Michael Ryan has spent his career in hospitality. He’s opened restaurants around the world.
But as a longtime Westporter, he’s always been fascinated by Longshore. The Inn — beautifully situated, now a bit long in the tooth — has enormous potential. The restaurant — now closed — also has the chance to be something special.
For the past several months, Ryan has worked on both properties.
He’s partnered with Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn at Longshore.
Renovating the Inn is a long-term project. Fortunately for a few dozen brides, their weddings have gone on without a hitch (so to speak).
The big news is that a pop-up restaurant will appear soon, in the old Pearl space.
The restaurant at the Inn at Longshore is a spectacular location.
“La Plage” — French for “the beach” (though the menu will be “coastal,” rather than French) — hopes to be open by the end of July.
Work was underway this week. Floors have been stripped; the interior is lighter; the deck and patio are as inviting as ever.
Meanwhile, he is looking for help. The labor shortage is real. He’s put out a call for everyone: kitchen help, front of the house, bartenders, servers, hosts. If interested, email email@example.com.
And keep checking “06880” for news. The moment La Plage opens, you’ll know.
Two town-owned buildings with important tenants are getting upgrades.
Tomorrow (Thursday, June 10, 5 p.m., livestream) the Public Site and Building Commission considers renovations to the Longshore restaurant, and Homes with Hope.
Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn at Longshore — will be making improvements to the restaurant, which is currently closed. The Inn remains open.
The town has received a $500,000 grant for work on the Gillespie Center. The shelter behind Barnes & Noble will undergo ADA improvements, and air quality systems will be upgraded.
The PS&BC meeting is available on Zoom (868 1556 4709; passcode: 266287).
There’s nothing funny about the Westport Country Playhouse’s productions being pushed back from this summer to next.
But there will plenty to laugh about onstage soon. From June 18-25, there’s live, stand-up comedy, on the fabled stage.
In partnership with Fairfield Comedy Club’s 3rd annual festival, comedians Mike Birbiglia, Boomer Funny Ladies, Harrison Greenbaum, Jessica Kirson, Dan Soder and others will bring smiles (and belly laughs) to real, live faces. (“Content is appropriate for age 18 and up,” the WCP says.)
Audience members must be fully vaccinated, or receive a negative COVID test with 72 hours of the performance. Concession stands are open. Click here for tickets, and more information.
Westport’s National Charity League chapter has donated $3,750 to 3 Bridgeport charities serving people hit hard by the pandemic. Grants include $1,250 each to Homes for the Brave, Mercy Learning Center and Caroline House.
While NCL normally only donates time and talent, they made an exception in these critical times.
And finally … in 1968, President Johnson declared this a national day of mourning. Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy died 3 days earlier, from an assassin’s bullet. Two months earlier, Martin Luther King was similarly slain.
The Inn at Longshore — a gorgeous, historic (and tired and underutilized) property — may soon get a new “lease on life.”
The Boards of Finance and Selectmen will consider an intriguing proposal foro the town-owned property.
Long-time tenant Longshore Associates of Westport — headed by Rory Tagert — seeks permission to assign their lease to a new group of experienced hotel and restaurant operators.
Tagert has been involved with the Inn for 35 years. He will retire soon.
The Inn at Longshore
Known officially as Longshore Hospitality LLC, the partnership is led by the Greenwich Hospitality Group.
Founded by Charles Mallory of Greenwich, they operate boutique hotels in many states, including the Delamar hotels in Greenwich, Southport and West Hartford, along with the L’Escale and Artisan restaurants in those locations.
Principal Michael Ryan is a Westport resident. Longshore Hospitality was represented by Westport attorney Jim Randel during negotiations.
The current Inn at Longshore lease has 8 years to run. It allows the tenant to assign the lease, with town approval. Those approvals are on the agendas of special online meetings of the Board of Finance (Thursday, October 22, 5 p.m.) and Selectmen (Friday, October 23, 12:30 p.m.).
The ballroom at the Inn.
1st Selectman Jim Marpe says:
I feel comfortable and gratified that the Inn at Longshore will be in the hands of experienced, local and reputable businesspeople who will represent the Town well in the years ahead.
The Longshore Hospitality LLC proposes to continue operating the Inn and the banquet facility as they have been under the proprietorship of Longshore Associates. Hotel and event staff are proposed to remain in place and all scheduled events will be unaffected. The Pearl at Longshore restaurant will continue to stay open.
Christmastime at the Inn at Longshore.(Photo/Katherine Bruan)
Yesterday’s “06880” highlighted the role that Westport’s Rotary clubs play, helping bring democratic values to Ukraine.
The Westport Rotary and Sunrise Rotary are 2 of the more than 35,000 Rotaries worldwide. The couple of hundred members are part of a global organization of 1.6 million. Their projects are international — like Ukraine — but much of their work takes place right here at home.
Westport Rotary was founded 100 years ago, in 1919. Its Sunrise sister is newer — it’s just 31 years old. Sunrise accommodates people who want to give back, but prefer breakfast meetings to midday.
Meetings include sharing of good news, guest speakers, and project plans. Recently, a member mentioned a wheelchair-bound World War II veteran whose home and yard needed major work. A dozen Rotarians spent 2 Saturdays getting it done. Their breaks were enriched by amazing stories of his D-Day landing at Normandy.
Many meetings include presentations by executives of non-profits. They share their organizations’ missions, accomplishments and needs. Club members are often inspired to help.
For example, Homes with Hope — which provides services and housing options to families and individuals seeking their way out of homelessness — is the recipient of monthly meal servings by Sunrise Rotary members. They also sponsor a July 4th barbecue, and food drive the day before the Super Bowl.
Rotary speakers have included the executive director of the Syria Fund, which provides education and assistance to refugees; the CEO of Norwalk’s Carver Foundation, who talked about the “opportunity gap” in education, and the headmaster of the Southport School, which educates students with dyslexia, and tied together the twin issues of incarceration and undiagnosed learning disabilities.
Of course, all of the Rotary Clubs’ charitable efforts cost money. Westporters are familiar with fundraisers like the Great Duck Race and LobsterFest.
Up next: Sunrise Rotary’s Uncorked Wine Tasting Gala.
Good times at last year’s Uncorked wine tasting, at the Inn at Longshore.
The event — set for this Friday (November 22, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Inn at Longshore) features 100 wines, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks, all curated by Cory D’Addario of The Wine Company Westport (the new name for the old Liquor Locker). A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she is an expert at the synergy between wine and food.
On tap too: excellent hors d’oeuvres, authentic French breads, desserts and amazing chocolates. Full case beverages can be purchased for discounts.
Westport’s Rotary Clubs often operate under the radar. On Friday, you can get a great “taste” of their wonderful work.
(For tickets to the Uncorked Wine Tasting Gala, click here.)
Fairfield’s Isabelle et Vincent will provide authentic French baked goods.
It’s one of Westport’s greatest traditions: the Community Thanksgiving Day Feast.
For decades, it’s happened organically. Members of the sponsoring Saugatuck Congregational Church — and many others — sign up to bring food, or help elsewhere. Over 200 people show up, alone and with families. There’s music, fellowship and fun.
Every year, many hands help create Westport’s Community Thanksgiving Feast.
Sometimes there are tweaks. Sign-up Genius now makes it easier to assign tasks. When a fire rendered Saugatuck Church unusable, Christ & Holy Trinity stepped into the breach.
Last year brought a big change. Marc Weber and Anthony Miami took over the turkeys.
Plus the stuffing, gravy, potatoes, salads, vegetables, desserts — everything about the meal from, well, soup to nuts.
They were not simply volunteers. Weber owns OnTheMarc Catering. Miami is executive chef of the Inn at Longshore.
These guys are pros.
Five years ago Weber — a Culinary Institute of America graduate who began as a private chef, then grew his business to include clients like the Warehouse at FTC, Audubon Greenwich and Hudson Loft — partnered with the Longshore Inn.
He works all over Fairfield County, Westchester and New York City. But he lives in Westport.
And he wants to give back.
He’s on the board of an organization that helps local families find volunteer opportunities. At Longshore, he works with non-profits like Sunrise Rotary and Tiny Miracles.
His mother — a philanthropic adviser — emphasized the importance of “skills-based” volunteerism: contributing not just money, but talent and expertise.
Last year for the first time, Dan Levinson and Monique Bosch of Main Street Resources coordinated Westport’s Thanksgiving Feast. They asked Weber to help. He and Miami fed nearly 300 people, at very low cost.
“We know how to do it,” Weber says simply.
This year (Thursday, November 28, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), they’ll do it again.
Once again, they’re doing it gladly.
“I was so impressed by the number of families who volunteered,” Weber says of last year’s event. The first selectman helped serve. High school kids transported food from the Inn.”
That’s right: Now, the food is cooked off-site. It’s a big step up from the former potluck-type planning.
The annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Feast draws hundreds of people.
Of course, Weber and Miami can’t do it all alone. Westport Rotary, the Senior Center, Gillespie Center, Homes with Hope, the Unitarian Church, United Methodist Church, Bedford Middle School and Coleytown Elementary School all participate.
So do over 80 volunteers. They decorate, set up, greet, serve, clean up, even drive attendees who need transportation.
Monique and Dan hope for the usual donations of turkeys from Stew Leonard’s, pies from Temple Israel, bread from Sono Bakery and s’mores from Westport Boy Scouts. Other generous donations traditionally include floral arrangements from Westport Garden Club and greeting cards from Coleytown Middle School,
Somehow, it all comes together. It’s a true community feast.
But now the turkey and trimmings are prepared by true pros.
(To volunteer at Westport’s Community Thanksgiving Day Feast, click here. If you need a ride, call the Saugatuck Church: 203-227-1261. For more information, call Monique Bosch: 203-858-8829.)
The Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee is fading away, in our rear view mirrors.
Up ahead: renovating Longshore.
The Parks and Recreation Commission — and plenty of Longshore users — have talked for a while about improving the 169-acre park. The crowded area around the 1st tee — with its ramshackle golf pro shop, landfill driving range, helter-skelter parking and dumpster near the Inn — is one area ripe for improvement.
Marina parking, and the maintenance shed sitting smack in the center of things, are other places worthy of examination.
Longshore — one of Westport’s crown jewels — includes a golf course, tennis courts, marina, pools, and much, much more.
Then there are usage questions. Do we need more paddle courts? Do the pool and skating rink work well? You get the idea.
The 2015-16 town budget includes money for a study of Longshore — something similar to what the town did with Compo, says Parks and Recreation Commission chair Charlie Haberstroh.
He hopes to organize a committee later this year. “It probably won’t be quite as comprehensive as Compo,” he says. “We’re not talking about building a clubhouse in the middle of the golf course. But we should start the planning process now.”
Several constituent groups are already gearing up to be heard. In an email to current and former members, the Longshore Men’s Golf Association board floated the idea of a small new clubhouse — with locker rooms, a pro shop, and an upstairs grill room — taking advantage of water views.
There will be plenty more discussion ahead. That’s a given — this is Westport.
The Inn at Longshore is a major attraction at the park. It sublets space to a restaurant — but right now that space is empty.
Meanwhile, a more pressing Parks and Rec concern — as well as for many diners and drinkers — is the status of Longshore’s restaurant/bar.
Splash closed several months ago. Though Inn at Longshore lessee Rory Tagert’s lease requires him to run a restaurant, time is running out for this summer. The Inn is reported to be close to an agreement with a new sub-tenant. But permits — including liquor licenses — take time to obtain. A new operator would most likely want to make renovations too.
Bottom line: You may be bringing your own food and drinks to Longshore for a while.
And when you do, you’ll have time to chew over the Next Big Issue in town: Longshore 2.0.
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