Little Barn sunset (Photo/Julian Grijns)
Little Barn sunset (Photo/Julian Grijns)
Most “06880” readers chose not to labor over last week’s Photo Challenge.
They no doubt spent the Labor Day holiday at the beach, barbecuing, or doing anything more constructive than trying to suss out where Ellen Wentworth’s image could be. (Click here to see.)
It was, as reader Jack Backiel commented, “udderly frustrating.”
But don’t have a cow. As (only) Jill Denowitz knew, the bovine in question is at Little Barn.
On a shelf. Its buddies, of course, are on the menu.
Now the holiday is over. Back to business. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.
On Friday night, Little Barn was the place to be for Hibachi Dinner.
The popular Post Road restaurant’s menu has not changed. Hibachi Dinner is the name of an equally popular band, featuring 3 Brannigan brothers — Terry, Eamon and Seamus — plus Maddy Cerito, and special guest Dylan Curran.
The place was packed. Some of the most energetic fans were members of Staples Players. A week after their great “Guys and Dolls” show closed, they were there to support Seamus, a cast member.
The high school band Dulcit (Grant Hill, Freddie Aldridge, Liam Donaldson and Jake Weissman) opened for Hibachi Dinner. Last night, it was Strictly Business. (That’s the name of another local band that played.)
High school audiences don’t buy drinks at the bar. But Little Barn owner Scott Beck doesn’t mind. He’s happy to provide a venue for them, and their friends.
Kudos to him and his staff. And of course, to Hibachi Dinner, Dolcit and Strictly Business, we say: Rock on!
Speaking of entertainment: Our neighbor Kelli O’Hara opened at the Metropolitan Opera last week as Laura Brown in the new American opera “The Hours.”
Her costars include legendary star Renee Fleming and multi-Grammy winner Joyce DiDonato.
This is Kelli’s 3rd Met appearance. She starred previously in “The Merry Widow” and “Cosi Fan Tutte.”
Alan Fiore has done it again.
The 2021 Staples High School graduate and current Berklee College of Music student has just released his new single, “A Matter of Time.”
It’s part of an EP, with several previous songs.
It’s just “a matter of time” before Alan hits the big big big time. You heard of him first on “06880.”
Click here to listen, on your favorite streaming platform.
Remarkable Theater closed for the season last month, with some blockbuster Halloween films.
A month later, here’s the scene at the Imperial Avenue parking lot:
No worries. There’s plenty of time before the 4th season begins next spring.
Before this holiday weekend gets too far in the rear view window, here’s one more turkey-themed “Westport … Naturally” image:
And finally … Irene Cara, the Academy and Oscar- Award-winning singer most famous for her title songs from the films “Flashdance” and “Fame,” has died. She was 63. Click here for a full obituary.
(“06880” is your place for all kinds of entertainment news. Please click here to help keep it coming. Thank you!)
Some weekly Photo Challenges stump some readers.
But when it comes to restaurants, you know your onions.
Last week’s image — of a weathered, wooden finger pointing to an entrance — hangs (of course!) at Little Barn. It’s one of our town’s most popular dining spots, and one of our most iconic signs. (Click here to see.)
Ken Runkel, Rich Stein, Patti Brill, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Seth Braunstein, Arthur Hayes, Janice Strizever, Pete Powell, Susan Yules, Jilda Mankas — and probably many more of you — nailed it.
So it’s back to a tough one this week. If you know where in Westport you would see this, click “Comments” below.
Remember when the family gathered together on Sunday night, sharing dinner while listening to a drama or musical on the radio?
Neither do I.
But Westporters — and anyone else with an internet connection — can enjoy evenings in the coming weeks. Staples Players presents 3 radio shows.
And 3 local restaurants are offering special meal deals, to spice up the fun.
This Sunday (October 25, 6 p.m.), tune in to “The Wizard of Oz.” Little Barn has created a special menu including Wicked Witch Wings, Tin Man Tacos, Munchkin Burger (kid-size), Emerald City Cocktails and more.
Click here and choose “Order later” for October 25. Scroll down to the “Wizard of Oz” menu (after “Entrees”). NOTE: Glinda the Good Witch says you can order from the whole menu if you like!
On November 8 (6 p.m.), listen to “Pride and Prejudice” whilst dining on Pemberley’s prime rib dinner, complete with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and sticky toffee pudding. It’s all courtesy of (of course) Fairfield’s Gruel Brittania.
Then on November 22, gather round the hearth for the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The comes from a classic Westport spot: Dunville’s.
Call or text Dunville’s owner Steve Carpentieri (203-247-3113) with your order for:
Menus are available on the restaurants’ websites within a week of each show. Order ahead; quantities are limited.
(The 3 radio shows can be heard on WWPT, 90.3 FM. For the livestream, click on www.wwptfm.org.)
Weeks ago, in another world where kids and teenagers actually had to be driven somewhere, VanGo was gold.
The cleverly named app was an uber-Uber. It eased parents’ worries about sketchy drivers, because VanGo’s drivers were nannies, teachers, babysitters — and most of all, mothers.
In the COVID crisis, that market dried up. People still need to market, of course. But they can’t always get out. Or they don’t want to.
So VanGo pivoted. It’s now a grocery shopping and delivery service. Once again, those moms come in handy.
While many grocery service providers are staffed by a bunch of randoms, VanGo’s shoppers “shop like you would,” says founder Marta Jamrozik. And they guarantee next day delivery for orders placed before 3 p.m..
Shoppers text families if an item is out of stock. Drivers wear masks and gloves while shopping, and when dropping off groceries.
VanGo Grocery is available in Westport and across Fairfield County. To log on and order, click here.
Arts organizations everywhere have been hammered by the coronavirus. Plays, concerts, ballets — all are on hold, as theater companies, symphonies and other institutions struggle to survive.
A tiny silver lining has been the realization that the arts are helping us get through this time. Drama, shows, music — they help sustain and nurture us.
Justin Paul understands that. The Staples High School graduate and award-winning composer/lyricist (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”) articulates it wonderfully. And he does so in a great, insightful online interview with Music Theatre of Connecticut’s co-founder and executive artistic director Kevin Connors.
The 2 sat down yesterday (in their respective homes) for an MTC Live! webcast. You can watch it below.
I guess that’s one more slim silver lining: The pandemic has led to all sorts of intriguing online discussions like this. Click here for more on MTC.
Little Barn is back! They’ve reopened, and now provide contact-less take out 7 days a week (4 to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays until 9). Order online through our website www.littlebarnct.com or 203-557-8501; then call again when you arrive.
Four decades ago, Westporter Peter Gambaccini ran from Thompson (in the northeast corner of the state) to Greenwich. A writer as well as a runner, he took less than a week to cover the 155 miles, then wrote about it for Connecticut magazine.
The 40th anniversary of the run is being celebrated with a NUTmeg Challenge. Running “nuts” of Connecticut — and anywhere else — can duplicate the former Staples High School track star’s run. There’s also the opportunity to raise money for local charities that desperately need help: Mercy Learning Center, Bridgeport Rescue Mission and the Connecticut Food Bank.
The virtual online challenge — because, of course, we’re still mindful of COVID-19, so you just run in your neighborhood, wherever in the world it is — takes places between Memorial Day (May 25) and Bastille Day (July 14).
There are 3 “routes”:
T-shirts and medals will be mailed at the conclusion of the Challenge. (Everyone registering by June 1 is guaranteed a medal.) For more information and to register, click here. (Hat tip: MaryAnn Meyer)
Every day, it seems, someone sends me a photo of a rock. All across town, people are discovering them. They (the rocks) make them (the people) feel special.
Doris Ghitelman sums up the feeling well (and gathered them all in a nice collage):
“I’ve come across these rocks on my walks around the library, Compo and Grace Salmon Park. I’m not sure who’s leaving them. My guess is, different artists 😉
“Whoever it is or they are, I would like to thank them. Whenever I see one, I stop and smile. Sometimes they make me think. Some are in plain sight, others hidden.
“It reminds me that if we take the time to look, really look around us, we might just be rewarded with something good. This space in time is giving us the opportunity to do just that. Let’s enjoy it!”
When the Shubert Theatre planned Monday’s “Next Stop: New Haven at Home!” virtual celebration (Monday, May 18, 7:30 p.m.), it did not have to look far for one star.
Westport native and Staples High School grad Adam Kaplan will take center stage. He’s a Broadway veteran (“Newsies,” “A Bronx Tale”), was part of the New York Philharmonic’s “Show Boat,” and toured the US and Japan in “Kinky Boots.”
A $75 Next Stop: New Haven ticket includes a box of goodies (serving up to 2 people) from several of Shubert’s restaurant partners, and the 75-minute live program with musical entertainment, a cocktail-making class (supplies included), cheeseboard-making class, Broadway trivia, and a peek at the Shubert’s 2020-2021 Broadway Series,
The ticket supports the Shubert Theatre, its restaurant partners, and Frontline Foods New Haven, which feeds teams at Yale New Haven and the VA Hospitals.
Tickets are available through 5 p.m. today. For more information and to purchase, click here.
And finally … one of my favorite movies of all time is “Stand By Me.” One of my favorite songs of all time is “Stand By Me.” These 3 minutes say it all:
If you want rustic-chic, American-style food, search no further than Little Barn. With delicious food, great drinks and lively entertainment — all in a barn-like building, served by friendly staff — Little Barn has a special charm.
From lobster mac n’ cheese to a Tuscan kale salad, they offer a wide selection of food for everyone, including vegetarians, vegans, and those on a gluten-free diet.
Westport-based nutritionist Heather Bauer serves up her top healthy picks for Little Barn.
NOTE: Because the portions are so generous, all starters can be shared.
Pair up with your partner and share one of the following:
Because this restaurant is so laid back, you can add up your special requests as long as you are with good family or friends. In this casual atmosphere the entire table shares a few appetizers; then everyone each chooses their own entrees.
If your table is sharing appetizers you can’t really make special requests, but you can try to add in an appetizer (like the ones noted below) for a healthier option.
But if your appetizer feels “heavier” to you and you already had protein in your appetizer, go for one of the salad recommendations sans protein.
Keep the “3/4 rule” in mind: Since food can be heavier at a restaurant than at home, eat 3/4 of your meal; leave ¼ to take home for lunch the next day.
However, remember that fat and flavor are important in satiety and staying healthy. When you deprive your body of too much fat and flavor, you end up craving less healthy food. So be mindful of what and how much you’re eating, while still enjoying things that sound good to you.
An alert “06880” reader — and grateful parent — writes:
Like many local businesses, Little Barn gets hit up for lots of good causes. Donate a gift card to a fundraiser? Buy an ad in a program book? Sponsor a team?
Owners Scott Beck and Kevin McHugh always say “sure!”
But the pair go way beyond donations. They’ve made their casual, friendly Post Road restaurant — formerly Dairy Queen, then Woody’s and Swanky Frank’s — what those other places never were: a “Cheers”-like home-away-from-home, where everyone feels welcome any time, and everybody knows your name. (And your kid’s name.)
Some of their most devoted customers are Staples High School sports teams.
Take last fall’s freshman football squad. The heart of the squad has been together since 4th grade. Parents formed bonds as tight as the players. They all celebrated together after every game.
Many places viewed the enthusiastic group as an intrusion. Little Barn embraced them.
After the final game of the year — when the 9th graders finished undefeated — parent Miki Scarfo warned the restaurant that this gathering would be particularly large.
“Can’t wait to see you!” they said.
Players and siblings filled the back. Parents hung out in front. The varsity coaches and captains arrived, surprising the freshmen. It was organic, free-form and fun — a snapshot from another part of America, perhaps.
The rugby and wrestling teams have made Little Barn their own too. It’s where coaches, parents and athletes gather before and after competitions; where their booster clubs meet; wherever anyone goes at a random moment, knowing they’ll be welcome.
Little Barn’s support of Staples goes beyond sports.
Some restaurants with live entertainment hire adult musicians. Little Barn gives student bands a shot. The same parents who meet up for athletes pack the place, supporting the teenagers.
How does everyone know to go? When a gathering takes place, parents often send out texts. A group assembles in minutes. They call it “flashing the bat signal.”
Little Barn sounds like a throwback to a different era.
But the “bat signal” texts are all about 2019.
Dairy Queen has sure come a long way.
You may not know her name. But chances are you saw Marie Boyer around town.
The Westport mother walked miles to several different jobs — in all kinds of weather.
One was at Little Barn. She often opened up before anyone else got there. She worked long hours, hoping to get her girls a good education. Tracy — a Staples graduate — is in college, while Tamikah is a rising high school senior.
The Haitian native spoke mostly Creole. She lived on Hales Court, with her husband and daughters.
Marie died August 10, after a brief illness. She was 48 years old.
Friends organized a GoFundMe page, raising money for funeral and memorial expenses, back to school items, college expenses and day-to-day necessities. Click here to help.
Marie’s funeral is this Saturday (August 24), 8 a.m. at the Church of the Nazarene, 146 Main Street in Norwalk.
The burgers have been eaten. Over 1,000 votes have been cast.
Now, the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announces the winners of its Great Westport Burger Contest.
The envelope please…
Best Classic Burger: Viva Zapata
Best Cheeseburger: Match Burger Lobster
Best Gourmet Burger: Match Burger Lobster
Best Veggie Burger: Little Barn
Best Non-beef Burger (fish, turkey, lamb…): Little Barn
Best Fast Food Burger: Shake Shack
Best Slider: Dunville’s
Honorable Mention: Rothbard and Parker Mansion
Vegans: Eat your hearts out!
In more Westport Weston Chamber news, the 5th Supper & Soul event takes place on Saturday (April 6).
One $75 ticket buys 3 great entertainment elements: a 3-course dinner at 6 p.m., a concert with Head for the Hills, and happy hour prices for drinks after the show.
Participating restaurants are 190 Main, Amis, Jesup Hall, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse, Tavern on Main and Wafu. All are located within a couple of blocks of Seabury Center, where the concert takes place.
Head for the Hills has been together for 15 years. They mix rock, folk, R&B and bluegrass. Mandell says, “If you like Mumford & Sons, you’ll love this band.” (Check out the video below — you’ll agree!)
Click here for tickets. A limited number of concert-only tickets are available too.