NOTE: The GoFundMe page referenced below has been shut down. A note says “No longer accepting donations.”
Yesterday’s announcement was stunning: The Black Duck will close on Sunday.
No reason was given. Just like that — poof! — Westport’s iconic burger-and-bar joint will be gone.
Earlier today though, a GoFundMe page appeared.
Posted by “The Black Duck team” — described as “the remaining few long-time employees” — it offers a glimmer of hope. The goal is to raise $100,000, to keep the beloved barge restaurant open.
The crowdfunding plea reads:
The Black Duck Cafe, the last of “Old Westport,” the place of many first dates and first beers, home of famous burgers, wings and strong drinks, the place to “ruin your liver down by the river”…is drowning. We have been so fortunate to have served so many wonderful customers and friends for 40 years with the Saugatuck River as our backdrop, and are hoping to continue being able to serve you.
Our beloved old barge withstood Hurricane Sandy, the departure of near-celebrity status bartenders, rising food, liquor and utilities costs, and the takeover of Westport by brand name chains. Despite these changes, it is our long-time customers, camaraderie and meeting new customers that have kept us, the remaining few long-time employees, going.
Part of the Black Duck’s peril: increasingly frequent floods.
Consistency and “turning back of time” has been the Duck’s long-time appeal. Indeed, best-selling novelist Jane Green stated in 2017 that the Black Duck is “one of the few places where old Westport and new Westport meet.”
Yet this turning back of time, has also led to the accrual of increasing debts. Though we have had to increase our prices over the years, these increases have been disproportionately lower than the increasing food costs. In other words, our commitment to being one of the last affordable, laid-back restaurants in lower Fairfield County has caught up to us. In the last 6 months, we’ve been experiencing slower business and now have fallen on significant financial hardship, and are facing the biggest challenge of the Black Duck’s 40 years of business.
It is devastating to think that we won’t be part of Westport and a part of your lives anymore. If our small barge on Riverside Ave becomes empty, so many of you, our guests, will no longer have your go-to place to go to, so we the employees, are doing everything we can to keep it going.
We need to raise cash immediately. Our hope is that with the money raised, that the Duck will be able to stay open for this month and next month. This money will get us through the slower time. We would love your help and we are so thankful for your business over the years and for taking a look at our campaign!
Love humbly from the entire Black Duck team.
So far, $300 has been raised.
Duck-lovers: Now’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. (Right around those wings, steamers and onion rings.)
Click here for the Black Duck’s GoFundMe page.
(Hat tip: Jennifer Rankine)