Flying fearlessly in the face of the pandemic, another new restaurant opens in Westport today.
Basso Restaurant & Wine Bar takes over the old Matsu Sushi on Jesup Road, behind the old Restoration Hardware (soon to be the new Barnes & Noble).
Chef Renato Donzelli has moved Basso from Norwalk to here. The 2-story space is larger, there is seating outdoors, and there’s a wood-fired pizza oven too.
According to CTbites, Donzelli was born in Venezuela and raised in Naples. His menu is Mediterranean flavored, with a Venezuelan influence. Click here for their full story.
(Photo collage courtesy of Stephanie Webster/CTbites.com)
And finally … Gerry Marsden, the leader and namesake of Gerry and the Pacemakers, died yesterday in London, of a blood infection. He was 78.
The band was from Liverpool, was managed by Brian Epstein, and for a while was the Beatles’ biggest rivals in the city. They were part of what the US called “the British Invasion” of the mid-1960s. They had several big rock hits here, like “I Like It” and “How Do You Do It?”
They were known for ballads too, like “Ferry Cross the Mersey,” “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” and “I’ll Be There.”
But they’re best known — and will be for generations more — for an odd choice of a pop hit. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” — from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1945 “Carousel.”
It became the anthem of Liverpool’s soccer team, and was adopted by other clubs around the world. The Staples High School girls team plays it before every match. Watch the video below, and you’ll see why it may be best sports song of all time.
If you thought Saugatuck “kneads” something to replace Garelick & Herbs: You’re in luck.
“Kneads” — a bakery, cafe and mill — opened Saturday, across from Saugatuck Sweets. Chef Daniel Moreno offers breakfast, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, tea — and of course breads (sourdough, baguette, fig cranberry walnut, brioche …).
He focuses on local products. There’s bacon and ham from Fleischer’s next door. Moreno has partnered too with chef Bill Taibe of The Whelk across the street, as well as the Westport Farmer’ market and Wakeman Town Farm.
If your mouth is watering though, you’ll have to wait. Kneads is closed Monday and Tuesday. It’s open Wednesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Click here for more info, from Stephanie Webster’s great CTbites.
Here’s something you haven’t seen in nearly 6 months.
But tomorrow — for the first time since mid-March — school buses will prowl the streets of Westport. It will almost feel good to get stuck behind one again.
The other day, this driver practiced turning from Thomas Road onto Imperial Avenue.
Trevor Freeland was a member of the first all-Black team to reach the top ranks of American youth swimming (chronicled in the 2007 movie “Pride”). As the first Black swimmer to compete in the ACC, he helped the University of Virginia win the 1st of 16 league titles.
One of the few Black executives to run a major Wall Street trading desk, he has committed his life to challenging and breaking down barriers. He attributes his success to the work ethic and life skills he learned in the pool.
This Saturday (September 12, 9:30 a.m., Camp Mahackeno outdoor amphitheater), he’ll talk about “Excellence is a Habit: How Do You Shatter Racial Barriers, Win Championships, and Build a Life of Success?”
A limited number of spots are open to Y members who are not non-Water Rat swimmers, and their families. To register, or for questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 8, 7:30 p.m.), the Democratic Women of Westport are sponsoring a virtual discussion with Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. He’ll discuss immigration issues.
To register and receive a link, email email@example.com
State Attorney General William Tong.
Dick Festa — longtime owner of the Party Barn store, first on Main Street and then in Playhouse Square — died last week in Florida. He was 87.
Dick spent many years on the Westport YMCA’s board of directors. He was also an avid squash and badminton player there.
He is survived by 4 children, 4 grandchildren, a great-granddaughter and his sister.
There will be no calling hours, due to COVID-19. A memorial service will take place at a future date. For Dick’s full obituary, click here.
Alert “06880” reader Tommy Magro tells us that this year, Good Humor celebrates its 100th anniversary.
He spotted this classic scene yesterday, on Soundview Drive. He’s to 100 more years of Toasted Almonds (or whatever your favorite happens to be).
And finally … “06880,” Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie wish you a Happy Labor Day!
No, it’s not a teenager’s lament on the lame life in the Land of Steady Habits.
CTBites.com is a blog — a clever, wide-ranging, sometimes-irreverent-but-always-interesting look at food in Fairfield County.
That’s food in all its forms.
There are pages on:
Eating In (recipes, cooking classes)
Eating Out (restaurants, food festivals and farm events, wine tastings, chef comings and goings)
Ingredients (ice cream names, green tips to reduce your carbon footprint)
Kids Bites (teaching children to cook; family-friendly joints)
Gadgets (onion goggles, coffee makers)
Food Talk (forums on the best pizza place, best bartenders, and everything in between)
CTBites is the brainchild of Stephanie Webster. A New Yorker-turned-Seattleite, she’s lived in Westport for not quite 2 years. But she’s already nailed our food scene.
She launched her blog last July, after realizing that — unless New York and Seattle — Fairfield County foodies did not frequent Yelp.
Or any other restaurant review blog.
In just 10 months, CTBites has grown “exponentially,” Stephanie says. She’s added food-loving, good-writing friends as contributors. They attract about 7,000 unique visitors a month — and it’s almost all by word of mouth.
Now, Stephanie says, she’s ready to turn her attention to really marketing — and monetizing — her blog.
The restaurant reviews are the initial draw for readers, and the most popular pages. “We’re not the standard Patricia Brooks/New York Times reviews,” Stephanie notes. “We get down to the nitty gritty.”
Readers like the blog’s community feel. CT Bites has sponsored monthly prix fixe lunches, where contributors and foodies meet and mingle.
CTBites.com sponsored a prix fixe lunch at The Dressing Room.
So how is the food scene in Fairfield County?
“Considerably better than I thought,” Stephanie answers quickly. “I like the hidden gems. Places like Le Farm are excellent, but I also like places like Bereket. It’s a Turkish restaurant behind a gas station in Bridgeport, and it looks like a complete dive. But it’s just like being in Istanbul.
“This isn’t Manhattan, where you’ve got a great place every 2 blocks. But there are plenty of good places around.”
Stephanie finds the the farm-to-table movement “exciting.” She’s also excited by the recent move of John Holzwarth, former executive chef at The Dressing Room, to The Boathouse at the Saugatuck Rowing Club.
“People love that there’s something out there — a window on Fairfield County,” Stephanie says of her site.
“And it goes both ways. Farmers and chefs like being part of the dialogue too.”
Stephanie Webster is happy to give them — and everyone else in Fairfield County who eats — something to chew on.
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