Plenty of people say they have faith in Westport. It’s a good town, they note. We’ve adapted to the coronavirus, and we’ll be even stronger once the pandemic is past.
It’s another thing entirely to put your money where your mouth is. (Or more accurately, where our mouths ae.)
At least 9 restaurants — Don Memo, Walrus Alley, Manna Toast, Hudson Malone, Organic Krush, Outpost Pizza, Mexica, Basso and Capuli — have opened in the 10 months since COVID completely upended the dining experience.
California-Mediterranean fusion is on the menu at Capuli, in the former Westport Pizzeria Post Road East space.
Think of it: At a time of capacity limits, fears of indoor seating, concerns whether anyone would eat outside in winter, and economic upheaval — added to the uncertainty and stress of the restaurant industry in “normal” times — these men and women planted their flag (and their food) here.
They’ve put both their money and their trust in us. They’ve given us many great dining options (and provided employment for many others.) That’s impressive.
Joining the newcomers as Unsung Heroes are all the restaurant owners who are adapting, innovating, and otherwise making it through these very tough times.
Jeera Thai, Ignazio’s, Rizzuto’s, The Cottage, Bistro du Soleil, Via Sforza, Tutti’s, Black Duck, Little Barn, Romanacci’s, Kawa Ni, Layla’s Falafel, Viva’s — they, and so many more, continue to serve great meals (and serve all of us).
So let’s do our share. Eat in or outside if you’re comfortable; take out if you’re not (they deliver!). Buy gift cards, for yourself or others.
And of course: Tip well!
Jeera Thai, downtown across from Design Within Reach., is one of Westport’s most flavorful restaurants.
It takes cojones to open a new restaurant in a pandemic.
But the Osorio family has faced adversity before. They persevered for years as owners of Villa del Sol on Elm Street, serving excellent food (and legendary frozen margaritas), even as construction of nearby Bedford Square made access (and ambience) difficult.
Last night they opened the doors to their new venture. Mexica (pronounced “ma-shee-ca”) replaces another Mexican restaurant, Señor Salsa, on Post Road West at South Sylvan. (It was, for years before that, the site of the popular Connolly’s steakhouse.)
The Osorio family, at Mexica.
Mexica Kitchen & Cantina is a tribute to the Osarios’ patriarch, Joe. He started Villa del Sol around 1998.
The menu is similar: traditional Mexican dishes with a twist, plus new items highlighting true Mexican food and culture. Like Villa del Sol, it is colorful, clean and fun. Of course tables are socially spaced, indoors and out. Takeout and curbside service are available.
Mexica restaurant. (Photos/Chip Stephens)
The distance from Elm Street to Post Road West is short. But the Osorios have traveled a long road of building issues, permits — and of course a pandemic — dating back to their previous restaurant.
Now Jennifer, Colleen and their family are back in business. They look forward to seeing old friends, and making new ones. Bienvenido, Mexica!
(Mexica’s phone number is 203-349-5392. Hat tip: Chip Stephens)
The tennis courts at Town Farm (North Compo Road) and Doubleday (behind Saugatuck Elementary School) open next Friday (June 5). Play is limited to singles, on only those courts with nets. For all tennis court rules and regulations, click here.
Beginning Monday (June 1), single rider and pull golf carts will be available at Longshore, through the 2 p.m. tee time. That ensures enough time for proper sanitation. Carts are limited, and available while supplies last.
As of Friday (June 5), Longshore tee times begin at 7 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. They remain at 8 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Play is extended daily; the last tee time is 7 p.m.
And — to the delight of young athletes throughout town, and runners of all ages — fields at Wakeman, Staples High School (including the outdoor track) and Kings Highway Elementary School open for individual use and exercise on Monday (June 1).
No organized, competitive, pick-up team play, practices or games are allowed. Groups can include no more than 5 people, and social distancing must be followed. Non-compliance may result in field closures, Parks & Recreation officials say.
NOTE: Jinny Parker (field hockey) Field at Staples, and PJ Romano Field at Saugatuck Elementary will be closed for the summer, due to construction.
Wakeman athletic fields
Every day you seen, sense and feel it: More and more activity, all around town.
This was the scene yesterday on Wilton Road. A long line at the Post Road light — it’s almost a welcome sight!
It takes a lot of cojones to open a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic
But that’s what the owners of Mexica are doing. The new spot — with similar cuisine — replaces Señor Salsa in the small Post Road West shopping center by Sylvan Lane.
Who doesn’t need a shot of tequila right now?!
You know all those bottles and can you’ve been collecting since the coronavirus hit, and Stop & Shop closed their return center?
Bring ’em back. The doors are open once again.
Except 7 to 7:30 a.m., and 2 to 2:30 p.m. The room is closed then, for cleaning.
JL Rocks started at Bungalow. Now the luxury jeweler and home emporium are separate stores. But owners Jamie Camche and Wende Cohen still collaborate.
They’ve survived the Great Recession — and now, a retail apocalypse — by offering great quality, exemplary customer service, and a unique aesthetic.
Safe 1-on-1 appointments, FaceTime consultations, curbside pick-ups and shipping have kept their many loyal customers delighted.
Jamie and Wende are working together on a new project: the “City of Lights” collection. They created a series of slim, stackable rings, each highlighted with a stunning diamond. Available in 14K yellow, white and rose gold, the 5 rings are inspired by Parisian landmarks: the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles and Notre Dame.
So what if the coronavirus has canceled your European trip? It’s a lot less expensive to buy a beautiful ring. You’ll have it forever. And you’re helping 2 wonderful women, whose 2 stores — and close partnership — has brought joy to so many Westporters.
Jamie Camche and Wende Cohen .(Photo/Jen Goldberg for Private Portraits)
And finally … when Paul Simon wrote “America” in 1966, our nation was in the midst of convulsive change. Half a century later — battered by a pandemic, polarized by beliefs, ripped apart by race and class and so many other divisions — we’re still empty and aching. And we don’t know why.
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