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Tag Archives: Joey Romeo
On the heels of today’s announcement, Joey Romeo — owner of Joey’s by the Shore — has asked me to send this message to his countless loyal customers:
After 32 years serving the community, we were unable to come to an agreement with the town of Westport to continue operating our concessions at Compo Beach, the Longshore Pavilion, and the halfway house on the golf course.
It has been a pleasure to serve the all of our customers for all of these years. It has also been a joy to watch generations grow up in town. I have absolutely loved employing and mentoring so many students and young people. All have gone on to become productive adults.
Running Joey’s has been the highlight of my life. I will miss it, and all of you. I wish everyone the best and I look forward to seeing our beloved customers, employees, and friends around town.
For over 30 years, one of the joys of Compo Beach has been Joey’s by the Shore.
Joey Romeo has been more than just a concessionaire. He’s developed the most extensive menu of any beach food shack anywhere (he’s also sold beach towels, chairs, hoodies and more). He’s opened on spring weekends long before the official beach season, and been there on fall weekends long after the summer crowds have gone.
He’s the friendliest guy you’ll know, with a great, hard-working staff of (this is a rarity) Westport kids. He makes sure they’re polite, efficient, and that they keep the area spotless.
So it was a shock to learn from Parks and Recreation director Jennifer Fava just moments ago that Joey’s By The Shore will no longer operate the concession at Compo Beach — or the others at the Longshore Pavilion and Longshore halfway house — effective immediately.
Fava says, “Regrettably, Mr. Romeo has advised us that he will not pay the full rent due in 2019 under his lease, nor is he willing to fulfill his remaining 3 years under the lease. We have made every effort to negotiate mutually acceptable terms, but we have not reached an agreement with him.”
First Selectman, Jim Marpe added, “We appreciate the many years of service Joey has provided to the community, especially at Compo Beach, providing food for our beachgoers and jobs for some of our young adults. We will be working to get a new concessionaire in place to meet the needs of our residents and users.”
I’ve reached out to Joey for comment. Anecdotally, I’ve heard (though not from Joey) that last year — in the aftermath of new, heftier fees for Westonites and other out-of-towners, and a limit on the number of daily passes sold — was a tough one for him.
I’ll follow up when I hear back. In the meantime, here’s a tip of the Compo cap to Joey Romeo, and all his staff, for their 31 years of loyal, loving service to Westport.
Some of our Unsung Heroes are obscure. Some are little known.
Everyone knows this week’s hero. But he seldom gets the chops he deserves.
For 28 years, Joey Romeo has run the Compo Beach concession stand. He’s the longtime Longshore concessionaire too.
That’s a lot of years, and a lot of customers.
Make that, a lot of very happy customers.
From food to beach umbrellas to Westport t-shirts, Joey’s by the Shore has it all.
The grill/ice cream stand/souvenir shop is a friendly, happy place. It’s often packed, but it never feels unwelcome. Parents who normally hold their kids’ hands when they walk in their own back yard feel comfortable sending them alone to Joey’s.
They don’t even have to handle money. At Joey’s, you can run a tab.
Joey comes by his burger chops naturally. His father ran the food concessions at Cummings Beach and Cole Island in Stamford; his uncle spent many years as the concessionaire at Greenwich’s Tod’s Point.
Growing up, Joey worked at the beaches — and loved it.
He became the 1st tenant after the town of Westport renovated the old bathhouses, and moved the concession stand to its present location. So far, he’s the only one.
He loves the water. He loves what he does. And he loves his customers.
He listens to them, too.
Lobster rolls, fish and chips, Boar’s Head cold cuts — those and many more selections resulted directly from requests.
To serve those customers, Joey’s now opens early and closes late (9 p.m.) each summer. He fires up the grill in March, and is there on weekends through November — sometimes beyond.
Thanks, Joey, for being there for all of us. The beach — and Longshore — would not be the same without you!
(To nominate an unsung hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you’ve ever been to Joey’s by the Shore in the summer — or winter, when he manages Joey’s at the Longshore ice rink — you know Billy Hess.
He’s worked there for 3 decades. Every July 4th he dresses up as Uncle Sam.
Owner Joey Romeo says:
Billy has been the heart and soul of Joey’s for 30 years. Known for his selfless demeanor and permanent smile, he loves Westport and serving our customers.
In addition to an unparalleled work ethic, he’s the unofficial “Mr. Fix-It” of Compo and Longshore. Whether changing a flat tire, retrieving a kite from a tree or repairing a broken beach chair, he’s always there and eager to help — whether he knows you or not. He’s the first to volunteer and the last to take credit.
Billy and his wife Gina have 3 daughters. He has countless friends: customers he has served with passion and dedication, and workers he has mentored with love and care.
A couple of months ago, Billy was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. Since then, it’s spread. He’s endured surgeries and chemo with great strength.
There’s more treatment ahead. He also faces mounting medical bills.
Sara Colabella — who worked with Billy when she was in high school and college — has created a GoFundMe page. The goal is $50,000. Click here for the link.
He’s been humbled by the support and concern the community has shown.
But it’s the least we can do, after all Billy Hess has done for all of us.
I can’t believe anyone had Easter dinner today.
Everyone was at the beach.
The best weather of the year drew enormous crowds of all ages to the playground:
Joey Romeo was everywhere — as usual — making sure his snack bar served everyone:
But the biggest attraction was a kitesurfer. For at least 2 hours, this guy whipped through the waves. He leaped 20 feet in the air. He circled far out, then zoomed close to land.
That dude has amazing upper body strength, great balance, and a sailor’s sense of the wind.
Thanks for the show!