Tag Archives: Tavern on Main

Roundup: Art For Auction; The Future Of The Arts; Tavern On Main; Trader Joe’s; More


Olivia Macior graduated from Staples High School last June. For weeks, she waited for things to get back to normal. Now — in the wake of George Floyd’s murder — she wants something different: a “new normal.”

It’s “a normal where people of color don’t have to fear the very people who should be protecting them; where education is equitable; where the criminal justice system is fair and lawful, and racial injustice does not plague every aspect of our lives.”

Inspired by the words of Angela Davis — “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” — she is using her considerable art talents to help.

Her powerful work is up for auction on Facebook, through June 21. 100% of the winning bid will go to Black Lives Matter. Click here; then message her with your bid, via Facebook or at ohmacior@gmail.com.


Not everyone agreed with yesterday’s Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Westport. This graffiti was seen this morning at the boarded-up Tiffany store:

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)


Westporters in the know know: No one beats the Y’s Men for hosting insightful, thought-provoking speakers. Thursday’s — their first via Zoom — was typical: informative, wide-ranging, both global and local.

Andrew Wilk — executive producer and director of “Live From Lincoln Center” — moderated a discussion on the future of the Westport Country Playhouse, and arts in general, in the wake of COVID-19.

Panelists included Playhouse artistic director Mark Lamos, general manager Michael Barker and actor Jake Robards.

The 30-minute chat ranged from the many issues impacting the Playhouse reopening — like safety, audience response and finances — to the importance of live performances. Click below to view:


As restaurants around Westport reopen, at least one will not.

An online auction is underway for many items at Tavern on Main: food service equipment, outdoor patio sets, decor and smallware.

It’s the end of the last sit-down, full-service restaurant on the main part of Main Street. It had a long run — and so did its predecessor, Chez Pierre.

No word yet on what — if anything — will replace it.


Nearly a dozen retailers are helping Home with Hope collect liquid dish detergent, all-purpose cleaners, soap, paper towels, sponges and sanitizing wipes. All donations go to families living in the organization’s supportive housing.

Hours are 10 a.m. 2 p.m. for all collections. There’s a box outside Restore Hyper Wellness (877 Post Road East) every day.

Other stores, with collection days:

  • Thursdays: ASF Sporting Goods (1560 Post Road East); UPS (606 Post Road East)
  • Fridays: West (117 Post Road East); Blow Dry (76 Church Lane)
  • Saturdays: Verizon (379 Post Road East); Fleet Feet (10 Sconset Square)
  • Sundays: The Granola Bar (275 Post Road East)
  • Mondays: Greenwich Medical Spa (645 Post Road East.)
  • Tuesdays: New England Hemp Farm (136 Main Street)
  • Wednesdays: Green + Tonic (17 Jesup Road)

Questions? Email westport@restore.com


How’s this for a way to treat the frontline workers we have been hailing as heroes?

Trader Joe’s had a picnic table at the back of their parking lot. It was a nice place for employees — sorry, “crew members” — to eat, or take a break.

The other night, it was stolen. (Hat tip: David Meth)


Eighth graders missed their “moving up” ceremony this year. But — thanks to the Bedford and Coleytown Middle School PTAs  — the 400-plus graduates are having their day in the sun.

Now, as you see these signs throughout Westport, you know who to thank.


Speaking of graduates, Margo Amgott writes:

“We’ve seen all the great signs celebrating Staples seniors. But there are others who are sheltering in Westport. We’ve long been weekenders, and after COVID now here we are!

“Could we do a shout-out to those transplanted seniors? The lovely people at Baker Graphics helped me make these for our daughter.” (The other sign — not shown — congratulates Molly for her acceptance at Trinity College.)

Great idea, Margo! Here’s too all Class of 202 grads! Wherever you went — and wherever you’re going — out town salutes you.


And speaking yet again of graduates …

St. Paul Christian School celebrated the end of the year with a drive-through closing celebration. Children received a diploma, yearbook and blessing from their teachers.


Tomorrow (Sunday, July 7, 5  p.m., Klein Memorial Auditorium, Bridgeport), a number of Westport congregations are participating in an “Interfaith Prayer for Racial Justice & Healing.” Masks are mandatory, and social distancing is enforced.


And finally … it’s hard to believe I haven’t posted this yet. I guess I was waiting for the exact right time.

Unsung Heroes #119

The other day, I posted a story about a long, important RTM meeting. After 3 hours, our town’s legislative body voted narrowly — 18-16 — against a motion to ban recreational marijuana sales in Westport. (Such sales are not yet legal in Connecticut.)

That was typical of our Representative Town Meeting. Once a month they meet to debate and approve town and education budgets, and all town appropriations over $20,000; enact ordinances; review bonds, leases, sales and purhcases of town property; review zoning, recreation and other regulations, and oversee labor agreements with town and Board of Education employees.

They meet much more frequently in committees. Each member serves on several.

It’s time-consuming, arduous and thankless work. And every 2 years, RTM members must run for re-election.

Fortunately, serving on the body is not all work and no play. Last week, 23 members — along with the town clerk and RTM secretary — gathered for lunch at Tavern on Main.

Member Matthew Mandell — whose day job is executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — organized the event. It was a way for everyone to spend time together outside of Town Hall. (And yes, for the Chamber to promote Restaurant Week.)

The RTM lunch at Tavern on Main.

It was the middle of election season. But, Mandell says, “people enjoyed that we could all sit together. Political party means nothing to us” — the RTM is non-partisan.

“It was nice to just BS, and not discuss any issue coming before us, or even around town. The RTM has had some late nights recently. This was a good break.”

(Even though there was a quorum, no official notice was required. “Social gatherings do not constitute an illegal meeting — just fun,” explains town clerk Patty Strauss.)

“The RTM is a collegial bunch who volunteer a lot of time to the town,” Mandell notes.

So, to all 36 members — and all the others, running for a seat — thank you for all you do for Westport. You are our Unsung Heroes of the Week.

We hope you enjoyed your lunch. Now get back to work!

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

 

Pic Of The Day #790

Westport is decked out in purple, for Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Week. Through Saturday, Tavern on Main features a violet gin cocktail; LaRouge by Aarti handmade chocolates is donating 10% of sales of purple hand-painted chocolates to Alzheimer’s Connecticut, and Spotted Horse will donate 20% of sales on Thursday, while featuring a specialty Purple People Eater cocktail.

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)

“Supper And Soul” Returns Soon

It’s not New Orleans, where music follows you from restaurants and clubs all the way down the street.

And it’s not Italy, where strolling musicians entertain you as you dine.

But every couple of months, Westport comes close.

That’s when the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce sponsors the unique 3-part “Supper and Soul” series. A $75 ticket covers a 3-course meal at one of 5 downtown restaurants; a concert at Seabury Center, and happy hour pricing for post-concert drinks at any of those 5 places.

The first “Supper and Soul” took place in January. It was a cold night, but the enthusiastic crowd was warmed by the concept, the restaurant hosts and the music.

The next “Supper and Soul” is Saturday, April 28. The headliner is Vanessa Collier, a blues performer known for her charm, passion, soulful voice and searing sax solos.

For the past year Vanessa has toured Europe as a featured artist with Ruf’s Blues Caravan, and North America with her 5-piece band.

The 5 restaurants are 190 Main, Amis, Rothbard Ale + Larder, Spotted Horse and Tavern on Main. Each is an easy walk from Seabury Center.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. The concert follows at 8.

Tickets are bought online through the Chamber; reservations follow, on a first-come, first-served basis (also through the Chamber). Drinks and tips are not included in the ticket price.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Pic Of The Day #301

Main Street, in yesterday’s rain (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Tavern On Main: Yesterday On “Today”

If you watch the “Today” show, you may know that Craig Melvin has made a commitment to a vegetarian, alcohol-free diet this year.

You may also have seen yesterday’s segment on his “healthy reboot.” Filmed at Tavern on Main, it showcased the restaurant’s emphasis on incorporating healthy, seasonal produce in its menu. The Westport Farmers’ Market, for example, is a frequent source of food.

Tavern on Main

Melvin and his wife, ESPN’s Lindsay Czarnink, are frequent Tavern guests. Click here to see the segment.

Let There Be Lights!

Tonight — without fanfare — the new downtown street lights were turned on.

Just as importantly, the old cobra-style highway lights were shut off.

The new lamps — lower, warmer, nicer — are far kinder to Main Street. They also complement the lighting displays in many nearby stores.

The west side of Main Street...

A soft glow on the west side of Main Street…

...and the east. Note the new, user-friendly pedestrian crossing in front of Banana Republic too.

…and the east. Note the new, user-friendly pedestrian crossing in front of Banana Republic too.

Soon, the holiday decorations will be up. They will be far lovelier than last year’s sad zip-line effort.

Now all that’s left is for Eversource to remove the old lights. Let’s hope they move more quickly than the contractors on the Merritt Parkway North Avenue bridge.

Meanwhile, further north, a lone snowflake glistens near Oscar's...

Meanwhile, further north, a lone snowflake glistens near a new light by Oscar’s…

...while Tavern on Main boasts its traditional lamp, and a gorgeous wreath.

…while Tavern on Main boasts its traditional lamp, and a gorgeous wreath.

This Old House Is … Tavern On Main

On Wednesday, “06880” introduced a new feature: “This Old House.” Every Wednesday we’ll post a new photo of an old house. We hope to identify 12 of them prior to a Westport Historical Society exhibit on the preservation and change.

We started with a practice shot — one that exhibit curator Bob Weingarten had already identified:

Lost house 1 - March 4, 2015

“06880” readers placed it (literally) all over the map. Guesses included Kings Highway, Cross Highway, Long Lots Road, Baker Avenue, Hillspoint Road, South Compo Road, Avery Place, Canal Street, Riverside Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Partrick Road, Woodside Avenue and Wilton Road.

All were wrong. As Morley Boyd, Maureen Aron, Wendy Crowther and Kevin Martin noted, it’s on Main Street. Today we know it as Tavern on Main.

Tavern on Main 2

According to the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Historic Resources Inventory, the building was constructed in 1813 for grocer Levi  Downes. A former wing on the east elevation was occupied by the Downes School for Ladies, run by Levi’s daughter Esther.

The area lacks ownership documentation for the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, it is shown on a famous 1878 map of Westport this way: “River Side Institute for Ladies, Sophia V. Downes, Principal.” And the WPA archives identify the 1930s owner as “C. Van Wyck.”

Downs House - Tavern on Main

The Historic Resources Inventory says that by the early 1940s, the building contained several apartments. By 1948 they had been converted to offices. The 1954 town directory lists a gift shop, clothing store and 2 real estate offices at the address.

By 1965, part of the building became Chez Pierre. That famed restaurant remained in the space through the 1980s. Since 1996, it is the equally renowned Tavern on Main.

Morley Boyd adds this information: “In the 1920s and ’30s, buildings in the downtown area shuffled about with some regularity (Spotted Horse, Red Cross, Avery medical building, Christ & Holy Trinity parsonage [now up on Compo North, I think], the (lost) house on Gorham Island, the houses in back of Colonial Green, etc. What couldn’t be moved in whole was deconstructed and used in new construction (houses on Violet Lane).”

And, Dan Aron says, in the 1st half of the 20th century the building was the home of Robert and Marie Lawson. He was a noted author and illustrator of children’s classics like “Rabbit Hill” and “The Story of Ferdinand.”

There you have it: Everything you ever wanted to know about 146 Main Street.

Or whatever it was called then.

Remembering Kevin Brawley

Kevin Brawley — the easygoing owner of a number of popular Westport restaurants — died this past weekend. He was 59 years old.

2178700 (1)Kevin was a wrestler at Bedford Junior High and Staples High School (Class of 1973). Later, he and Danny Horelick opened Dunville’s, on Saugatuck Avenue. It quickly became one of Westport’s favorite gathering spots.

Kevin’s next venture was Tavern on Main. Decades later, little has changed from his original vision.

He later opened the River House on Riverside Avenue.

Tavern on MainKevin worked — and enjoyed — long hours at his businesses. He mentored dozens of employees, who themselves went on to own many local restaurants.

Friend, classmate and former wrestling teammate Chip Stephens says:

Kevin will be remembered for his gravelly voice and infectious laugh, his smile and being a host with the most, his huge circle of friends, and his ability to create and run dining and drinking establishments. Two of them still exist after decades — something very rare today.

 

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.