Tag Archives: Cafe Manolo

Spotted Horse Trots Into Town

“Everyone thinks we’re opening another Grey Goose here,” says Kevin McHugh. “We’re not. It’s the Spotted Horse.”

The new restaurant in the old Federal-style Sherwood House on Church Lane across from the Y will be “a step above” McHugh’s Southport cafe, the Staples grad says.

The Spotted Horse's new fence and gas lamps, looking east with Christ & Holy Trinity Church in the background.

As workers installed gas lamps today — and put the finishing touches on a handsome, low white fence — Kevin gave a quick tour of the interior.

He pointed with pride to Colonial elements that remain in place or have been restored, as well as the exposed rustic beams.

But a great horseshoe-shaped bar is taking shape too. Hey, it’s the Spotted Horse, right?

People say they feel a “2012 version of Tavern on Main” vibe. It will be “rustic, with a contemporary equestrian theme,” Kevin says.

It will also have — at least at the start — the imprint of Pedro Garzon. The former owner of Manolo — almost next door — will open the restaurant as a consultant.

And the Spotted Horse will have a Continental menu, with no dish over $22.95.

The opening is scheduled for mid-March.

Exposed beams and restored elements highlight the restaurant's interior.

Cafe Manolo To Close

 Cafe Manolo owners and staff are sending this sad email today to customers and friends. I’ll print it verbatim — adding only that I wish I had been wrong.

In May 2009, the great blogger Dan Woog said it best:

In the best of times it takes self-confidence, steel nerves and big bucks to open a restaurant in Westport. These are not the best of times.

Nonetheless, workers are busy transforming the recently vacated Zest into Cafe Manolo. Manolo’s website calls it “a dream created by experience and memories.”

Let’s hope our pocketbooks and palate are where Manolo’s owners think they are. Let’s hope our usual aversion to parking more than 10 steps from a restaurant’s door doesn’t doom this new place. And let’s thank Manolo for rushing in where many other restaurateurs would not dare tread.

With all that said, we regretfully have to announce that we will be closing our doors for good as of Saturday, January 7. Please do come out and enjoy Manolo’s cuisine and hospitality one last time. We will have a limited menu the upcoming 2 nights, and space will be tight, but we will try our best to accommodate each and every one.

We will miss all of our loyal customers who have helped us stay in business as long as we did. Please do keep in touch with the Manolo team by finding us on Facebook under Manolo Restaurant.

Thank you for this great journey. It’s definitely been a great one to remember.

Lots of love,

Pedro Garzon and the Manolo staff

What a classy way to close.

And very, very sad.

It’s a sobering way to start the new year. And a scary one to contemplate, as we drive down Church Lane and watch construction of a new restaurant and retail complex.

Will this one work? Or will it be one more story of the same old, same old?

Time will tell — but in the meantime: thank you, Manolo, for bringing grace and good dining downtown.

Manolo Is Not A Takeout Restaurant

Westport’s selectmen have plenty to do.  In addition to setting budgets, ensuring public safety and deciding where dogs can poop, our top 3 elected officials act as the town’s Traffic Authority.

This doesn’t need an emergency meeting — the sign’s been around since the Herb Baldwin days, probably — but at some point our selectmen might reconsider 15-minute parking on Church Lane.

I’m sure Cafe Manolo is not pleased that diners worry about tickets even before the menus arrive.

Across the street at the YMCA it takes 15 minutes just to climb the stairs to the locker room, change, then make your way back down to the pool.

The parking restriction might have worked when Manolo was a bank vault, and the Y was a firehouse.

But the streets of Westport are no longer filled with Packards, flivvers and horses.

Meet Manolo

In the best of times it takes self-confidence, steel nerves and big bucks to open a restaurant in Westport.

These are not the best of times.

Nonetheless, workers are busy transforming the recently vacated Zest into Cafe Manolo.  After more than a century as a bank basement, the space — underneath Patagonia, across from the Y — opens in June as a 2nd consecutive eatery.

Manolo’s website calls it “a dream created by experience and memories.” Chef Pedro Garzon — formerly with the Barcelona restaurant group  — has a background in both Europe and Barbados.

Manolo promises “traditional Mediterranean fare and presentation.”

Let’s hope our pocketbooks and palate are where Manolo’s owners think they are.

Let’s hope our usual aversion to parking more than 10 steps from a restaurant’s door doesn’t doom this new place.

And let’s thank Manolo for rushing in where many other restaurateurs would not dare tread.

Cafe Manolo