Tag Archives: Positano’s restaurant

Pics Of The Day #597

The old Positano’s — and before that, Cafe de la Plage, other restaurants and (way back in the day) grocery stores — was demolished today. Soon, a 4-bedroom home will take its place.

The view from just off Hillspoint Road … (Photo/Chris Tait)

… and from Old Mill Beach. (Photo/Robin Tauck)

Former Positano’s Finally Goes Down

Last month — when “06880” reported that Peter Nisenson flood-proofed, refurbished and saved 201 Main Street, the “little red house” on the Saugatuck River that had been slated for demolition — readers rejoiced.

Now Nisenson and his PEN Building Company are about to start work on another property. It’s a new structure — but it sits on one of the most visible corners in Westport.

For decades, 233 Hillspoint Road has been the site of commercial ventures, in the heart of the Old Mill residential neighborhood. First a grocery store, the 2-story building later housed restaurants, including Cafe de la Plage and Positano’s.

This morning, it became Westport’s latest teardown.

The view from Old Mill Beach, as the former Positano’s and Cafe de la Plage was demolished this morning. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Over the next year, Nisenson will build a new home there. He and the owner have spent a couple of years planning how best to utilize the awkward-shaped lot — while maintaining the neighborhood character, and views admired by all Westporters.

“It’s a very public property,” Nisenson notes. “It was important to create something that blends in.”

The new house will be pushed back from the road. A dense buffer zone with native plants will provide privacy in back for the owners. But it’s on a public beach. The property ends where the sand begins — so Old Mill will remain the same as it’s always been.

The sidewalk in front will remain too.

The former restaurant has been vacant for nearly 4 years. Neighbors — and everyone else who loves the beach area — hope that Nisenson’s new project will be as well received as his Little Red House.

Photo Challenge #184

“06880” readers circled around last week’s Photo Challenge.

Some thought Patricia McMahon’s image of 3 concrete pillars — framed by ivy — came from Compo Beach. (Click here for the photo.)

Others figured Burying Hill Beach or Cockenoe Island.

In fact, it was the former Positano’s. Before that, the restaurant was Cafe de la Plage (and others).

Always, it’s been on Hillspoint Road between Old Mill and Compo.

Elaine Marino finally got the right answer, at 9 p.m. Sunday. She added: “I presume they were put there to prevent patrons from parking on the grass behind Positano’s.”

I presume plenty of people will look for those pillars on their next beach walk.

This week’s Photo Challenge shows a spot many Westporters know. Others have never heard of it.

It’s well worth a visit. If you know where you’d go to see it, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Vacant Restaurant Vexes Residents

Over a year ago — on December 31, 2014 — Positano’s restaurant closed its location on Old Mill Beach. The property had been sold.

It reopened next to the Westport Country Playhouse, to the delight of many. But neighbors of the now-vacant building on Hillspoint Road have a beef.

The other day, 10 of them e-mailed “06880”:

The building formerly occupied by Positano’s at Old Mill Beach has been empty for over a year now. It is reaching blight proportions, with its faded yellow stucco, wide-open back window (into and out of which skunks and other creatures happily go) and bleak disrepair.

The back of the old Positano's restaurant, with a wide-open back window.

The back of the old Positano’s restaurant, with a wide-open back window.

In response to a letter Dalma Heyn wrote to the Westport News a few months ago, lamenting the loss of the restaurant ‘s vitality to our community and asking what was going on, the building’s owner kindly contacted her and revealed as much as he felt he could divulge at the time.

But months roll on, and still we have no answers. What or who is blocking progress, and why? How can we help move it forward? Show up for meetings? Sign a petition?

If it’s a lawsuit that’s stopping progress, does that squelch information — and do we have legal recourse, based on impact on property value? Why aren’t our emails requesting information answered? Rumors fly.

A view of the vacant Positano's, from Hillspoint Road.

A view of the vacant Positano’s, from Hillspoint Road.

In the meantime, where is Westport’s blight-prevention ordinance — which states that the town will intervene if a building is dilapidated?

The building is not just an eyesore. Once illuminated by the restaurant, and filled with visitors, Old Mill Beach and this stretch of Hillspoint Road are now pitch black at night, when so many people are out walking. Too, anyone with thoughts of renting or selling a home here must confront prospective buyers’ justifiable alarm — and his own infuriating ignorance.

We are an engaged, active community, and this is an historic district that must be protected and nurtured. We — and residents from all over Westport — see each other at breakfast or lunch at Elvira’s. We sit on the benches with our kids and grandkids. We walk our dogs together.

The menu is gone from its former spot, next to the front door of the restaurant.

The menu is gone from its former spot, next to the front door of the restaurant. (Photos/Dalma Heyn)

All Westporters treasure this charming beach community, which has long been a destination for all residents who want to hang out at the sound. We’re tired of the bizarre vacuum in which we find ourselves. We are once again politely asking the town for both a status report and for information about the process that will move this forward — and what part we can play, if any, in helping it do so.

It’s time our elected officials spoke to us.

Cordially,

Dalma Heyn, Richard Marek, Peter de Caprio, Karen Silverstein, Wanda and Craig Steinke, Eileen Winnick, Wendy Giffords, Mary and Peter Green