Tag Archives: Saugatuck Grain & Grape

Town’s Oldest Liquor License Now At Newest Location

State regulations limit the number of liquor store permits allowed in each municipality. There’s a strict formula, based on population.

Westport has only 10. If owners move within a town, they can take their permit to a new location.

That’s what Saugatuck Grain + Grape has done. After decades on Railroad Place, the store moved to new digs on Post Road West.

Saugatuck Grain + Grape is now at 375 Post Road West.

Baird van Beever and Mimi McLaughlin have owned the store for 7 years. But the permit — which van Beever is “pretty sure” is the oldest active one in Westport — began with 2 brothers.

They sold it to Ed Strauss. Known as Depot Liquors — and blessed by its location steps away from the train station, plus excellent customer service — it thrived.

But these days, van Beever says, more Westporters telecommute, or drive to work in places that are not New York.

Parking is an issue. And the pending development of Railroad Place made continuing at that site questionable.

Van Beever knows about tradition. A 5th generation Saugatuck resident — the Haehl Insurance Agency is part of his family — he’s had a long career in the food and beverage industry.

He worked at Mansion Clam House throughout high school and college, then helped opened restaurants throughout Fairfield and Westchester Counties.

His passion is wine. With 2 kids, he was glad to get out of restaurants, and into the liquor store business.

Baird van Beever, in his new store.

He welcomes the move to 375 Post Road West. (That’s the small shopping center with Born of Earth and Propper Chiropractic.)

Whole Foods is nearby. Van Beever anticipates shoppers stopping in to pair a wine with the food they’ve just bought. He notes that Dan’s Liquors — next to Fresh Market — enjoys similar proximity.

Though the location is new, most things remain the same. Saugatuck Grain + Grape still offers wine tastings. All products are still hand selected. There’s still a wide variety of bitters.

But one thing, van Beever admits, is different.

“We did a lot of single beer sales at the station,” he says. “People would stop in and pick up a bottle on the way to Yankee Stadium. We don’t see that anymore.”

Grana Pastificio: Pasta Just Like Nonna Made!

Back in the day, Saugatuck was a real Italian neighborhood. That meant real Italian stores — and real Italian food.

The neighborhood has changed — several times. But down by the train station, a new store with old-world roots promises to link the Saugatucks of yesterday and today.

Grana Pastificio nestles in a corner of Winfield Street Italian Deli (which earlier this year took over the Cocoa Michelle/Bonjo site).

The name means “small grain pasta factory.” The tiny shop fills a niche left when Villarina’s closed last fall. But it’s much more than a chain store in a shopping mall.

Grana Pastificio's entrance on Railroad Place.

Grana Pastificio’s entrance on Railroad Place.

Grana Pastificio fronts the train station. Commuters are its main customers — and, of course, the railroad was built by Italians.

Owners Eni Jimenez and Thomas Tenaglia are brothers. In 1935, their great-grandfather opened a macaroni shop in Stamford. Their grandmother worked there. Starting at age 10, they received a doctorate in pasta from her.

Eni studied to be a physician’s assistant. Thomas went to HVAC school. But they’d always had restaurant jobs, and a year ago they started researching the retail market for pasta.

When they met the Winfield Deli owner, they struck gold.

“We love old world traditions,” Eni says. That’s not idle talk. The brothers hand roll, hand cut and hand knead everything. They do their own cheeses, and mill their own grains. The only machinery is a refrigerator.

Emi Jimenez (left) and Thomas Tenaglia, hard at work.

Eni Jimenez (left) and Thomas Tenaglia, hard at work. A mural will soon replace the bare wall behind them.

In the morning, commuters pick up order sheets. They check their choices — hand cut pappardelle, spaghetti alla Chitarra, fettucine, tagliatelle, garganelli, lasagna sheets. bucatini, rigatoni, lumache, gemelli, macaroni, shells and much more — and can opt for whole wheat, squid ink, red pepper or teff.

There’s also ravioli, cappelletti, tortellini, agnolotti and mezzeluna, stuffed with ricotta, beef, port, shrooms, ruffle Ricotta or burrata — plus cavatelli and gnocchi. Sauces include bolognese, tomato and pesto.

Customers select their pick-up time that evening. (All Eni and Thomas really need is an hour or two.)

The brothers pair their pasta with wines at nearby Saugatuck Grain and Grape. They also recommend cheeses.

Coming soon: imported olive oil, and weekly pasta-making classes.

A few of the many pastas at Grana Pastificio.

A few of the many pastas at Grana Pastificio.

The idea is for commuters to make fresh pasta at home — easily and quickly. Because it’s so fresh (with no preservatives), the pasta takes just 5 minutes to boil in salted water.

The brothers deliver excess food to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

“We’re bringing back old-world traditions — and old-style types of pasta,” Eni says. “We take pride in what we do.”

Longtime Saugatuck residents will take pride in Grana Pastificio.

The many Westport newcomers, too.

(For more information email info@granapastificio.com, or call 203-557-3855.)

Hey, No One Can Ever Accuse Them Of False Advertising!

Seen today outside Saugatuck Grain & Grape, across from the train station:

saugatuck grain & grape

Farmer’s Market Forks It Over

The Whelk was hopping tonight.

Bill Taibe’s popular, sustainably fresh Saugatuck restaurant hosted the 3rd of 4 Westport Farmers’ Market “Fork It Over” fundraisers.

Farmers MarketIn addition to the Whelk’s great food — the Mexican theme included guacamole with grasshoppers (!); ceviche with local shrimp, lobsters and razor clams; tacos including chorizo and burnt scallions, blood sausage and squash, and smoked brisket and adobo — there was sangria and watermelon tequila punch from Saugatuck Grain & Grape, the Whelk’s around-the-corner neighbor. All the fruit and vegetables came from Easton’s Sport Hill Farm.

Taibe, and chefs Geoff Lazlo and Avi Benson of The Whelk and Le Farm, mingled with the 60 guests, and spoke about their dishes.

They — and all the food purveyors — were happy to help the Farmers’ Market. They believe in its mission: helping “real farmers connect with real consumers over real food.”

The Farmers’ Market does that in many ways, beyond its May-to-November Thursday Imperial Avenue markets. There’s a Saturday winter market, at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens.

Plus, the food that Staples High School’s culinary classes use, when they prepare meals for the Gillespie Center.

And the usual expenses for any non-profit: insurance, attorneys, accountants…

Lori Cochran-Dougall, Westport Farmers' Market director.

Lori Cochran-Dougall, Farmers’ Market director.

The winter market costs organizers $15,000 a year. Director Lori Cochran-Dougall says the Farmers’ Market has raised vendors’ fees only $50 over the past 8 years.

That’s why the Market is running these “Fork It Over” fundraisers. And doing it in their typical fun, friendly fashion.

If you missed the 1st 3, no problem. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (Monday, October 7) for the final event (Sunday, October 20).

To get info, you must be on the Farmers’ Market email list (click here).

But even with tickets, you won’t find out where the event is — or the theme — until the morning of the dinner.

Kind of like going to the Farmers’ Market itself, and happily discovering whatever is on sale that day.

Love For Buggie

Buggie is a cute, lovely 5-year-old girl. Three days after Christmas, she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive brain tumor.

She’s part of the Lundell/Hofstetter clan — 2 families that have been in Westport for decades, and done plenty for the town.

“Our entire family has been thrown into a crash course in pediatric oncology, psychology, neurology, and physical therapy,” says the website LoveforBuggie.

Buggie has been strong.  On her last day of radiation therapy she kissed the machine, held up 2 fingers, said “Peace out” — and blew kisses to the medical staff.

Love For BuggieBut on top of the devastating diagnosis, there are astronomical medical bills that will not be covered by the family’s premium insurance plan.

Family members and friends are uniting to raise funds, to achieve the best care and treatment for what they call “our beautiful and brave Bug.”

An open house is planned for this Saturday (May 11, 2 to 9 p.m.) at 15 Bridge Street, on the corner of Imperial Avenue.

Food will be catered by The Spread. Drinks are courtesy of Saugatuck Grain & Grape. The Eugene Ruffalo Trio will provide music.

All — including children! — are welcome. If you can’t be there but would like to contribute, checks (payable to “The Lundell Fund”) may be sent to Morgan Stanley, c/o The Saugatuck Group, 320 Post Road West, Westport CT 06880.