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.
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.
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!
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.
(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.
Surging Saugatuck gets another big boost this Wednesday.
The Blu Parrot flings open its doors. Westport’s newest restaurant — on the site of the old Jasmine, and the older Arrow — offers an inspired menu, and equally intriguing live music.
It’s a big space, and the owners have big plans.
But it’s also the perfect space: the corner of Charles Street and Saugatuck Avenue, easy to get to and near many other new (and old) cool places in that part of town.
The owners are hardly newbies. Adam Lubarsky and Steven Alward are Staples grads (Class of 1973) and old friends. In 1978 — age 23 — they opened the Georgetown Saloon. For 26 years they offered good food, honest prices, and music so kick-ass that Keith Richards was a regular.
Now — back in their home town — Adam says, “We want to elevate the bar.”
Steve’s menu features dishes like oyster po’boys, Bubbe’s brisket sandwich, Moroccan lamb kebabs, bool kogi, and shrimp & grits.
Proud owners Steve Alward (left) and Adam Lubarsky.
But it’s the stage that will make the Blu Parrot special. A “piano man” plays from 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursday. From 9 p.m. on (Wednesdays through Saturdays) and 6:30-9:30 Sundays, there’s great music. Jazz, rock, country, Brazilian — it’s the Georgetown Saloon, with a Westport twist.
Sunday brunch features gospel. That’s a Saugatuck first.
Speaking of Saugatuck: For decades, the Arrow restaurant was an icon of that tight, close-knit community.
The Blu Parrot will — in its own way — help define the spirit of the new Saugatuck.
Somewhere up above, Lou and Frank Nistico are smiling.
Two years ago, someone started an “Arrow Restaurant” page on Facebook. It was a place for fans of the famed Saugatuck eatery to gather virtually, and share very real memories of the food and folks they loved so long and so well.
Lou Nistico, son of the founders of the Arrow.
Tom Nistico — grandson of the founders — still does not know who created the page. But he loves it.
He’s even more excited about an event it spawned.
On Saturday, August 18 (6 p.m.), there’s an Arrow reunion. It’s open to all former employees and customers — anyone, really. It promises to be one of the highlights of the year.
It’s at the Red Barn, naturally — the restaurant Tom and his family saved and restored in 1983. The Wilton Road location is gorgeous — but on August 11, all eyes will be a few miles south.
The original location. The restaurant got its name from the “arrow” shape of the Saugatuck Avenue/Franklin Street intersection.
The original Arrow — started in 1932 — was located on the corner of Saugatuck Avenue and Franklin Street (there’s a Chinese takeout place there now).
The 2nd site — remembered by most Westporters — was around the corner on Charles Street. When the Arrow closed in 1991, Jasmine took over the site. Soon it will reopen as the Blu Parrot, featuring live music.
That’s a welcome addition to the revitalized Saugatuck community. But the old Arrow was old school — just like the neighborhood it served. The rest of Westport came along for the ride.
The longtime location on Charles Street.
The Facebook page brings the old Arrow back to life. “It’s amazing to see what it still means to everyone,” Tom Nistico marvels.
“I wish I had a video of a weekend night, so I could see again all the families and customers pouring through the doors. If you lived in Fairfield County, you probably became part of the fabric of the Arrow.”
Tom reels off the names of families that were customers for generations: Gargiulo, Cantor, Nevas, Sawch, Kaelin, Romano, Santella, Palizzio, Buccieri, Pascarelli, Massiello, Strauss, Caiati, Carbone, Luczkowski, McMahon, Spinola, Backus.
Many will be back for the reunion. “People are coming from everywhere,” Tom says proudly. “Eddie Gargiulo from Atlanta, and his brother Steve from Florida. Eddie and Sara Fuchs from Dallas. Billy Murphy from Boston. Cal Neff delayed his return to Thailand to be there.”
Tom Nistico, back in the day.
Corrado Nebel — son of longtime employee Dino, and a recording singer and guitarist — will perform.
As the music plays, dinner is eaten and drinks downed, the stories will flow. Former cooks, waiters, busboys, dishwashers — and the many customers who loved them — will trade tales of the Nistico family’s legendary generosity to (it seemed) every kid in town.
They’ll talk about 4th of July parties, and recall the countless celebrities (including most of the New York Giants) and regular Westporters who enjoyed good times and great meals.
Like sausage and peppers. Chicken picatta, francaise and cacciatore. Lasagna with baked egg. “Tommy toss.” Pork chops with cherry peppers. Clams casino. Eggplant parm. Fried mozzarella. Meatballs…
(In typical Arrow fashion, the August 18 reunion is a steal for good food and good times. The $45 cost includes a full meal — appetizers, dinner, dessert, tax and tip. There’s also a cash bar. Call the Red Barn at 203-222-9549, or email Tom Nistico at email@example.com for a reservation.)
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