Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Comings & Goings: The ‘Port to Close

By Dave Matlow

The ‘Port Restaurant, 2A Post Road West in National Hall, will close at the end of the business day on Saturday, according to owner, Sal Augeri, who has operated the family friendly eatery since May 2017. Image
The ‘Port took over space in National Hall vacated by the Vespa restaurant. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Augeri cited the lack of parking as The ‘Port’s No. 1 problem. “And it got worse when construction began next to bartaco,” he added.

He said other contributing factors included “the very competitive restaurant scene in Westport which, in turn, led to labor challenges since many restaurants were competing for the same applicants.”

“All in all, we could not overcome the hole we dealt ourselves,” Augeri said.  “We didn’t have a chance to develop our brand as a community spot where everyone gets to know your name.

“It’s been a tough time. The lunch business never got going and, again, parking was a primary problem.”

Augeri said the best part of his experience was getting to know “a lot of great people and I made good friends.”

“I really wanted to make people happy, but I guess I never got to have enough people come here to make happy,” he said.

Reflecting on what makes a successful restaurant, he said: “The restaurant business needs to be busy all day, every day. It was not the rent. It was the lack of patrons.

“To operate a successful restaurant, you must be passionately in love with the restaurant business. It’s difficult to be that way when it’s not going in the right direction.”

Augeri, a Westport resident, with a son and daughter who are a rising freshman (son) and junior (daughter) at Staples High School, said The ‘Port was his first venture into the restaurant business following a career on Wall Street.

“I wanted to support local students and hired several from Staples,” he said. “I hope they learned a lot and had a good experience.

“I’m now going to move on and look at the next chapter in my life.”

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