Tag Archives: Zest restaurant

Cafe Manolo To Close

 Cafe Manolo owners and staff are sending this sad email today to customers and friends. I’ll print it verbatim — adding only that I wish I had been wrong.

In May 2009, the great blogger Dan Woog said it best:

In the best of times it takes self-confidence, steel nerves and big bucks to open a restaurant in Westport. These are not the best of times.

Nonetheless, workers are busy transforming the recently vacated Zest into Cafe Manolo. Manolo’s website calls it “a dream created by experience and memories.”

Let’s hope our pocketbooks and palate are where Manolo’s owners think they are. Let’s hope our usual aversion to parking more than 10 steps from a restaurant’s door doesn’t doom this new place. And let’s thank Manolo for rushing in where many other restaurateurs would not dare tread.

With all that said, we regretfully have to announce that we will be closing our doors for good as of Saturday, January 7. Please do come out and enjoy Manolo’s cuisine and hospitality one last time. We will have a limited menu the upcoming 2 nights, and space will be tight, but we will try our best to accommodate each and every one.

We will miss all of our loyal customers who have helped us stay in business as long as we did. Please do keep in touch with the Manolo team by finding us on Facebook under Manolo Restaurant.

Thank you for this great journey. It’s definitely been a great one to remember.

Lots of love,

Pedro Garzon and the Manolo staff

What a classy way to close.

And very, very sad.

It’s a sobering way to start the new year. And a scary one to contemplate, as we drive down Church Lane and watch construction of a new restaurant and retail complex.

Will this one work? Or will it be one more story of the same old, same old?

Time will tell — but in the meantime: thank you, Manolo, for bringing grace and good dining downtown.

Meet Manolo

In the best of times it takes self-confidence, steel nerves and big bucks to open a restaurant in Westport.

These are not the best of times.

Nonetheless, workers are busy transforming the recently vacated Zest into Cafe Manolo.  After more than a century as a bank basement, the space — underneath Patagonia, across from the Y — opens in June as a 2nd consecutive eatery.

Manolo’s website calls it “a dream created by experience and memories.” Chef Pedro Garzon — formerly with the Barcelona restaurant group  — has a background in both Europe and Barbados.

Manolo promises “traditional Mediterranean fare and presentation.”

Let’s hope our pocketbooks and palate are where Manolo’s owners think they are.

Let’s hope our usual aversion to parking more than 10 steps from a restaurant’s door doesn’t doom this new place.

And let’s thank Manolo for rushing in where many other restaurateurs would not dare tread.

Cafe Manolo

Losing A Little Zest

Zest has served its final meal.

Zest restaurant Westport CT“Economic forces beyond our control” doomed the popular restaurant — tucked beneath Patagonia on Church Lane — just before its 3rd anniversary, said co-owners chef Pietro and Janine Scotti.  The news came in an e-mail to loyal customers — of whom there were many.

The Scottis’ message was like their restaurant:  upbeat and community-minded.  The couple thanked patrons profusely for their “heartfelt support,” then looked creatively ahead.

The Scottis also own DaPietro’s, just over the bridge at 36  Riverside Avenue. Acknowledging that their other property has a reputation as a “special-occasion restaurant,” the owners are tweaking its menu and reminding diners of a few amenities.

Lunches will feature more casual, fresh-market offerings, at “surprisingly reasonable prices.”  The “by-reservation-only Grand Tea” — similar to fine hotels in New York and England — will continue to be served from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

DaPietro’s is still hosting seasonal wine dinners, themed dinners and cooking classes. They also cater, “receiving rave reviews for producing gourmet affairs on tight budgets.”

Chef Pietro Scotti

Chef Pietro Scotti

The Scottis concluded by saying they look forward to continuing their “amazing relationship with the community.”  What a classy note, on one of the most disheartening days of their professional lives.

Zest is not the first good Westport restaurant lost to the economic downturn.  Let’s do all we can to return the Scottis’ warm feelings for their customers, and help their beloved DaPietro’s thrive.