Tag Archives: Julian’s Pizza

Restaurant Health Inspections: The Sequel

This morning’s “06880” story about Julian’s — the Post Road restaurant that received its first-ever failing grade from a state Health Department trainee, then lost customers when the score was disclosed to the media (despite passing with a high score on its re-inspection) — generated plenty of reaction.

Readers wrote, relieved that one of their favorite restaurants was not suddenly gross. Others commented on their own experiences working in restaurants.

A Westport owner sent me a detailed reply. He asked not to be identified, but said he spoke for many colleagues. He wrote:

This is so interesting. I thought I was going crazy.

An inspector who was just hired by the town paid us 3 visits in 2 weeks. A little excessive, I thought.

No hands — but gloves required?

She deducted points for a broken tile in the customer seating area. How is that a health violation? Until then, I thought the craziest thing I had heard before from a health inspector was to use gloves to make an espresso (there’s no hand and food contact when making an espresso).

I have said for years that all health inspectors should, by law, have worked in restaurant kitchens for at least 6 months, so they understand the pressures. Some of the regulations make no sense, and they can’t explain them.

Just last week we were told we could not cook whole turkeys, porchetta and roast beef because our kitchen is not “equipped” for that. She told us to buy pre-cooked crap meat. Mind you, we have a type 4 license, which allows us to cook whatever we want.

When taking over our space we added more modern ovens and a lot of refrigeration in order to get that type 4 license. When we asked the inspector why we couldn’t cook the meats, and how to comply with regulation — meats that made us known among our customers — she didn’t know how or why.

The other thing that bothers me is that the health department has been unwilling to explain things through the phone or email, so we can quickly fix or adapt. They are requiring these long, in-person meetings.

Even with all of this going on, our lowest grade was 85.

Fortunately, I recently had a lengthy and productive conversation with Jeff Andrews, the health district’s chief sanitarian. We were able to find solutions for the “problems” they encountered.

I’m relieved to know that this was not a targeted attack on us. Please let Mike Sayyed of Julian’s know that we thank him for speaking out. This business is tough. Most of us operators are honest, and want to make sure all health regulations are met in our places. Crazy inspectors make our life very hard.

[OPINION] Give Pizza Place A Chance

Alert — and hungry — “06880” reader Dawn Norris writes:

I appreciate that “06880” likes to help local businesses stay in business. So here is my story.

My husband and I liked the pizza at Julian’s Saugatuck location (now closed). The other night we were looking for good food (other than pizza), but without breaking our budget.

I remembered Julian’s location on Post Road East has a nice bar with TVs to watch games. I pulled up their menu and saw they had many items besides pizza.

What an amazing surprise. The calamari was excellent. Our dinners were superb. My chicken picatta was thin sliced and succulent. My husband raved about the Julian cavatelli.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

We started a conversation with Mike, the owner. He was diligently handing orders to the line of Uber Eats drivers who were coming in.

He said that Uber Eats is fine, but they take a percentage. He struggles with how to get more people to actually come to the restaurant and eat.

He has a new chef, and wants to offer folks a “home away from home.” He has a “Westport rent,” but wants to keep his prices reasonable.

My husband and I were so impressed with the quality of our food and the fair price point, we sat with Mike for an hour discussing how to get the word out. He does a good business on the weekend, but is slow during the week.

I thought of “06880.” Julian’s is a family-friendly restaurant with fair prices, an excellent menu, and really good drinks for adults. That’s a very hard combination to find in Westport.

I’m happy to give Julian’s — at 1460 Post Road East — a shout-out. And any other small local restaurant too. If you’ve got a favorite to recommend, click “Comments” below.

All That Confusion Between Bravo And Rio Bravo Is Over

First came Bravo. The Italian restaurant replaced V, in the Post Road strip mall near Balducci’s.

Then came Rio Bravo 2 doors down, a Mexican restaurant with absolutely no connection to Bravo — other than the name.

Bravo did not last long. Inefficient service may have had something to do with its demise.

Now Julian’s has opened up in the old Bravo space. It’s the 3rd location for the brick oven pizza place. There’s one in Monroe, and another in Saugatuck.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

So now, instead of saying “Do you mean Bravo the Italian restaurant, or Rio Bravo the Mexican one?” you can say: “Is that the Julian’s on Riverside Avenue, or the one on the Post Road?”

Filling In That Vast, Pizza-less Post Road Void Between Angelina’s And Jordan’s

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

(Photo/Seth Schachter)