Tag Archives: Lois Backon

Pearl At Longshore Closes Soon

For nearly 5 years, Pearl at Longshore has been a favored destination. Diners loved the menu, the location, the decor and the service.

Perhaps there were not enough of them. Today, owners Marc and Lois Backon write:

Dear Westport,

With Thanksgiving approaching, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the Pearl family – from the staff to investors, the town of Westport and guests who we have had the pleasure of serving since February of 2016.

This may seem a bit ironic today as we announce that on Saturday, November 28, Pearl at Longshore will be closing.

Our story and mission for Pearl was actually quite simple when we set out on the journey in 2015. We wanted to bring life back to Longshore for Westport and the surrounding community, when we saw the restaurant and patio space within the Inn at Longshore laid bare for over a year.

We wanted to resurrect this very special location and turn it into the gem of Westport for all to enjoy and be proud of. We wanted to create jobs, we wanted to create a “uniquely Pearl” environment for people to create their own special memories over delicious food, drink and entertainment.

We, and hope all who frequented Pearl — whether for special occasions with family and friends, date night, graduations, holidays, drinks at the bar after a long work week, round of golf or enjoying live music on the patio in the summer — believe we succeeded at this mission.

There is a great opportunity and destiny ahead for Pearl. A new management group is taking over responsibilities for The Inn at Longshore, and in turn will also take over the restaurant and patio area. They will have the ability to holistically reimagine Longshore, and not be restricted by what restaurant space is today.

All that is special of Pearl remains open until the evening of the Saturday the 28th, so please come in and enjoy. We also invite all to have Thanksgiving dining at Pearl, or pick up for home dining.

Again, we are so very grateful for being able to bring Pearl into the lives of so many people and appreciate the dedicated support of the staff and of the community for the last 4 years.

(Hat tip: Janet Kinnally)

New Pearl Splashes Into Longshore

A pearl is a beautiful jewel.

Longshore is one of Westport’s crown jewels.

So it’s particularly fitting that Pearl is the name of Longshore’s new restaurant. And that oysters and clams figure prominently on the menu.

Pearl at Longshore — the full name — opens officially tomorrow (Monday, February 22). But a soft opening last night showed that — more than a year after Splash closed — Westport’s dining and social scene have taken an impressive step forward.

A new entrance for a new restaurant.

A new entrance for a new restaurant.

Last night — in the beautiful new dining room, next to the handsome bar, as the wait staff bustled around — lead owner Marc Backon and his wife Lois described the long journey that transformed rundown Splash into a gorgeous Pearl.

It was Halloween, 2014. Dining at Tarantino, they learned from then-general manager Antonio Ninivaggi that after 18 years, Splash had shut its doors (and the adjacent, once-quite-popular Patio Bar). They were saddened. They’d eaten there often, and both daughters’ 1st jobs were at Splash.

It was not an immediate “let’s do it!” moment. Yet gradually the Backons decided to give Westport back its waterfront gem.

They had no background in restaurants. But Marc has a long career in business, Lois is in banking — and they are smart, committed Westporters.

Slowly, they put together a group of 25 or so investors, mostly from here. The list also included Ninivaggi (who had moved on to Osianna in Fairfield). They hired a crack design team, led by Bilal Barakat, and renowned executive chef Michael Hazen (Bartaco, Barcelona).

The stunning bar is made from recycled glass. Behind it is recycled wood.

The stunning bar is made from recycled glass. Behind it is recycled wood.

The journey was tough. The building — including the kitchen and food storage areas — had deteriorated significantly. A couple of deadlines were missed.

But the wait was worth it. With seating for 55 inside, 70 outside and 18 at the bar; chic, contemporary decor that includes paintings by local artists and a display with Robin Tauck’s Sherwood Mill Pond books, plus a menu that ranges from locally raised oysters to boar, it’s bound to create Westport’s newest buzz.

Locally harvested Hummock Island oysters are a special treat.

Locally harvested Hummock Island oysters are a special treat.

The patio is not yet finished. That’s okay. It will be ready this summer.

Hey, it takes 3 to 7 years for an oyster to produce a perfect pearl.

This one is ready after just 1.

The town of Westport owns the Pearl at Longshore property, and rents it to operators. Among the diners at last night's soft opening were 2 town officials who helped oversee the renovation from Splash to Pearl were (far left) former Parks and Recreation chair Steve Haberstroh, and (right) 1st Selectman Jim Marpe.

The town of Westport owns the Pearl at Longshore property, and rents it to operators. Among the diners at last night’s soft opening were 3 town officials who helped oversee the renovation from Splash to Pearl: (far left) Parks and Recreation chair Charlie Haberstroh, (near left) Parks and Rec director Jennifer Fava, and (right) 1st Selectman Jim Marpe.

(Pearl at Longshore will be open 7 days a week starting tomorrow [Monday, February 22] for dinner only. Lunch — and a golfers’ menu — will be added later.)

In summer, the view of Long Island Sound will be spectacular. In winter, the Longshore Skating Rink shimmered in the background.

In summer, the view of Long Island Sound will be spectacular. Last night, the Longshore Skating Rink shimmered in the background.