Tag Archives: Tavern on Main

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.

Spotted Horse Trots Into Town

“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.

Just Another Random Day In Westport

Here are 2 completely unrelated, yet nonetheless very interesting, items.

“06880” reader Marcia Falk has a great idea.  She writes:

We’re heading up to Vermont tomorrow afternoon — specifically the Mad River Valley — to bring clothing, toys and household goods to people who have lost their homes.  Especially needed:  winter coats and clothes, for adults and children.

Anyone wishing to make a donation can drop it off at 3 Lone Pine Lane (off Tamarack, which is off North Compo).  For more information, email mistyfalk@gmail.com

If she gets enough donations, Marcia says, she’ll hire a van.

———————————————

If you’re completely over the hurricane, and have absolutely nothing to do, this next item is for you.

Extras are needed tomorrow (Thursday, September 1) for a Sundance film called “Hello, I Have to Go.

Aspiring extras should report to Tavern on Main restaurant (Main Street) at 10:30 a.m. Dress as if you’re out to dinner at a fine restaurant (men can wear jackets).

You’ll need to stay through 5 p.m.

If you can make it, email nsherter@hotmail.com, or call 203-451-9227.



Eat, Drink, See A Play

Several years ago, when the Westport Country Playhouse was being renovated, nearby restaurants saw drops of up to 2/3 in business.

The Dressing Room sits in the shadow of the Playhouse. Other partner restaurants are not far away.

This summer, many of those restaurants — the ones still around, anyway — will show their appreciation for the Playhouse in a tangible way.  Seven have signed on as “partners” for the 2011 season.  Playhouse subscribers receive discounts of up to 20%, when presenting a ticket or stub on the day of that performance.

The 7 partners include The Dressing Room, La Villa, Manolo, Matsu Sushi, Rizzuto’s, Tavern on Main and Thali.

It’s a win-win-win.  Participating restaurants get their logos displayed in Playhouse promotional materials (and complimentary tickets).  The Playhouse gets to support — and gets support from — local businesses.

And theater-goers get great, discounted meals at a diverse mix of restaurants.  It’s a nice reminder that Fairfield hasn’t stolen all our culinary thunder.

Yet.

(Click here for full restaurant descriptions and discounts.)