market announced they were moving in — back in November 2017.

When they’ll actually open is anyone’s guess.

Remembering Charlene Girden

You may not know the name Charlene Margot Girden.

But you probably knew her.

She befriended everyone she met: the hair salon staff and its patrons, restaurant owners, dry cleaners, merchants — you name it.

Charlene grew up in East Norwalk, but her roots in Westport were strong and deep.

Her grandmother lived on Compo Beach. Charlene spent her childhood there with families like the Lanes and Cunninghams.

Her father, Norman Tobin, founded Saugatuck Grain and Supply in 1911, and owned nearly the entire block of Railroad Place. She learned at a young age how to collect rents, talk to tenants and be a good landlord.

She also set up deliveries — and delivered oil — with and for her father.

Charlene Girden

Norman died in 1992. Sophie — his wife of 62 years — took over the reins. When she died 12 years later, Charlene became president and CEO of Saugatuck Grain, Hanes Realty and several other companies.

Some of her favorite spots were Vincent Palumbo Salon, Mitchell’s, Party Hardy, Westport Hardware, Stiles Market, Final Touch Cleaners, Posh, Tutti’s, Tarantino’s and Pane e Bene. Like “Cheers,” at all those places everyone knew her name.

She supported many charities, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Actors Fund and the Metropolitan Golf Association Caddy Scholarship. (She learned to play at Longshore in the late 1940s, and was an avid golfer for the rest of her life. She also loved tennis.)

Charlene died last week, at 83. As word spread, her children were flooded with phone calls, emails, texts and notes about her. Everyone, it seemed, had a story.

Charlene was predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Eugene Girden. She is survived by her daughter Lisa Girden-Barkan, her son Steve Girden, and her grandchildren Lindsay Girden, Alex Girden and Emelie Wittenberg.

Contributions in her name can be made to the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

Photo Challenge #212

Maybe it’s because relatively few Westporters wait for trains on the eastbound platform.

Maybe it’s because after eating at Donut Crazy, you’re on such a sugar high you can’t sit down.

Whatever the reason, only 2 readers knew that last week’s Photo Challenge — Seth Schachter’s shot showing the word “Welcome” — was actually a bench for riders taking Metro-North toward New Haven. (Click here for photo.)

Lynn Untermeyer Miller and Andrew Colabella were the 2 eagle-eyed — or perhaps travel-weary — eagle-eyed readers. Their responses were quite “welcome.”

So how about this week’s Photo Challenge? If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Elaine Marino)

Friday Flashback #124

Saugatuck Shores has been in the news recently.

A new bridge turned out nicely. New guardrails nearby did not.

For months, a boat has been beached just off Harbor Road.

And whenever there’s an astronomical high tide or just a bigger-than-usual weather event, the area floods.

Saugatuck Shores is one of Westport’s most coveted neighborhoods — with real estate prices to match.

That status has come recently. For decades it was a just funky, quirky beachside community.

And — as this 1963 aerial photo shows — there was plenty of room to build.

Pic Of The Day #633

The Cribari Bridge, from the Saugatuck Rowing Club (Photo/Ward French)

Pic Of The Day #627

Saugatuck firehouse (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

Separated At Birth — And By 4 Billion Miles?

“06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.”

After this week’s news from NASA —  and thinking about our own Saugatuck hair salon — we might change it to “Where Westport meets the Kuiper Belt.”

(Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

Pic Of The Day #625

Spectacular Saugatuck. For a mounted print, email VidelerPhotography@gmail.com (Photo/John Videler)