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End of Era: Three Bears Closes, Tiburon Opens

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The Three Bears Restaurant, a Westport landmark since the early 1900s, has closed and a new restaurant, the Tiburon, has taken its place at the corner of Wilton Road and Newtown Turnpike.WestportNow.com Image
The former Three Bears Restaurant is now the Tiburon Restaurant with new management and staff and a new menu. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The sign was changed on Friday and came after Three Bears Restaurant Inc. filed for Chapter 7 voluntary bankruptcy on Oct. 1 at Federal Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport. The Westport town Web site shows the restaurant owes more than $19,000 in real estate, personal property and motor vehicle taxes.

According to the Three Bears Web site,  original portions of the Three Bears are well over two centuries old, dating back to the restaurant’s earliest days as a stagecoach stop.

The restaurant history said the Three Bears “is Westport’s oldest eating place” and was originally called The Three Bears Tavern “until the repeal of Prohibition gave the word ‘tavern’ a new meaning.”

The name Three Bears was suggested by the Italian architect who redesigned the buildings at the turn of the century, the history says, adding: “It is a fitting tribute to his fascination with the tale of ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears,’ his favorite story when he first arrived in America and began to learn the English language.”

The restaurant history said in 1965, Stephen C. Vazzano purchased the restaurant and his family apparently continued to operate it until its closing.WestportNow.com Image
A postcard from the 1970s shows the Three Bears Restaurant and its logo designed by local artist John Held Jr. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com file photo

Efforts to contact members of the Vazzano family were unsuccessful.

According to a source familiar with the new restaurant, it has new staff and management, as well as a new menu and is operating in renovated premises.

The source said differences between the Three Bears menu and Tiburon’s include more choices, lower prices, and fine dining plus burgers in a separate room. Also there are tables in the bar area for dining.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 9, the restaurant will be open seven days a week. Three Bears was closed on Mondays.
—Dave Matlow contributed reporting for this story.

Posted 02/02 at 05:30 AM
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Comments:     Comment Policy

The loss of The Three Bears restaurant is terrible news. It has been a fine neighbor as well as a pleasant eatery with an historic heritage and ambiance.  I am surprised at its failure; its parking lot has often appeared filled to capacity in recent years.  Of course the new establishment has my best wishes for success. 

Nina Streitfeld

Posted by Nina Streitfeld on February 02, 2009 at 05:00 PM | #

This is a sad day for Westporters - another icon disappears.

Posted by Bob Glaser on February 17, 2009 at 02:36 PM | #

Too bad. The Three Bears Restaurant was a fine reminders of great home cooking. When I was asked to review their menu for the Connecticut Weekly Disappointment, my allowance was insufficient. However, the maitre d’ allowed me to sample diners’ cusine with a plate and fork in hand. Nobody refused.

Posted by Alan Abel on March 30, 2009 at 01:50 AM | #

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