I’m not sure what was going on at 35 Church Lane this afternoon.
Drilling for oil?
Preparing for an expansion of The Spotted Horse, the wildly popular restaurant across the street?
Test borings to see if the Y really can expand into the space next door?
Whatever the answer, it’s clear there’s more action on Church Lane now than there has been in
years decades ever.
Can’t decide where to eat?
This spring and summer, Westport’s options get a whole lot more interesting.
Here’s what I’ve heard:
- The Spotted Horse is about to open in the Federal-style Sherwood House on Church Lane.
- A couple of doors down, the recently closed Manolo will become Sweet Basil.
- There’s a new restaurant coming into the basement (former jail, then a vault) level of the old Town Hall, next to Restoration Hardware.
- Bogey’s — shuttered since last summer — will reopen as a steak-and-burger place.
- An Indian restaurant (Rasoi) and Asian place (Bistro 88) are moving into Bridge Square.
- Jasmine — the long-ago Arrow — is returning to life as a new restaurant.
- Terraine — the eco-friendly shop rising on the site of Curran Cadillac — will feature “locally sourced and prepared artisan foods.”
Fairfield: “Eat” your heart out!
Church Lane is a-changin.’
The 1802 Federal-style Sherwood House has been renovated, moved closer to the street, and opens next week as the Spotted Horse tavern.
The old Metro Swim shop — and before that, a typewriter repair place — has been reworked into a modern Urban Outfitters store.
Today — in brilliant spring weather — one new-old building was reflected in another.
Causing Westporters to reflect on our old-new downtown.
You can’t tell from this photo, but the gas lamps flickered today outside the Spotted Horse, the almost-ready-to-open restaurant in the Federal-style Sherwood House on Church Lane. The lamps lend a great touch to a loving restoration of the 1802 building in the heart of downtown.
Meanwhile, Urban Outfitters plans to open Thursday. One entrance is on the Post Road, next to Patagonia. A 2nd entrance is on Church Lane — next to the Spotted Horse.
Being able to walk through the store — as well as the new configuration of the parking lot and parking garage separating it from the new restaurant — will add a different dynamic to downtown. The sum of this redevelopment may be greater than its parts.
“Everyone thinks we’re opening another Grey Goose here,” says Kevin McHugh. “We’re not. It’s the Spotted Horse.”
The new restaurant in the old Federal-style Sherwood House on Church Lane across from the Y will be “a step above” McHugh’s Southport cafe, the Staples grad says.
The Spotted Horse's new fence and gas lamps, looking east with Christ & Holy Trinity Church in the background.
As workers installed gas lamps today — and put the finishing touches on a handsome, low white fence — Kevin gave a quick tour of the interior.
He pointed with pride to Colonial elements that remain in place or have been restored, as well as the exposed rustic beams.
But a great horseshoe-shaped bar is taking shape too. Hey, it’s the Spotted Horse, right?
People say they feel a “2012 version of Tavern on Main” vibe. It will be “rustic, with a contemporary equestrian theme,” Kevin says.
It will also have — at least at the start — the imprint of Pedro Garzon. The former owner of Manolo — almost next door — will open the restaurant as a consultant.
And the Spotted Horse will have a Continental menu, with no dish over $22.95.
The opening is scheduled for mid-March.
Exposed beams and restored elements highlight the restaurant's interior.