Tag Archives: Cobb’s Mill Inn

Photo Challenge #369

No, Cobb’s Mill Inn has not moved to Sherwood Mill Pond.

That might not be a bad idea — it’s one place as picturesque as the longtime Weston restaurant/event space. From 1934 through 2016, diners enjoyed a waterfall, wildlife, and the ever-changing seasons at the former pond-side sawmill and gristmill.

A “Cobb’s Mill” sign now hangs in Westport. It was the subject of last week’s Photo Challenge.

Eagle-eyed “06880” readers — and, obviously, avid nature lovers/walkers — John Richers, Molly Alger, Alfred Herman, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Harry Brady, John Moran and Judy Katz all knew it can be found on the side of Clark Hanford’s house.

He lives in the far corner of the Old Mill Beach parking lot. His house is the funky one on the left — with a tiny electric car in the yard — as you head to Sherwood Mill Pond, and the pedestrian bridges leading to Compo Cove.

I’m not sure how the historic Weston sign ended up in Westport. But it’s fitting that it sits a few yards from another “old mill,” delighting all who pass while reminding us too of both our agricultural and gustatory pasts. (Click here to see Cathy Malkin’s photo.)

Here’s this week’s challenge. If you know where in Westport it is, click “Comments” below.

Hint: It does not come from Weston.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Cobb’s Mill Officially On The Market

For months, everyone has assumed Cobb’s Mill Inn was for sale.

But it just appeared — finally — as a listing today.

Cobb’s Mill — the  only real dining spot in Weston, and for decades the go-to wedding/anniversary/memorial spot, thanks in equal measure to its rustic charm and ducks — is quite a property.

Cobbs Mill waterfall

The listing notes:

Historic Inn for sale in beautiful Weston CT right along the Saugatuck River. Breathtaking Waterfall views, voted best romantic scenery in CT, 5 minutes from the Merritt Parkway, recently remodeled, 150 dedicated parking spaces, complete with both a restaurant and a banquet facility that accommodates up to 225 guests, a waterfall bar & tap room & several rooms overlooking the lake.

It seems the “inn” is getting more attention than the restaurant. In fact, the heading reads: “Historical Inn & Banquet Hall Steps From Downtown.”

The “property type” description is “Hotel & Motel.”

And the photo shows off the cafe, rather than the restaurant.

Cobbs Mill listing

Weston is abuzz with rumors as to what might go in there.

The listing price is $2,295,000. Click here for details — or to make an offer.

Cobb’s Mill Closed

Drew Friedman died Saturday.

Barely 48 hours later, Cobb’s Mill Inn — the Weston restaurant he owned — was closed.

The Weston Forum reports that someone locked the doors at 3 p.m.

That’s bad news for fans of Weston’s only full-service restaurant.

It’s even worse news for at least one bride-to-be, who already put down a hefty deposit. She was told Cobb’s Mill would reopen “in a week after the funeral.”

She is not sure she can take that to the bank.

Services for Friedman — a founder of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association and longtime local commercial landowner — will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday (March 3) at Weston’s St. Francis of Assisi Church. Burial will follow at 4 p.m. at Beth Israel cemetery in Norwalk.

Drew Friedman and his wife Laura Papallo Friedman, at Cobb's Mill Inn. (Photo/Patricia Gay)

Drew Friedman and his wife Laura Papallo Friedman, at Cobb’s Mill Inn. (Photo/Patricia Gay)

Remembering Drew Friedman

Drew Friedman — a longtime downtown landowner who, as a founder of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, and landlord of restaurants like Onion Alley, Bobby Q’s and Acqua gave locally owned businesses space on Main Street, and influenced the entire downtown area — has died. He was 86.

There was a moment of silence this morning at “Weston Speak Up,” an annual affair in that town. Friedman was a presence in Weston as the owner of Cobb’s Mill Inn. He bought the iconic restaurant — with ducks and a waterfall — in 2011.

Drew Friedman and his wife Laura Papallo Friedman, at Cobb's Mill Inn. (Photo/Patricia Gay)

Drew Friedman and his wife Laura Papallo Friedman, at Cobb’s Mill Inn. (Photo/Patricia Gay)

Freidman sold his Bobby Q’s building in November 2014, for $9.2 million. He owned it for 31 years, renting to tenants like Onion Alley, Shoe Inn and the “Born to Explore” TV show.

His downtown holdings once included the original Westport Public Library building on the Post Road between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza (now Starbucks and Freshii). He also owned Post Road property beyond downtown.

Friedman owned other commercial property in Westport too. Last May, he bought the 10-acre Stonehenge property in Ridgefield for $1,990,000.

Friedman’s wife Bobbi — a noted painter, sculptor and dancer — died in 2011. After her death, he married Laura Papallo.


A Bridge Too Near

Westporters might have read recent “06880” posts about the possible reconstruction of the Route 57 bridge near Cobb’s Mill, and not cared. It won’t happen for several years. Besides, it’s Weston.

Well, this news strikes closer to home.

There’s a good possibility the North Avenue bridge over the Merritt Parkway will also need work. Patching, waterproofing, possible full deck repair — all are on tap for the 72-year-old art deco span.

The North Avenue Merritt Parkway bridge.

Because it’s not over water, there are fewer environmental issues — so it will probably come up for work sooner than Route 57.

North Avenue is a major Westport thoroughfare, carrying 2300 vehicles a day. More importantly, it’s an important accessway to 4 schools: Staples, 2 middle schools and Coleytown El.

Construction could take 8 months. Detours would last for 4 of them.

Westporters will have to find another way to get to school.

And Cobb’s Mill.

Cobb’s Mill: Part 3

Saturday’s post on the possible closure of the Route 57 bridge — a main gateway to the newly reopened Cobb’s Mill Inn — did not cause the stir I thought it might.

Maybe Weston’s telegraph operator was off for the weekend.

Here are a few more details, from an engineer who appears to know something:

“Bridge No. 01023” (to use its official state number) has been placed on a list of bridges needing rehabilitation. A study report is being prepared, and engineers are performing a hydraulic analysis.

Construction would start in 5 to 8 years. Many bureaucratic steps remain between today and 2017 (or 2020). Two major ones are funding and priorities.

The engineer stresses that there is no safety concern with the bridge. Routine inspections have identified, however, that it is showing its age. It was built around 1933.

The engineer — thinking ahead — hopes residents will weigh in on the choice between detouring traffic (for an expedited construction schedule) or maintaining traffic (and taking a long time to construct a new bridge).

Route 57 has no viable detour. It is an important route to Georgetown, and a major conduit to Weston center.

In the meantime, the road — and the bridge — to Cobb’s Mill Inn are open. Use them!

Cobb’s Mill, Part 2: The Bridge

Yesterday, “06880” celebrated the reopening of Cobb’s Mill Inn (well, “La Roue Elayne at Cobb’s Mill Inn.”)

Many readers were pleased.

One, however, was particularly alert. Far in the background of the photo —

— he noticed the arch bridge on Route 57. It’s hurting, he says, and must be replaced.

He should know. He’s an engineer.

He predicted a choice: Shut down the road for 4 months and replace the bridge all at once, or maintain some traffic and let the project drag on for 2 years.

Either way, people will be inconvenienced.

And the newly reopened Cobb’s Mill — or whatever it’s called — will be affected.

(For a story on a very similar, tiny bridge — and why these projects take so long — click here.)

Cobb’s Mill Comes Back

It takes a little while for news to filter south, from 06883 to “06880.”

But let waterfall-lovers and wedding-goers everywhere know: Cobb’s Mill is back in business.

Weston’s favorite only full-fledged eatery — a working mill since before the Revolution, and a restaurant/inn since 1936 — closed in 2010. The property tax bill was over $130,000, and the food was forgettable.

A classic Cobb’s Mill scene.

Now — with the economy gaining strength, and restaurants sprouting in nearby 06880 like dandelions — Cobb’s Mill has joined the parade.

New owners Elayne Cassara and Drew Friedman have renamed it “La Roue Elayne at Cobb’s Mill Inn.” (“Roue” is French for “wheel.”  Get it?)

That’s a mouthful, but it’s probably better than “La Roue Drew” etc.

I stole this shot from La Roue Elayne at Cobb’s Mill Inn’s Facebook page. I assume this is Elayne.

The iconic waterfall remains, of course. But the interior has been renovated.

So has the menu.

Despite the new name — and one dish called “moules and frites” — the menu is not French. Head chef Michael Achille offers up beef quesadilla, stone hearth-baked pizza, Rhode Island clams, broccoli rabe and sausage, lobster mac and cheese, Alaskan codfish filet and bacon-wrapped filet of tenderloin.

Plus, there’s music.

“Where’s Jimmy?” — described on Cobb’s Mill’s Facebook page as “Fairfield County’s favorite Rock n Roll quintet” — rocks the restaurant tomorrow (Saturday, May 26) at 9 p.m. Upcoming acts include Old School (a great rock band I actually have heard of, on June 1), and Tim DeHuff’s Dynamic Jazz Duo (June 21).

So, from all of us in 06880 — who occasionally made the trek north to 06883’s Cobb’s Mill (sometimes not even for a wedding) — welcome back.

And — with a nod to “La Roue Elayne” — bonne chance!

The Closing Of Cobb’s Mill

No one went to Cobb’s Mill for the food.

The ducks, yes.

The waterfall, sure.

The whole New England-in-the-woods experience — that’s what kept people coming.

Wedding receptions, birthday celebrations, retirement lunches — that was Cobb’s Mill’s stock in trade.

Celebrants must search elsewhere now.

The restaurant — called “the longest continuously operated food service established in Connecticut” — closed earlier this month.

Former Weston 1st selectman George Guidera — who bought it with his son-in-law in 2006, and left his longtime law practice to run Cobb’s Mill — put plenty of money into it.  He upgraded the building, the service and the food.

But Cobb’s Mill was no match for the current economy.  With $130,050 in property taxes past due, foreclosure was inevitable.

Guidera intends to make good on wages owed to former employees.

Despite his improvements, no one went to Cobb’s Mill for the food.

But plenty of people today wish they could eat there one more time.

You Say You Want An Evolution

There’s a reason this blog is called “06880,” not “06883”:  Although Weston borders Westport, I really don’t know much anything about what goes on there.

Okay, I lied.  I know they have 2-acre zoning, so no one in Weston ever actually sees his or her neighbor.

I know Cobb’s Mill Inn is the place for weddings, bar mitzvahs and retirement dinners.  And I mean that literally — it’s the only place in town.

And I know that — just like their cousins/spouses down in Weston, Ala. and Weston, Miss. — the folks up in Weston, Conn. don’t cotton to crazy ideas.

Like evolution.

Ever since that Charles Darwin kook came to town, Weston's had nothin' but trouble.

In case you missed this story, a Weston teacher says he was told not to teach the theory of evolution.  The teacher — Mark Tangarone — ran Weston Elementary School’s talented and gifted program for 17 years.  But he’s leaving — because, he says, administrators refused to let him teach this new-fangled idea about man being descended from — you’ll laugh! — monkeys.

In 2008, then-Weston Intermediate School principal Mark Ribbens emailed FedExed telegraphed Tangarone that evolution “is a philosophically unsatisfactory explanation for the diversity of life.”

Take that, chimps!

The principal added:  “I know personally that I would be challenged in leading a 10-year-old through this sort of discussion while maintaining the appropriate sensitivity to a family’s religious beliefs or traditions.”

Yes sirree.  There’s no telling what kind of questions young Dylan or Ashleigh might ask Mom or Dad next, once they’ve had their 10-year-old brains unlocked.

They might even want to watch the Discovery Channel, provided Cablevision has wired Weston yet.

Smote down like a sinner in the hand of an angry God, Tangarone nevertheless came back for more.  He hoped to teach about Darwin during the current 1909-1910 2009-2010 school year.

But, Tangarone said, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Thomas Scarice told him:  “Drop it.”

An ancestor of Westporters, but not Westonites.

Ribbens called faxed sent a message by Pony Express telling Tangarone:  “Evolution is a topic that is not age appropriate, is not part of our existing curriculum, is not part of the state frameworks at this point in a student’s education, nor a topic in which you have particular expertise.”

Take that, Mark Tangarone!

Sweeping aside the fact that — according to the Fairfield Weekly — evolution is part of the 3rd through 5th grade science frameworks, as well as part of the Weston Public Schools’ curriculum (starting as early as kindergarten), “06880” vows solemnly to stand with our Weston neighbors (even though we can’t see them) in their fight to haul their town into the 21st 20th 19th century.

Evolution today!  A 2nd restaurant tomorrow!

This progress thing could really take off.