Friday, April 19, 2024

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Comings & Goings: Red Barn Restaurant Closes

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UPDATE The Red Barn Restaurant, a Westport institution for decades at 292 Wilton Road, has closed, according to an announcement on the restraurant’s website by the Nistico family, which operated the landmark next to exit 41 of the Merritt Parkway. 
“The Red Barn has officially closed,” the announcement said. “Thank You for your many years of patronage and support!” The announcement followed word from two sources in contact with the family that the restaurant had closed. Rumors have swirled for months that the restaurant was closing and was being purchased by the neighboring Westport Weston Family YMCA, which has not commented on the rumors. A sign on the front door today simply says “closed.” The Nistico family, longtime Westport restaurateurs who for decades had previously owned the Arrow Restaurant in Saugatuck, purchased the Red Barn in 1983. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

3 thoughts on “Comings & Goings: Red Barn Restaurant Closes

  1. What a shame!  The town as lost another asset.  The Red Barn has been an important part of my life as was the Arrow. In fact 36 years ago I proposed to me wife Janet in one of the outer booths of the Arrow.  My wife and I have held parties, weddings, receptions, celebrations and many other events at The Red Barn.  The group called RODEO (Retired Older Doctors Eating Out) has had its monthly luncheon meetings there for many years. Innumerable individuals and organizations have enjoyed its offerings.

    At times of medical crisis in my family the Nistico’s and the staff have been most supportive. They have all been very important to us.  I can’t imagine what tragedy has caused this unannounced closing.  My sympathies and best wishes to the family and their wonderful staff.  We will miss them all.

    Al Beasley, M.D.

  2. When I lived in Westport the Arrow was my favorite place to eat, starting at the corner in Saugatuck and after it moved to the spot across from the station.  I courted my wife there and Joe would always chastise me if I let her have a sip of my Manhattan.  We had several reunion occasions at the Red Barn and I have many pictures of those activities. Joe, Lou and Fonseco were the best.  It’s time for a family statue of the Nistico’s.  Maybe it could be placed along side the Minuteman?

    Karl Taylor
    Southport, NC

  3. I totally agree with Karl Taylor above.  The Nistico’s Red Barn and Arrow restaurants formed a significant part of my life growing up in Westport, and my parents continued quality of life there.  Eating lasagna I watched Nixon resign on television from one of the booths in the Arrow, and coming back from Romania with the Orphenians in 1975 my welcome-back meal was at the Arrow and I remember thinking how incredibly lucky we were.  With 6 kids in a family the Arrow was the only restaurant we went to, and the Red Barn continued that tradition over the decades.  Many 3-generation holiday meals were had there as my family returned to Westport.  As well, when my mother died in 2003, we had a large family dinner the day after her funeral and the Nistico’s brought us wine and told us that all anyone had been talking about the day before was my mother’s funeral.  It was much appreciated.  When my father passed in 2013 we made a reservation for 17 and stayed in the backroom there for hours, as the Nisticos brought us many after-dinner drinks on the house.  My brother Sean who continues to live in Westport, continued my parents tradition of frequenting the Red Barn very regularly, likely as much to discuss the state of the local fishing prospects with the Nisticos, as to eat.  We were planning on eating there this Saturday to celebrate his birthday, and are so saddened to discover the closing.  To the Nistico Family and their staff:  THANK YOU for all of the wonderful memories, the support, your energy and commitment, and the quality of life you have provided to my family and to the town of Westport.  BEST of luck with whatever is happening.  I’m hoping there will be some formal toast to you all.  I don’t know if a statue could go next to the Minute Man, but certainly somewhere. 

    Siobhan (Totie) Armstrong
    New York, NY

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