Wednesday, March 29, 2023



Bringing You Faster Internet Image
Employees of Optimum work at Wilton Road and Kings Highway North, installing fiber optic cables for high speed Internet. The crew chief said the installation, which will increase transmission speed by 10 times, began in Westport in January and will be completed in 6 to 12 months. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

P&Z Approves 793 PRE Development, 35 Elm St.

By a vote of 4 to 2 in a work session early today, Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved a special permit and site plan for a mixed use development at 793 Post Road East.

White Plains, N.Y.-based developer David Mann of DMC LLC plans two, 10,000-square foot mixed use buildings facing Post Road East and four townhouses in the rear of the property, which is located in a general business district (GBD), Residential A, inclusionary housing zone.

The plan calls for 28 rental apartments, six of them affordable, including 12 two-bedroom townhouse units, plus retail and office space. The site is next to Westport Wash and Wax at 791 Post Road East.

P&Z members Catherine Walsh and Al Gratrix were the dissenters. The seventh member Chip Stephens had left prior to the vote.

Cottage Restaurant Owner Explains Naming New Japanese Restaurant OKO

Brian Lewis, owner of the highly successful The Cottage Restaurant at Colonial Green, today announced he is calling his new Japanese restaurant OKO, located in the former Vigilant Firehouse at 6 Wilton Road. He explains: Image
The sign for the new restaurant went up today at 6 Wilton Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

‘I have been really inspired by Japanese cooking techniques, culture and ingredients for a very long time, studying and layering Japanese influences into my cooking for many years, but it was the introduction of the Okonomiyaki at The Cottage that was my real ‘a-ha’ moment in defining the direction for my next restaurant.

“Introducing the Okonomiyaki, a savory, Japanese pancake filled with seasonally-inspired ingredients, was a whimsical addition to our menu — Japanese street food with some rarefied touches. Our guests absolutely loved this dish and it quickly became a Cottage favorite, which will likely stay on the menu as a Cottage Classic.

“Ordering the Okonomiyaki had proved to be a bit of a tongue-twister for our guests and our staff, and anyone calling or responding to the ticket would add their own personal ‘flair’ to the word, so we finally gave the dish a nickname which really just stuck, calling it ‘oko,’ which we used often and with affection, if not a chuckle. To pay homage to the spark behind this entire concept, I’m excited to share with you that the new restaurant is named OKO.

Police Chief: Demands for Service Continue to Grow Image
UPDATE Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas tonight addressed the Board of Finance prior to the board’s unanimous approval of the Police Department’s $9 million operating budget for next year. Koskinas said that the demands on police staff have increased as population and housing units continue to grow even as the department has undergone 10 to 12 years of staff reductions. For example, the housing development underway at 1177 Post Road east across from Crate & Barrel would most likely require a three-car response instead of two to a domestic call because of the rental housing development’s complex layout, he said. By the end of the evening the finance board had approved the town budget of $80,390,686, a 1.2 percent increase over last year’s town budget. The board takes up the education portion on Thursday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Marpe Unveils $80.4 Million 2018-19 Town Budget

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe tonight presented his proposed 2018-19 municipal budget of $80.4 million, a 1.21 percent increase over the current year, to the Board of Finance.

The town budget is part of a total $210 million townwide budget, including the Board of Education’s proposed $118.9 million budget, a 3.97 percent increase.

Michael Gordon, school board chairman, is scheduled to present that budget to the finance board Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Long Lots Elementary School auditorium.

“It’s all about keeping Westport a very desirable place to live, work, have a business and to fend off problems the state is having,” Marpe said. “It’s really about preserving what we have and keeping Westport a special place.”

New Business Sings for Success Image
Zenabi, a new tech company in Westport, tonight debuted its new series called “Brains and Bands.” Eddie Ibanez, founder, told an audience of about 100 at the Westport Inn — an alternate location moved hastily from Branson Hall at Christ & Holy Trinity Church due to the power outage — that “information and action” are the keys to success. That “music is an equalizer, whether you are a billionaire, or a guy on the street, you might like the same music,” he said. The two parts of the evening involved first a panel discussion, moderated by Ibanez with J Todd Morley, chairman of G3 Investment Group and co founder with Ibanez of Y2X, Chris Fischer, founder of Ocearch, and Vin Dombrowski, founder and lead singer of the band Sponge. The second part of the evening was a concert by the 1990s alternative rock band, Sponge, brought in from Detroit. As part of the series a different nonprofit will be promoted. Tonight’s organization was Westport’s Phoebe’s Phriends to aid pediatric cancer research. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Historical Society Gift Shop Undergoing Makeover Image
The gift shop at the Westport Historical Society has suspended operations while it undergoes a makeover. Formally known as The Remarkable Gift Shop, using the name taken over from the iconic Remarkable Book Shop on Main Street, the shop will reopen in the spring with a new design and a café with outdoor benches and tables, said Ramin Ganeshram, executive director. Pictured is Barbara Peck, a staff member, moving items in the shop. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Coming & Goings: Julian’s Saugatuck to Close Image
Julian’s Brick Oven Pizzeria, 539 Riverside Ave. will close within the next month, according to employees. It has been open in Saugatuck since 1996. Another location at 1460 Post Road East, Julian’s Pizza Bar & Kitchen, will remain open for business, they said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for

Comings & Goings: Commuter Coffee for Sale

By Dave Matlow

Commuter Coffee, 46 Railroad Place, the iconic family-owned eatery across from the westbound platform of the Metro-North Westport station in Saugatuck for four decades, is for sale. Image
Family-owned Commuter Coffee has been a Railroad Place mainstay since 1976. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“It’s time to move on. We’re at the end of an era,” said owner Fred Whelan, son-in-law of original owner Tom Papan.

Papan opened the business in 1976 and expanded it in 1988 by adding an eating area.

Whelan emphasized: “We’re not closing. We’re not going out of business. We’re working closely with our landlord to make it easy for a new owner to take over, but we don’t know what a new owner will do with the space.”