Tag Archives: STAR Inc.

Bistro Du Soleil Serves Up Fine Food — And Art

There are 2 types of excellent restaurants in Westport:

The ones everyone talks about. You know what they are.

And the ones that don’t get much buzz at all. Like Bistro du Soleil.

Tucked away in a corner of the old Saugatuck post office — on Riverside Avenue just before the train station, next to now-departed Westport Auction — the Mediterranean-with-a-French-flair spot is beloved by everyone who knows it.

But not everyone does.

Bistro du Soleil is a family affair. Owner Maria Munoz del Castillo works alongside her parents, Soledad and Bernardo. They came to the US in the 1980s.

Soledad was trained as a French chef. Bernardo — a craftsman as well as a restaurateur — lovingly made every table, the outdoor seating and handsome wooden bar. He’s also a playwright and poet.

Bernardo Munoz del Castillo (right) hand-crafted this handsome wooden bar.

Bistro du Soleil is more than a great restaurant. Since it opened 2 years ago, over 200 local and international artists have had their work highlighted on the sunflower gold walls.

Next up: Peter Saverine. A public reception to meet him, see his art, and enjoy wine and treats is set for this Sunday (August 4, 4 to 7 p.m.).

Like Bistro du Soleil, Saverine is a strong believer in giving back. He wants his art to be affordable, so he’s priced it at $20 to $450.

One of Peter Saverine’s works …

When he offered to donate a portion of his sales to a local non-profit, Soledad asked him to choose one supporting women and girls. Saverine selected Project Return, the Homes with Hope facility on North Compo Road that helps homeless young women rebuild their lives.

Like Bistro du Soleil’s owner, Saverine has an intriguing background. Professionally he’s director of philanthropy at STAR, the non-profit serving area residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

But he’s also a self-taught artist. His seascapes capture familiar scenes along Long Island Sound, Cape Cod and Nantucket. Compo Beach is a frequent inspiration.

… and another.

Saverine also authored a children’s book about a mermaid: “Jenny’s Pennies — A Nantucket Tradition.”

Great food and wine; fine (and affordable) art; a wonderful cause — it’s all there Sunday.

Whether you’re a Bistro du Soleil fan or never heard of the place, this is a wonderful reason to stop by.

The Rubber Band STARs

On Thursday night, STAR held its annual “Galaxy of Gourmets” event.

Among Fairfield County’s many worthy organizations, STAR is a star. Since 1952 it’s offered programs and services for anyone in the area, of any age, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The fundraiser was certainly fun. Aitoro turned its appliance showroom into a showcase for nearly 2 dozen restaurants, delis and caterers. Westport was represented by A & S, Grana Pastificio, Le Rouge, Winfield Street Italian Deli and A Dash of Salt Catering.

The food was fantastic. Meeting and mingling with STAR families and supporters was rewarding.

Pork, chicken and spicy meatballs were part of the treats.

Pork, chicken and spicy meatballs were part of the menu.

But one of the biggest treats was the Rubber Band.

Formed 15 years ago to provide an outlet for STAR-related musicians, the hard-working rock group includes staff members Nancy Armstrong and Mark Minnock, who lead 6 or more STAR participants and occasional guest performers.

The group rehearses a couple of times a month, and performs many times a year.

They play for STAR’s Music Club, and are regular participants at the Oyster Festival, Norwalk Concerts on the Green, Sono Arts Festival and  STAR’s Walk, 5k Run & Roll at Sherwood Island each May.

They’ve ventured further afield too, to venues like Toad’s Place, the Georgetown Saloon, Cobb’s Mill Inn and the Ridgefield Playhouse.

Here’s their version of “Johnny B. Goode.” Chuck Berry — move over!