Tag Archives: Compo Beach concession

Friday Flashback #207

At the start of the beach season, our Friday Flashback featured Chubby Lane’s — the long-time, much loved Compo Beach concession located where the volleyball courts are now.

It drew (of course) dozens of comments.

But Chubby’s was hardly the first food service at the beach.

Jim Gray made a collage of concession stand postcards that predate Chubby’s by decades.

They were way before my time. I don’t know the back story for any of them. The buildings changed over the years — but you can tell it’s the same spot, by the distinctive small turret at the top of each one.

(Photo collage courtesy of Jim Gray)

If you have any information on any of these iterations, click “Comments” below.

Friday Flashback #194

One day — sooner rather than later, hopefully — the Compo Beach snack bar will open.

A new concessionaire replaces Joey’s by the Shore. After 31 years, there will be a new look and feel to the familiar brick building.

It seems like it’s always been there, smack in the middle of the boardwalk. But for most of its existence, that was actually part of the bathhouses.

The concession stand was located a few yards north — where the volleyball courts are now. Low-slung and wooden, it had even more of a “beach shack” feel than the current one.

And because there were a few parking spaces in front — just before the drop-off area where the Soundview exit road begins — anyone could drive up and walk in. You didn’t need a beach sticker.

(Photo courtesy of Liz Doyle Boyd)

Working at Chubby’s was a coveted job. I was hired the summer after 10th grade. Despite the dorky uniform (blue button-down shirt, dark blue shorts, high socks), I had a blast.

I loved my co-workers. I got free food. I was at the beach. Life did not get better than that.

PS: A few years earlier, Chubby pioneered “delivery.” Employees wandered up and down the sand. They called in orders by walkie-talkie, and tied a ribbon on the customer’s chair. Someone else then brought the order.

That service was gone by the time I worked there. Maybe the new concessionaire can bring it back?

BONUS FEATURE: Chubby’s beach success led to a year-round restaurant on Post Road East. It’s now the site of Willows Pediatrics, next to the Westport Inn.

Chubby Lane’s featured the first $1 hamburger in town — with meat from Charpentier’s butcher across the street (now Border Grille) — and killer onion rings. I worked there also, wearing that same ridiculous outfit.

I had a blast there too.

This is actually the Bantam Restaurant, a predecessor of Chubby Lane’s. But when he owned it, it looked the same.

Board Of Finance Delays Beach Concession Discussion; Chair Gives Somber Fiscal Assessment

Westporters who tuned in from home last night to watch the Board of Finance discuss the new Compo and Longshore beach concessionaire got a surprise.

As the meeting began, chair Brian Stern announced that the agenda item has been moved to April 15. The COVID-19 crisis necessitates the rewriting of the first year of the contract, so more time is needed before a board vote.

Stern moved quickly to an overview of the virus’ effect on town finances, and the budget process that lies ahead.

Acknowledging the difficulties faced by residents, businesses and non-profits, he admitted, “No one knows how long or deep this will be.”

Westport’s pension fund has already plunged from $350 million to $300 million. However, he assured his fellow members, “benefits are secure.”

Brian Stern chaired the remote Board of Finance meeting. Members joined from home.

As the country heads into a recession, Stern said, the town will be hit with non-recoverable costs. The Parks & Recreation Department, for example, could lost $ 1 million to $2 million, from its $5.2 million budget.

Effects on the state of Connecticut, meanwhile, will be “huge.” Deferred income tax and plunging sales tax revenue will be “devastating. And these big numbers will trickle down to our little town.”

There are some mitigating factors. For example, Westport will save money by paying fewer Parks & Rec summer workers, and see lower utility costs in schools.

But those savings come with costs: “There will be fewer Westporters at the beach, and our kids are not going to school.”

If the coronavirus crisis continues into summer, crowds may be down at Compo Beach. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Stern counseled his Board of Finance colleagues: “Be prudent.”

He promised,”We will protect town services, pensions and benefits. Our reserves are robust, and our tax base is strong. But we must be proactive, and frugal.”