Tag Archives: Breno Donatti

Winfield Coffee Cruises The Coast

Winfield Street Coffee is a fixture on Post Road West. There are other shops in Stamford and Croton, New York; a delivery service in Wilton, and 4 more set to open this summer in Rye and Manhattan.

But that’s just part of the plan. Owner Breno Donatti wants to expand Winfield’s horizons even more — along with his charitable mission of helping people in need.

A truck — coffee-colored, with “Espresso Yo’self” painted on the back — will soon hit the streets.

Almost ready to hit the road.

Serving coffee, espresso (natch), nitro on tap, bagel sandwiches and pastries, the mobile unit will introduce the brand into new neighborhoods — and states.

It will also expand Winfield’s Giving Back program. Instead of delivering pre-made meals to shelters, they’ll be made fresh, to order. The goal is audacious: 21,000 meals, in 2021.

Breno’s family is in Naples, Florida. There’s a lot of requests for New York bagels and (good) coffee in southwest Florida. So the truck will spend June at Park Shore Plaza. Then it will cruise up the East Coast.

Where exactly?

Breno wants to know. If you’re a landlord and want the truck in your parking lot — or if you’d like it to come to your neighborhood — email bdonatti@winfieldcoffee.com.

Roundup: Compo Beach Bench, Walter Mondale, COVID Uptick …

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Last month, Martin Crouse’s memorial bench disappeared from the peninsula near Ned Dimes Marina.

“06880” posted the heart-wrenching story. Less than 48 hours later, Westport Police located it.

Westporters celebrated. Soon, we can all celebrate even more.

Martin’s wife Laurie reports that the bench is at the Parks & Recreation maintenance facility, awaiting a more secure installation.

“Debbie Detmer (Parks & Rec administrative assistant) has been amazing,” Laurie reports.

Yesterday, the women met at the site. Debbie brought signage (photo below), attached to a stake. So soon — when a crew delivers the bench back to the beach —  they’ll know exactly where it goes.

And from then on, it’s not going anywhere.

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Walter Mondale led quite a life. His death yesterday, at 93, resonated deeply with Andy Meyers.

In 1979, the Staples High School senior took part in a Washington internship program created and administered by social studies teacher Dave Harrison. Meyers worked with Vice President Walter Mondale.

He continued his association long after Mondale left the Carter administration. This morning Meyers — now living in Wilton — said, “He should be an inspiration to all of us to dedicate our lives to making the world a better place for humans to live together.”


Andy Meyers (left) and another staffer in Berlin, New Hampshire in the summer of 1983, in the very early days of preparing for the New Hampshire primary. Walter Mondale went on to win the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, but lost badly to incumbent Ronald Reagan.

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A Westport native, Staples High graduate and mother of students currently in the Westport schools writes this open letter to town officials:

“I am very very concerned about the uptick in coronavirus cases.

“I have spoken to at least 7 families in the last week that had COVID over the last 2-3 weeks. I have no doubt that with the amount of people who traveled last week and shared photos of all the places they were visiting (and not everyone was fully vaccinated), that we will have a big spike over the next 2 weeks.

“I am concerned about kids playing sports over the next 2 weeks as well.

“The families that caught it have very similar symptoms: fever, weakness, chills, cough for over 2 weeks. It needs to be emphasized by everyone in Westport that we will have another super-spreader again if we continue not adhering to the guidelines, and everyone starts going back to normal. We are not on the other side of this virus yet.

“I encourage you and the town leadership to send emails daily about this rise in cases, and emphasize that people need to get tested and quarantine.”

“Masked COVID Portrait” (Dereje Tarrant, age 14)

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Got excess prescription pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers or sedatives lying around the house? Maybe some vape pens?

This Saturday (April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the Westport Police Department invites will collect them, at the Senior Center (21 Imperial Avenue). It’s part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

It’s free anonymous — no questions asked.

The collection site cannot accept liquids, needs or sharps — only pills or patches. Click here for the disposal of vape pens. For more information, click here.

There’s a year-round collection bin at Westport police headquarters. Prescription drugs can be disposed of at any time there.

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The Westport Library’s Verso Studios will host 2 film camps for teens this summer. Documentary Filmmaking will be led by documentary filmmaker Mick Davie (National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History, Channel, CNN, NBC), while TV News Reporting is run by former ABC News journalist Jay Schadler.

The 5-week Filmmaking program runs June 21 through July 22. It includes 3 two-hour virtual workshops each week, 1-on-1 virtual sessions with Mick, and additional instruction on editing and technical issues with experts in film and television.

It is limited to 24 students, working in teams of 3 or 4. Their finished products — short documentary films — will be available on the Library’s YouTube channel.

finished product will be a short documentary film that will be uploaded to the Library’s YouTube channel.

The 4-week TV News Reporting camp (also limited to 24 students) runs July 12 to August 5. With virtual and live classes, it culminates in a newscast with video stories found, developed, shot and edited by participants.

For more information and to register, click here.

Part of the Westport Library’s Verso Studios.

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Attention all restaurant owners! Winfield Street Coffee owner Breno Donatti sends along news that the Small Business Administration is administering $28.6 billion in pandemic funds to small restaurants, caterers, food trucks and others hit hard by the pandemic.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a streamlined process. Click here for details.

Small restaurants like Winfield Street Coffee are eligible for federal COVID relief funds.

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New York Adventure Club is headed to the ‘burbs.

A special webinar this Thursday (April 22, 5:30 p.m.) brings viewers — from anywhere in the world — to Westport. The topic F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s summer here.

Robert Steven Williams — director of “Gatsby in Connecticut,” one of the New Yorker’s best films of 2020 — will talk about the author’s background; an overview of Westport in the 1920s (Prohibition was not always prohibitive), and the town’s influence on The Great Gatsby. He’ll share video clips too, and never-before-seen photos of Westport and New York from the ’20s.

Williams hosts a Q-and-A afterward too. Click here for tickets. (They include access to the full replay for one week.) (Hat tip: Dennis Jackson)

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Today’s wildlife shot: a pair of eagles at Sherwood Island State Park …

(Photo/Debra Kandrak)

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And finally … because today is 4/20:

 

Winfield Street Deli: Despite Downturn, Donating Back

When COVID hit, it wasn’t just the coffee-and-lunch crowd that cratered at Winfield Street Deli.

They lost nearly all their catering contracts too. Breakfast and lunch deliveries to nearby offices had accounted for 30% of the popular Post Road West shop’s revenue.

Owner Breno Donatti made a quick decision. He closed completely, and helped employees get unemployment.

On May 15, Winfield Street reopened. “I couldn’t stay shut forever,” Breno says. “A lot of the staff wanted to get back to work. People were starting to come out from their homes.”

Breno devised a new catering menu. Breakfast boxes came individually wrapped; lunches of wraps, rolls, bowls and salads were separate too.

“People were trickling back to the office. They wanted to be safe,” the owner recalls. “Communal meals, with everyone grabbing something, no longer works.”

Winfield Delimobile

At the same time Winfield Street was struggling to stay in businesses, they were giving back. Realizing that people in shelters had less access to good food than ever — donations were down, and helping organizations were themselves hurting — Breno made some calls.

“Our staff was ready to work. And thanks to our wholesalers, we had access to great prices,” he say.

For every customer check of $20 or more, Winfield Street donates one meal.

By the end of December, the deli had provided 6,000 meals to Pacific House, Domus Kids and Inspirica.

Breno Donatti

Breno is not letting up. His goal for 2021: 21,000 meals. Sparked by a generous donation from former gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski and his wife Amy, he’s well on his way.

Meanwhile, both retail and catering are picking up. For all of last quarter, business was down 40 percent compared to the year before. Last month, that was cut to just 15%.

The other day, the Coleytown Middle School PTA raved about Winfield’s catering for a teacher appreciation event. They delivered 55 breakfasts and 88 lunches.

“Any excuse to make people happy is important,” Breno says. “We need positive stories.”

And Winfield Street is at the top of any list.

(To donate meals through Winfield Deli to area shelters, click here. Special offer: For every 200 meals you provide, you get a $100 Winfield gift card.)

Sunday Funday Brunch Crunch

It’s the perfect Sunday.

First you do a tough boot camp workout.

Then you have a refueling brunch.

Finally, you cap it off with a relaxing 15-minute mini-facial.

Breno Donatti — the community-minded owner of Winfield Street Italian Deli — has organized a “Brunch Crunch” for this coming Sunday (February 11).

You start at Upper Deck Fitness, next to the ‘Port restaurant. There are 2 time slots — 9 and 9:45 a.m. – to work out in a strength-based group class (all levels welcome).

Happy — and hungry — you’ll be ready for an amazing spread of food across the street, courtesy of Winfield Street Deli. They’ll debut a new brunch and coffee menu. Participants can select anything from the revamped menu.

Stop 2 of a 3-stop Sunday fun day.

The event finishes with that much-needed facial at Organachs beauty boutique, right next to Winfield

It’s $30 a person for the workout and brunch — first come, first served. To register, email info@upperdeckfitness.com, or call 203-329-6231.

It’s another $15 for the mini-facial. Pre-registration is required — email info@organachsfarmtoskin.com.

Just tell ’em Breno sent you.

Pasta Place Goes; Pizza Bar Comes

Pasta lovers said grazie when Grana Pastificio opened in a corner of Winfield Street Coffee, across from the train station.

In a rapidly changing town, the old-world, fresh pasta place seemed a throwback to Saugatuck’s Italian roots.

After only a year, the Grana guys moved out.

There’s a good reason: They now serve 15 restaurants, and make 250 pounds of pasta a day. They needed a bigger facility. (You can still order online, and pick up your order at Winfield’s coffee shop.)

The space will not be empty for long. The new tenant should also be welcomed by old Saugatuck hands — as well as anyone else who loves good Italian food.

Graziano and Maurizio Ricci — owners of 2 Romanacci Pizza Bar restaurants (in Norwalk and Trumbull), and 2 Osteria Romanas (Norwalk and Monroe) — have wanted to open a Westport location for years.

This new spot will be a Romanacci. It will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the morning, a “breakfast pizza” will complement Winfield’s coffee.

The brothers are finalizing their permits now. They hope to be ready around Labor Day.

Winfield owner Breno Donatti says, “They’re cool guys. They know what they’re doing. I’m happy to share the space with them.”

Commuters, Saugatuck residents, and all the rest of us should be happy he’s sharing the space too.

Flowers Pop Up By Railroad Tracks

Last Friday, “06880” readers were lamenting the loss of Daybreak’s greenhouse — and the many back-in-the-day flower shows that made Westport look (and smell) wonderful.

We’ve still got some great florists here.

Now — just in time for Easter — there’s one more spot to buy gorgeous arrangements.

But you better hurry. It’s a pop-up shop.

Owner Breno Donatti has added Rowayton-based Stems + Co flowers to his Winfield Street Coffee, across from the train station.

Stems + Co. flowers, at Winfield Street Coffee.

Bouquets are available for $35. You get a free cup of coffee too.

They’re there only through April 24, though.

Then they disappear. Like Brigadoon.

Or Daybreak.

Deli Owner Tries To Solve Pickle

The state Department of Transportation calls the Post Road/Riverside Avenue/Wilton Road intersection one of the most dangerous in Connecticut.

Everyone in Westport agrees. But every day, Breno Donatti gets a first-hand view of exactly how horrible it is.

In just the few weeks since he took over Art’s Delicatessen, the owner of what is now Winfield Street Italian Deli watches pedestrians run for their lives as they cross the street.

He gets plenty of lunch and catering orders from the Wright Street building and the offices on Wilton Road. His employees are terrified to deliver, though. At least twice, they’ve nearly been hit by cars.

The Winfield Street Deli on Post Road West.

The Winfield Street Deli on Post Road West.

It cuts both ways. “People who work across the street don’t feel like risking their lives to get coffee here,” Breno says.

And customers parking in front of Winfield Deli are beeped at constantly, as they back into a space.

This morning, Breno emailed First Selectman Jim Marpe. He asked for a simple “Yield to Pedestrians” sign, or maybe a pedestrian button on the traffic light.

What happened next made him realize that — despite the Post Road hassles — he opened his store in a great town.

Within minutes, Kirsten Carr from the selectman’s office wrote back. She said that although the streets are state property, she would forward his concerns to the town’s traffic control officer.

And just a few minutes after that, 2 police officers — Ashley Del Vecchio and Al D’Amura — strolled in.

They told Breno that they’d already called state officials, to plead for more signs or a renovation of the intersection. And they assured him they’ll do everything in their power to help the state make the area safer for pedestrians.

“They were so courteous, gracious and responsive,” Breno says. “Wonderful people!”

Breno Donatti (right) and Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

Breno Donatti (right) and Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce.

The intersection won’t improve instantly. But plenty of people are working on it.

Including the concerned — and now pleased — owner of Winfield Deli.