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More Restaurateurs Are Flocking To Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – When it comes to dining out in Westport, there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from. And the menu of options may grow by as many as 10 eateries by the end of the year.

Over the past year, Westport welcomed a host of new restaurants, starting with Mario Batali’s Tarry Lodge Enoteca Pizzeria in Saugatuck and the state’s first Shake Shack. Then came the Whelk in Saugatuck, the Spotted Horse to downtown, two new restaurants in Saugatuck’s Bridge Square and a restaurant at Terrain on Post Road East.

“Restaurants are popping up all over place. It’s wonderful,” said Lisa Parrelli Gray, executive director and president of the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce. “Diversity in dining creates more excitement and makes Westport a destination for people to visit and live.”

Planning and Zoning files show a new Japanese restaurant called Pink Sumo is slated to move into the site of the shuttered Café Manolo at 8 Church Lane. At the former Bogey’s Grille & Tap Room at 323 Main St., work is under way on a new American cuisine restaurant called 323. Over on Riverside Avenue, a new Italian restaurant called Arezzo will take over the site of the former Napoli Sul Fiume restaurant.

Last week, a lease for a new restaurant/live music venue called Blu Parrot was signed for 60 Charles St., the site of the former Jasmine restaurant.

Plans for two restaurants in the National Hall complex on Wilton Road were approved last week by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The owners of Safita, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Fairfield, are planning to open a restaurant on the first floor of the old Vigilant Firehouse at 6 Wilton Road. A South American-Japanese fusion restaurant called Moja Restaurant & Bar is planning to take over the first floor of 12 Wilton Road.

The commission also paved the way for a new health-conscious, fast-food restaurant called Energy Kitchen at 295 Post Road E. The space was last occupied by Pierre Deux, a home decor store.

Bar Taco, a Mexican eatery with locations in Stamford and Port Chester, N.Y., is rumored to have its sights on a new location at 20 Wilton Road, also in the National Hall complex, according to Gray and Westport developer David Waldman. But as of June 26, no permit has been filed with the Planning and Zoning office.

Restaurant leases are also in place for the former Post Office branch at 154 Post Road E. and the lower-level of Spruce Home & Garden, 90 Post Road E. Permits have yet to be filed for these locations as well.

“All these great restaurants are coming to Westport because our town has relaxed the regulations pertaining to bars as well as the outdoor dining rules,” said Waldman. “These two things, coupled with Westport's retail draw and the town's natural amenities, is the reason for this resurgence.”

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