Tag Archives: Mansion Clam House

Friday Flashback #347

Last week’s photo of Boccanfuso’s gas station next to Mansion Clam House (later Parker Mansion) brought plenty of comments, and many memories.

Plus 3 photos, from Patricia Driscoll.

She writes that before it was a beloved seafood restaurant, the Mansion building was …

… a mattress factory.

Her great-aunt Elizabeth Ball worked there. Other relatives may have too.

Patricia says Elizabeth was born in 1894. She was quite young when she started at the factory. This photo is from around 1910:

Patricia also sent a photo of her great-aunt and grandmother at a Westport school. They were between 6 and 8 years old, she says; she does not know exactly when it was taken, or where.

There appear to be 29 students in one class — and clearly all were not in the same grade.

Patricia’s third photo is of another relative, Thomas Ball, in his Post Road jewelry store:

“06880” readers: If you know anything about the mattress factory, school or jewelry store in these photos, click “Comments” below.

(Every Friday, “06880” offers a look at back at old Westport. Today, we ask for your support — so we can continue our work into the future. Please click here to donate. Thank you!)

Remembering Barbara Saltus

Longtime Westport resident and former owner of the Mansion Clam House restaurant Barbara Saltus died peacefully on Tuesday in Marble Falls Texas, after a short illness. She was surrounded by family and her Yorkshire terriers Beau and Annie, who watched over her until the end.

Born Barbara Henry in Fairfield, she married Don Saltus in 1956. They purchased the historic Bennett House on South Compo Road, and settled in Westport.

Barbara Saltus

After her 5 children were grown, Barbara resumed her education. She graduated from Sacred Heart University with a degree in teaching, and later received her master’s degree. She worked as a special needs educator in Darien and Wilton.

In 1987 Barbara left teaching. and with family members purchased the landmark Mansion Clam House. While operating the business end of the restaurant, she took on the task of restoring the family’s 1758 Bennett house.

Her restored historic home was the quintessential New England homestead: a magical place where she entertained her children, their spouses, grandchildren and friends.

Anyone lucky enough to attend one of her holiday parties or Sunday brunches appreciated her attention to detail. Barbara kept her large family and friends wonderfully amused and well fed.

Outside in the backyard her grandchildren climbed the large beechwood tree, and swung on the family swing, and enjoyed their childhoods.

Despite her busy schedule Barbara found time to travel, exploring the US and Europe with her husband and grandchildren. The teacher in her was always expanding their minds and providing a sense of exploration.

In 2000 she retired from running The Mansion Clam House and moved to the seaside village of Stonington Borough, where she opened a hat and gift shop called Junie Moon on Water Street.

Barbara’s son Matt calls her “the warmest, funniest and most caring person you could ever meet.”

Barbara is survived by her daughter, Bobbi; her sons Duke, Brett and Matt, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband Don and eldest son Jocko.

Friday Flashback #105

In the incessant — but very important — debate over the future of the William F. Cribari Bridge, references are often made to the previous renovation, about 30 years ago.

At that time, a temporary span was constructed just north of the permanent one.

It took out a small gas station next to Mansion Clam House (now Parker Mansion). But it was — surprisingly — graceful, efficient, even loved.

Many Westporters wondered: Why don’t we just keep it?

It was a good question. And alert “06880” reader Ken Bernhard, who remembers it fondly, has another one: Was it made of wood?

If you know — or if you have any other memories of the Brigadoon-like Saugatuck River bridge — click “Comments” below.

Stop The Presses: Restaurant Actually OPENS In Westport

The restaurant gods take away, and then they giveth.

Just a day after Post 154 served its last, little-lamented meal downtown, Saugatuck welcomed its newest eatery.

In one of its oldest locations.

While dining at Rizzuto’s tonight, an alert “06880” reader noticed some activity across the street. He wandered over to see.

Parker Mansion — the reverently named successor to Mansion Clam House — is open for business.

Parker Mansion - front

Our diner was blown away by the interior. The formerly cramped ground floor is now wide and expansive.

Seating on the 2nd floor overlooks the action below.

Parker Mansion - view from 2nd floor

An outdoor deck will be packed in summer. Even tonight, the view of the river — and the bridge, still sporting holiday lights — was very cool.

Parker Mansion - view from deck

The menu includes steak, other meats and fish. There’s a wide selection of burgers, sandwiches, and “sides and sliders.” Soup specials change daily.

A number of familiar faces are behind the bar, and on the serving floor.

“This is one of those places you hope will make it,” our “06880” reporter says.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Parker Mansion!

A Tale Of 2 Restaurants

Westport’s Splash-less summer is nearing an end. The waterside restaurant at Longshore — and its very popular patio bar — closed last winter.

A new tenant — Pearl of Longshore — is leasing space from the town. But renovations are going slowly.

Very slowly.

As in, making the North Avenue/Merritt Parkway bridge project look like warp speed.

The steps to Splash, and the Inn at Longshore.

The steps to Splash.

Today, for example, no one was working.

The target date of December probably won’t be met.

And if the current pace proceeds, we may be looking at a 2nd Splash-less summer next year.

The scene today inside Splash...

The scene today inside Splash, after the entire summer…

...and outdoors.

…and outdoors.

Meanwhile, a full crew has been hard at work in Saugatuck.

They’re transforming the venerable Mansion Clam House into a very good looking Parker Steak House.

A new look for an old building.

A new look for an old building.

Sheetrocking is set for this week. They seem confident they’ll be done in 2 months.

A full crew working at Parker Steak House.

A full crew working at Parker Steak House.

The new interior features a handsome cathedral ceiling.

The new interior features a handsome cathedral ceiling.

When the workers are done at Parker Steak House, perhaps they can head over the river. A new job is waiting.

Checking Out The Mansion

In the heart of Saugatuck, it’s hard to miss: Every day, the former Mansion Clam House moves closer to its new incarnation as Parker Steak House.

The substantial portion of townsfolk who don’t like restaurant changes wonder what’s ahead. Owner Chris Costa — a longtime Westporter who bought the property from his uncle’s estate — sends this reassuring message to all:

I’m glad that my family contributed to Westport’s individual character for many years with the Mansion. It’s my intent that the building and grounds retain some of the salty dog touches that I too enjoy.

I intend to replace the fisherman on the roof. We are searching for a new mannequin now, and some foul weather gear. The old one was beyond repair for safe installation.

The quirky Mansion Clam House fisherman will be back -- in some form -- at the Parker Steak House.

The quirky Mansion Clam House fisherman will be back — in some form — at the Parker Steak House.

We will do parking lot and dock work too, once the structure is complete.

My passion for the individual character and spirit that has endeared Westport to me is alive and well. I too sometimes lament the homogenization of the beige stone and shingle world the town seems to have become.

We need individuality and diversification. The cookie-cutter thing doesn’t work for me.

I need to respect and balance the tenant’s design and wishes, and collaborate with things that can work to add all the character people fondly remember.

Work proceeded last month on the former Mansion Clam House. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

Work proceeded last month on the former Mansion Clam House. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

Not the least of that will be some very good food. To be clear: It will not solely be a steak house! While that is a focus, seafood of course will be well represented.

The operator is a great guy, very open to listening to customers to get them great food at fair prices and a welcoming atmosphere. He’s in this for the long haul.

I am too. This is not a trendy one-hit-and-done, in-and-out.

Time will tell. At the end of the day, the people are the voters.

We set the stage. They come. Everyone learns. Evolutions occur. And a good balance is achieved!

(Hey, “06880” readers! If you know where Chris Costa can find a good fisherman mannequin, click “Comments” below.)


Missing Fisherman Found

Many Westporters were sorry to see Mansion Clam House start morphing into Parker Steak House.

But lobster, shrimp and seafood aren’t the only losses. The Mansion fisherman — a mannequin that sat on the roof for years — disappeared as soon as construction began.

Yesterday, an alert “06880′ reader walking past the enclosed dining area beween Mansion and Julian’s’ spotted what she thinks is the fisherman — or at least, his legs — in a container.

(Photo/"Saugatuck Cindy")

(Photo/”Saugatuck Cindy”)

The rest of him is in the bottom of the container, somewhat smashed up.

If the fisherman could be salvaged, that would be quite a catch.


The Last Lobster

Workers on Riverside Avenue are busy turning the former Mansion Clam House into Parker Steaks. That’s bad news for seafood lovers — but good news for diners who miss the mainstay of Mario’s, now closed around the corner.

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

(Photo/Bob Mitchell)

What’s Up With This Mansion?

Word on the street — Riverside Avenue — was that Mansion Clam House may have closed.

It was shut Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There’s no activity today. The sign in front of the building is gone, and the exterior lights have been on for a few days. It looks deserted.

But folks in the know say Mansion will try to open on Friday.

Let’s hope it’s just a bump in the road — Riverside Avenue — for this long-lived, much-loved Westport institution.

Mansion Clam House

Mansion Clam House (file photo).


Saugatuck Mansion For Sale

Today’s Saugatuck news includes something new (the opening of a new ice cream parlor) — and something old that may be new.

The building housing the Mansion Clam House — the longtime down-home restaurant next to the Bridge Street bridge — is for sale.

Mansion Clam House

Mansion Clam House

Listed for $2,875,000, it’s described as a

rare investment opportunity in newly revitalized Saugatuck Center with direct river frontage! Two buildings with triple net leases and dock rebuilding potential. Great cash flow and future growth as bustling local only continues to grow. Dynamite setting!

Mansion Clam House has had its troubles. But it remains a favorite place for casual dining, in a great setting. You gotta love that fisherman on the roof.

And “dock rebuilding” sounds very enticing.