Tag Archives: Joey’s by the Shore

Unsung Heroes #112

As summer winds down, this week’s Unsung Heroes is a no-brainer.

Everyone — and there’s a ton — who made this year’s Compo, Burying Hill and Old Mill Beach and Longshore experiences so wonderful: Take a bow!

If you are a:

  • Parks & Recreation maintenance worker, who cleans up our messes so conscientiously and professionally
  • Parks & Rec gate attendant, who waves us in, collects our fees and deals so smilingly with a not-always-smiling public
  • Parks & Rec Department staffer or Commission member, who helped shepherd the new improvements (South Beach sidewalk and bathroom, new tables and grills) through from conception to completion
  • Lifeguard, who keeps us safe, provides first aid, reunites lost kids with panicked parents, and endured a few very boring days in the chair watching the water when the beaches were closed (special shout-out to directors Heidi List Murphy and Danilo Sierra)

  • Marina worker (and of course Westport Police marine unit member), who do so much good stuff the public seldom sees
  • Joey Romeo or part of his youthful “By the Shore” staff at Compo and Longshore, who serve great food and never get mad even when we have no idea what to order despite standing in line for 10 minutes thinking about it

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

  • Longshore golf course, tennis court or pool attendant, who we see every day, in all kinds of weather and seldom even nod to
  • Early-morning employee like Drew Grega, who grooms the beach so well and unobtrusively we never even know you’re there …

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

It would not have been a wonderful Westport summer without you.

PS: I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone. If I have — aaargh! Just add those Unsung Heroes in the “Comments” section.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Very Special Family Visits Joey’s

Joey’s by the Shore is one of Westport’s not-so-hidden gems.

It’s got the most interesting menu of any beach place I’ve seen. Joey, Donny and the kids who work there do a great job cooking, handling crowds, and coaxing orders out of kids (and parents) who get to the cash register, look up from their iPhones and suddenly have no idea what they want.

Joey’s crew is also fanatical about keeping the place looking nice, inside and out.

One thing they should not have to do is clean up after customers.

On my way inside Sunday, I passed a family — dad, mom, 3 cute kids — eating at a patio table. The sky was blue; the vibe, wonderfully chill.

This is what I saw when I came out:

The happy family was nowhere to be seen.

Of course, they may have had an excellent excuse for leaving their gross mess:

Perhaps it was their maid’s day off.

Summer’s Second Strong Storm

Just 18 hours after yesterday’s tree-downing, power-outing storm, a more brutal one — with even less warning — roared through town.

At the Westport Library, the Saugatuck River is nearly obscured by wind-driven rain. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Packing winds of about 60 miles an hour, plus hail, this one followed by a few seconds an alert from the National Weather Service.

One umbrella hit this home’s window “like a torpedo.” (Photo/Marty Jaramillo)

In its wake, over 1,500 customers were without power. Trees blocked South Compo Road, Narrow Rocks, Jennie Lane, Mayflower Parkway and the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach. Tents for the downtown Sidewalk Sale were uprooted on Main Street.

Hillandale Road, near West Parish. (Photo/Robin Gusick)

Just a couple of hours earlier, the forecast was for mostly sunny skies.

Mayflower Parkway (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

As of right now — 3:50 pm — the skies over Westport are clear and bright.

The deluge did not last long — but it was intense. (Photo/Jilda Manikas)

Tonight and tomorrow’s forecast calls for sunny and clear weather too.

Beachgoers fled Compo. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Westport’s marine police assisted a sailboat in distress. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Umbrellas were tossed into the water … (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

… and all around Joey’s. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

The storm even toppled a tough-to-move lifeguard chair. (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

Amazingly, just moments before the storm hit, this advertising plane flew over Compo Beach. Its message: “Keep calm – Call Tom Atty.” (Photo/Beverly Bailey)

Photo Challenge #200

Security cameras have become so ubiquitous, we don’t even notice them.

So it’s not surprising that last week’s Photo Challenge — showing more than half a dozen cameras on top of a building — drew guesses of spots all around town.

The train station? Levitt Pavilion? Police station? Town Hall? No, no, no and no.

The cameras in question (click here to see) are located atop Joey’s by the Shore — the Compo beach concession stand. Andrew Colabella and Michael Calise — longtime and constant beachgoers — were the first 2 readers with the right answer.

But why would a beach restaurant need security cameras?

Andrew explained:

In the summer of 2016 there was a serious spike in vandalism, break-ins, driving on the beach, and illicit and suspicious activity. Lifeguard chairs were dragged into the water, Joey’s was broken into, and money was removed/stolen/missing from the gate.

In the past before that, boats had been burglarized and the lifeguard shack was broken into.

These cameras — along with many others strategically placed in and around the beach — record and are viewed by town employees in the Parks & Rec and Police Departments. The technological ability of these cameras is astonishing.

Since then, illegal activities have dropped dramatically.

So be cool out there. Big Brother — or at least the town — is watching.

Here is this week’s Photo Challenge:

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

If you know where in Westport you’d see this hand-sprayed “No Parking” sign, click “Comments” below.

And if you know why someone painted it there — in a seemingly legit parking spot — we’d like to know too!

One More Place To Party At The Beach

You can’t reserve tables in the Compo Beach pavilion.

But — starting immediately — you can reserve that cool little space (formerly storage) recently carved out between the brick pavilion and Joey’s.

In a low-key announcement, Parks and Rec says they’re “excited to offer a new PARTY RENTAL space.”

(Note: they never say exactly where it is — beyond “on east beach and conveniently located next to Joey’s by the Shore.” I’m assuming it’s here:

Staples High School sophomores in the party space next to Joey’s last night. They did not have to rent it.

The email continues:

This picnic area holds a maximum of 60 people, and can be rented out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. until sunset, or even all day to meet your party needs! This is a great location for your children’s parties or family gatherings! Joey’s will be happy to assist in your catering needs!

There are a few rules:

You must apply no later than 72 hours before the event. Applications are first-come, first-served. The permit fee is $50 (plus a refundable $100 security/clean-up deposit).

Guests without parking stickers must pay the regular daily fees. Businesses and non-profits can rent the space Mondays through Thursdays, and are allowed up to 15 parking waivers.

No alcohol, glass, candles or tiki torches. No amplified music either.

Oh, yeah: “Food and catering trucks are not allowed. Catered food must be purchased from Joey’s by the  Shore.”

Joey Romeo can handle all your catering needs.

Does that mean you can’t bring any food in? Picnics? Pizza from Romanacci? What exactly is “catered” food?

It shouldn’t matter. Joey’s is great, easy to work with, and can provide whatever you need.

This is the second specially defined party space at Compo. For years, anyone could rent the clubhouse at Ned Dimes Marina for $275 (though most Westporters don’t know that).

So enjoy your next party at the new space “conveniently located next to Joey’s.”

And if you’ve got a better name for the spot, click “Comments” below.

(Hat tip: Johanna Rossi)

Remembering Billy Hess

Billy Hess — the popular and longtime Joey’s by the Shore employee, who ran the Longshore concession stand — died yesterday. Last year, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Last year, Joey’s owner Joey Romeo told “06880”:

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 is survived by his wife Gina, and 3 daughters.

He also leaves behind countless friends: customers he served with passion and dedication, and workers he mentored with love and care.

Billy Hess with his wife Gina and daughters.

Pic Of The Day #363

A sure sign of spring: Joey’s is open! (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Townee Tees Help Billy Hess

A few months ago, “06880” reported that Billy Hess — the longtime and very popular summertime fixture at Joey’s by the Shore, and winter manager of Joey’s at the Longshore ice rink — was seriously ill with lung cancer.

Billy’s many friends and fans rallied to help. He’s still battling — and Westporters can still help.

Townee — the local t-shirt, tank top, hoodie and fleece company — has designed a special edition shirt. Proceeds help pay Billy’s medical expenses.

It’s extra-special, because it features the same logo Billy designed, and etched in the Joey’s counter years ago. If you’ve ever bought burgers, fries or lobster rolls at the beach — and who hasn’t? — you’ve seen it there.

The unisex crew-neck gray tee sells for $30. How appropriate — Billy has worked at Joey’s for 30 years.

As for the colors: Billy was part of the design process. He requested red and blue, to show his patriotism.

Remember, every summer he dresses up as Uncle Sam.

(To order a Billy Hess t-shirt, click here. To contribute to his GoFundMe page, click here.)

Billy Hess with his wife Gina and daughters.

Pic Of The Day #123

A classic Joey’s by the Shore scene (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Unsung Hero #10

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.

Joey Romeo, in a typical pose.

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.

 

Joey Romeo, by the shore.

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 dwoog@optonline.net)