Tag Archives: Arrow Restaurant

Arrow Restaurant Shares In Nobel Prize

You don’t win a Nobel Prize without a great work ethic.

And for generations, teenagers learned how to work at the Arrow restaurant.

It paid off for countless local youngsters. Including Billy Kaelin.

The Fairfield youth — and his 3 brothers — all worked there as busboys.

Yesterday, Dr. William G. Kaelin Jr. was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Dr. William Kaelin, and his prize.

Kaelin — a professor at Harvard Medical School — shared science’s greatest honor with 2 others. They researched how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. The work has implications for cancer and other diseases, such as anemia, myocardial infarction and stroke.

Tommy Nistico — a member of the legendary, beloved family that owned the Saugatuck institution for years (originally on Saugatuck Avenue, then located at the current site of Mystic Market) — posted the news on Facebook.

He noted that Kaelin and his 3 brothers all attended Duke University. The younger siblings are now lawyers.

The Arrow restaurant nourished decades of hungry Westporters. Along the way, it also fed the hunger of a young boy to work hard, and make his mark on the world.

Kaelin will receive his Nobel Prize in December, in Stockholm.

Too bad the Arrow is no longer around to cater the event.

(Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

Mystic Market Meets The Community

I love writing stories that welcome new businesses to Westport.

They’re often about the owners: their backgrounds, what got them here, the challenges they’ve faced — that sort of thing.

I don’t usually profile store managers.

But I also don’t usually find a manager with a back story like Dave Griswold’s.

The man who runs Mystic Market — Saugatuck’s new kitchen/eatery that’s earning raves in the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow space — grew up in a military family. He went to 10 schools, before graduating from a fine arts academy.

Then he trained in ballet, and did a conservator with the American Ballet Theatre. He danced with Alice Cooper, and at Madison Square Garden for the New York Liberty.

David Griswold: ballet dancer …

After that, came … the US Army.

Griswold was a diesel mechanic in Afghanistan and Kuwait. He was also in charge of morale-building, getting soldiers out of their barracks to mix and mingle. During the service he finished his degree in business management.

… and service member.

All of those experiences — arts, problem solving, team building — serve him well as he helps develop Westport’s next favorite spot.

Griswold moved to Saugatuck last March, as Mystic Market prepared its new space. He commuted to their Old Saybrook store for months. Finally — with the local store open — he can enjoy his new home town.

One of the things he likes best is the “thriving arts culture.” He wants Mystic Market to be part of it too.

They’re donating to the Artists Collective of Westport‘s May 4 studio tour. He bought 5 tickets for his team to the April 27 “Gatsby Return” party at Longshore’s Pearl restaurant.

David Griswold (center) and his Mystic Market team.

Mystic Market’s leadership team will also be out in force on Earth Day, cleaning up the neighborhood.

“We all want to be part of the community,” Griswold says. “We want to be hands-on, giving back just as much as we want people to discover us, and be here for us.”

He also wants Mystic Market to be “the first great job for teenagers.” There’s nothing better, he says, than for students to learn the values of work, in an open, inviting space like his.

Griswold doesn’t know it, but his store’s ancestor — the Arrow restaurant — did exactly that, for generations of long-ago kids.

The iconic spot in the heart of Saugatuck pulses with new, 21st-century life. Westporters — old and young, natives and newcomers alike — should be thrilled.

 

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.

Friday Flashback #107

Word on the street — Charles Street — is that Mystic Market opens next month.

Some folks will describe it as the old Blu Parrot spot. Others — with longer memories — will say it’s where Jasmine was.

But real old-timers know it — and will never forget — the site as the beloved Arrow restaurant.

For a couple of decades — after its move from the nearby Saugatuck Avenue/Franklin Street location that gave it its name — the Arrow defined the neighborhood.

And made its mark on all of Westport.

Here’s a look back, at the way we all were.

Owner Frank Nistico

Owner Tom Nistico, back in the day.

Lou Nistico, son of the founders of the Arrow.

FRIDAY FLASHBACK FUN FOLLOW-UP: Last week’s Friday Flashback featured a 1946 photo of Marie Corridon on the Longshore high diving board. 

It was a great shot (click here to see). Now comes word — via alert “06880” reader Chris Corridon — that Maria was not your casual, Sunday diver.

Turns out her family lived in Norwalk, and were members of Longshore. She learned to swim at the then-private club — and went on to win a gold medal at the 1948 Olympics in London!

Marie was the lead swimmer for the champion, Olympic record-setting US team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

She is a member of the swimming Hall of Fame. Her 7 children all participated in Division I athletics. The girls all swam, and are active Masters swimming record holders. One — Sheila Stolarski — is a Weston resident. Several of her grandchildren swim competitively too, in high school and college.

Who knew? Thankfully, Chris Corridon does!

Friday Flashback #101

The other day, I mentioned how few photos I’ve seen of Saugatuck before I-95 was built. I’ve always had a tough time visualizing what that neighborhood looked like before bulldozers, concrete and pillars.

Alert — and historic-minded — “06880” reader Neil Brickley rode to the rescue. He’s a Staples High School classmate of mine, with an equal fascination for the Westport a few years before our parents arrived.

The photo Neil sent is fascinating. It’s a stupendous aerial view of Saugatuck from 1951 — about 4 years before construction began.

I noticed a few things.

The Arrow Restaurant (most recently Blu Parrot) was not yet built on Charles Street.

Greens Farms Road met South Compo quite a bit further south than it does today.

Most significantly, the area west of Saugatuck Avenue — where land was taken to build the Exit 17 interchange — was much more wooded than I imagined.

Click on or hover over the image above. Explore. Then click “Comments,” to share what you see.

Neil also sent this bonus aerial view: The same area, taken in 1965.

A lot changed in just 14 years.

Which makes me wonder what the Saugatuck of today will look like in 2032.

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.

 

 

Remembering Dino Nebel

Dino Nebel — the football-playing Staples High School Class of 1978 graduate, who entertained dozens of former employees at the now-legendary Arrow Restaurant reunion in 2012 — died recently. He was 56.

Dino came from a long Westport family. His grandfather — the famous sculptor Berthold Nebel — worked out of a barn he built on Roseville Road. His grandmother tended a beautiful garden there.

Dino worked for several years at the Arrow, starting around age 15. He had plenty of tales to tell of his time there — and he told them boisterously, as shown in these video clips:

 

The Arrow is long gone. So now is Dino.

But thanks to YouTube, both will live on forever.

(Hat tip: Zoe Kassis)

Bright Vs. Blight

For years, the Weston Road/Easton Road/North Main Street rotary near Exit 42 — the unofficial “Welcome to Westport” landmark for everyone coming off the Merritt Parkway — was maintained, as a public service, by Daybreak Nursery.

But when financial problems caused the nearby business to close, the triangular plot grew grungy.

Now — suddenly — the space looks gorgeous.

(Photo/Russ Miller)

(Photo/Russ Miller)

I don’t think it was a state Department of Transportation project. But huge props to whoever got it done.

Meanwhile — across town — another “Welcome to Westport” site looks decidedly less welcoming.

(Photo/Joanne Romano)

(Photo/Joanne Romano)

Just one more reason to avoid I-95, and take the Merritt.

Following The Arrow

Longtime lovers of the Arrow — for decades, Saugatuck’s favorite restaurant/gathering spot/clubhouse — will find this photo immeasurably sad.

So will devotees of the Blu Parrot, the much shorter-lived, but also greatly admired, live music/bar/restaurant.

Arrow Restaurant for sale

As Saugatuck undergoes a renaissance — Phase II opened officially last week, adding more retail and residential space to the current mix of excellent restaurants, popular bars, walkable streets and new river activities — there must be a way to repurpose this great space.

Click “Comments” for suggestions. Use real, full names, please!

Blu Parrot Grounded? (With Update At End Of Story)

Double Down — a self-described “funky rock & roll” group — was all set to play at the Blu Parrot this Saturday (May 4). The 1st show was scheduled for 9 p.m.

But an email sent at 5:30 this afternoon to fans says:

Ha … Double Down has seen a lot in our time but this is a first …

Unfortunately our show on Saturday has been canceled due to the venue going out of business.  Very sad that they couldn’t have closed next weekend!

Oh well … wish those guys the best and we’ll see you all soon.

Have a great weekend … Rock on!

I just called the Blu Parrot — the restaurant/music venue that opened last October in the building previously owned by Jasmine. (And — for decades before that — the Arrow Restaurant.)

A recorded announcement thanked me for calling the  Blu Parrot, “the fun place for dining, dancing and good music.” It described tonight’s band — but said to call back “after 11 a.m.” for reservations or more information.

It was 6:20 p.m. when I called.

Uh oh…

(UPDATE:  An email sent at 11:55 a.m. today — Wednesday, May 1 — says: 

To all of our Friends, customers and muscians  who have supported us here at The Blu Parrot: we will be closing our doors as of 5/1/13. There are parties that are interested in buying the business and we can only hope that they will continue to bring the best in live music to the Westport area.

Thank you for all of your support and making this such a great place.

blu parrot