Tag Archives: Spotted Horse restaurant

Pop (Up) Goes The Library Shop

The Westport Library’s Transformation Project roars along. It’s on schedule to be finished in June.

Of course, the library is still open. But to make sure that holiday shoppers don’t miss a chance to buy goodies from its store, the library has opened a pop-up shop.

It’s in Bedford Square — across from the Spotted Horse restaurant, and most recently the site of the CronArt gallery.

The space is filled with greeting cards, reading glasses, cards and notepads, socks and scarves, booties and onesies, toys, games, building sets, novelties, bags and pouches, jewelry, umbrellas, tech gadgets, decorative lighting, maker kits and more.

A few of the many items available at the Westport Library pop-up store …

Some items are handmade. Some are quirky. There’s something for everyone, of any age.

This being the library shop — even off-site — there are even books for sale. Fiction, mystery, coffee table, children’s books — you’ll find them all. The selection changes weekly.

The pop-up shop is open through the end of the year: weekdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 12-5 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Westport Library.

… and some of the books.

Pic Of The Day #208

Spotted Horse restaurant. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Donald Trump “Spotted” In Westport

No, this is not an April Fool’s story. Donald Trump was seen at the Spotted Horse last night.

At least, a cardboard cutout of him was.

Donald Trump

He — or it — arrived in Avi Kaner’s car trunk. The second selectman’s wife Liz was lobbying in Washington a few weeks ago. Waiting for her train home, she went into a souvenir store and purchased the cardboard fold-up “Donald.”

Since then, he’s made appearances at various town events — including graduation parties.

Whether you like the presumptive Republican nominee’s politics or loathe them, you gotta admit: He’s a stand-up guy.

(Hat tip: Francis Fiolek)

Just Desserts

It may not be enough to entice you away from the Trumbull Mall, Stamford Mall or Amazon Mall.

But between now and New Year’s Eve, the Spotted Horse is offering a free dessert (1 per table) to anyone showing a receipt from a Westport store.

“Shop local. Eat local. Spend local. Enjoy local,” the campaign says.

Pack on those local calories, too.

Spotted Horse logo

Private Lot! Keep Out!

Sure, 36 Church Lane is a private building — with a private parking lot.

But the owners — who have posted several stern signs, warning that anyone parking there for the (Spotted Horse) restaurant next door will be towed — might take a lesson from Mitchells.

That store always offers its lot for Sakura overflow. And the nearby Conservative Synagogue, on holidays.

I understand “No Parking” during business hours. (The Mitchells lot is a lot larger than 36 Church Lane.)

But at night and weekends, when the lot is empty?

And isn’t the chain stretched across the entrance a bit much?

36 Church Lane, Westport CT

Moving Stories

The proposal to move the Gunn House — the Queen Anne building facing Church Lane — a few yards across Elm Street, to the Baldwin parking lot, has generated lots of comments on “06880.”

It’s an intriguing idea — but it’s not exactly novel.

Today’s plan pales in comparison with a move more than 60 years ago. In 1950 Saugatuck Congregational Church — yes, the entire church — moved across and down the Post Road.

Saugatuck Congregational Church today.

Saugatuck Congregational Church today.

The handsome building looks like it’s always been there. But from 1832 through the mid-20th century, the church sat 600 feet away — where the gas station and bank are now, behind the Baron’s South property near the corner of South Compo.

The church parsonage was located where it is today, near Myrtle Avenue. That house and 8 acres of land were a gift from Morris K. Jesup, in 1884.

A special meeting of the congregation on September 11, 1947, authorized the relocation of the meetinghouse to the parsonage property.

Three years later — in the early dawn of August 28, 1950 — the Post Road was blocked. 500 men, women and children gathered for a service of prayer and thanksgiving.

Then — at 60 feet per hour — the 200-ton building was moved down a 19-foot incline on 55 logs, which revolved under runners. “This is more fun than a cocktail party!” one “Westport matron” told Life magazine.

By nightfall, the 128-year-old Saugatuck Church had a new home. Six decades later, it looks like it’s been there forever.

Saugatuck Congregational Church move

Life Magazine chronicled the church move in its September 11, 1950 issue.

Life Magazine chronicled the church move in its September 11, 1950 issue.

Other notable moves include the white office building in the back of Colonial Green (it started at the front of the property, now the site of Webster Bank — directly across from Saugatuck Church); a white barn that was once part of Nyala Farm (it was moved across Green’s Farms Road, into a meadow), and the house at 97 Hillspoint Road, relocated in 1960 when Hillspoint School was built.

And, of course, the Sherwood House. A dilapidated structure, it was brought a few yards closer to the street. That helped create a lively scene, with great outdoor dining, for the new tenant: the Spotted Horse restaurant.

Which is, of course, directly opposite the hopefully-soon-t0-be-moved Gunn House.

Big Plans For A Little Downtown

Here are some new renderings of Bedford Square — the retail/restaurant/ residential complex planned for the Church Lane area, once the Westport Y departs for Mahackeno.

Looking west, down Church Lane. The original Y building is at the left in this drawing.

Looking west, down Church Lane. The original Y building is at the far left in this drawing.

Looking east, up Church Lane toward Christ & Holy Trinity. The Spotted Horse is on the right.

Looking east, up Church Lane toward Christ & Holy Trinity. The Spotted Horse is on the right.

Church Lane again. This time Urban Outfitters is on the left.

Church Lane again. This time Urban Outfitters is on the left.

A view from behind, of the renovations to the original YMCA Bedford Building.

A view from behind, of the renovations to the original YMCA Bedford Building.

A view of Church Lane, from the corner of Elm Street (on the right).

A view of Church Lane, from the corner of Elm Street (on the right).

Looks like a lot of changes to downtown, right?

For a vastly different perspective, check out this aerial view of Westport, looking east. (Post Road West is at the bottom of the photo, leading to the Post Road bridge. The athletic fields on the lower right are between King’s Highway and Saugatuck Elementary Schools.)

Suddenly, downtown seems quite small.

And very insignificant.

Downtown aerial view

(Photo credit: From the Air.)

Times Touts Tavern

Tomorrow’s New York Times contains a review of the Spotted Horse Tavern. Patricia Brooks likes it as much as the hordes of Westporters who have flocked there since it opened in March.

Among the highlights:

It “has the homey, tavernesque décor of a longtime establishment, with simple, unadorned wooden tables, wood flooring and exposed beams…. The only modern touches are the three framed photo blowups of horse heads on the dining room walls. Never mind that only one horse has spots.”

The Spotted Horse (and the horse).

As in many pubs, brew pubs or taverns, the Spotted Horse menu is fairly concise, but here the food is a lot more sophisticated and better-prepared than basic pub grub. This may be why, even midweek, the dining room is a feeding frenzy during peak hours and the U-shaped bar is occupied three-deep. The moderate prices might also have something to do with it.

The choices are limited; one can select from seven entrees. But they cover most bases — sea, land, air — and are anything but old-time ordinary.

Brooks praised much of the menu. She wrote:

(A) humongous single grilled pork chop, tender beyond belief, marinated — believe this — in Dr Pepper soda, comes with a purée of sweet potato infused with a murmur of vanilla at a price of $21.95. At the same price, a glistening pan-roasted Atlantic salmon filet — barely cooked, as requested — swims in a creamy, well-made sweet pea risotto. Just as delicious, at $14.95, is the grilled “under a brick” half chicken, moist, fully flavored and snuggled into a mound of creamy polenta.

The famous pork chop.

Of course, all was not perfect: “(W)hile the chicken and black bean empanadas were spicy and flavor-rich, especially when dipped into their creamily piquant lime sauce, they needed more filling, less of the heavy pastry casket.”

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

But reviews like this come at a price. The Times has juice. For the next few weeks, finding a table at the Spotted Horse will be tougher than ever.

As Westporters Have Said For Many Years…

You know spring is here
When the Spotted Horse outdoor tables appear.


Spotted Horse Gallops Into Town

Downtown Westport rocked tonight like it hasn’t in years.

It wasn't easy getting in the Spotted Horse door last night.

An opening-night party for the Spotted Horse — the new restaurant in the 210-year-old Sherwood House on Church Lane — drew a wall-to-wall, out-the-door crowd.

If they come back when the Champagne and food isn’t free — which they undoubtedly will — that crowd will transform downtown.

The Spotted Horse fills a gaping hole there: a restaurant with a great but casual menu; an enormous and inviting bar; a killer sound system; warm decor — plus outdoor seating.

Until I walked in — and was embraced by the welcoming ambience — I didn’t realize exactly what’s been missing downtown for years.

Spotted Horse owner Tommy Febbraio, and the opening-night crowd.

Owners Kevin McHugh and Tommy Febbraio are Staples grads. They’re experienced restaurateurs — but this is their 1st Westport venture. They know they have to do it right. And they will.

The Spotted Horse will draw folks downtown again, breathing life into a district that was gasping for it. Other downtown restaurants — Bobby Q’s, Tavern on Main, etc. — need not worry.

As they say at the nearby Saugatuck River: A rising tide lifts all boats.