New wine bar to be uncorked in downtown Westport
Updated 5:30 pm, Friday, September 23, 2011
Downtown Westport will soon toast another addition to its dining menu, as a Redding couple prepares to open a new wine bar on Main Street.
The 1,000-square-foot establishment will offer 40 wines by the glass and serve up to 10 seasonal cocktails. Its menu will also feature 15 cheeses and 15 types of cured meats, as well as bread and olives.
"It's a place where people can come for a meal or before a meal," Reilly said. "You can have a good cocktail, some great wine and match that wine up with cheese and charcuterie and really build an experience."
Reilly formerly worked in information technology for FreshDirect, a food delivery company that operates in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He also has experience making his own wines and cheeses.
In addition to the "ideal" location of Main Street, Reilly said recent changes to town zoning regulations also contributed to his decision to open LUXE in Westport. Last year, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a text amendment that eliminated a longstanding rule that mandated a 1,500-foot distance between dining establishments with patron bars.
The new wine bar is situated a few hundred feet from the Main Street restaurant, Tavern on Main, which includes a patron bar. Because of this proximity, LUXE could not have opened at 190 Main Street under the former zoning regulations.
"Once we saw what Planning and Zoning was doing to bring nightlife back into downtown, we immediately thought, `Let's be the first ones,' " Reilly said.
LUXE also benefited from another text amendment approved earlier this year by the P&Z that streamlines the liquor permitting process for new dining establishments.
Seeking to establish a long-term presence in downtown Westport, Reilly added that he plans next year to apply for outdoor seating at LUXE, which could give the wine bar an approximately 35-person seating capacity.
Reilly's wine bar will open in the space formerly occupied by the Faye Kim Designs jewelry store, which relocated last year to a larger space on the other side of Main Street Commons.
"I think it will add a nice mix to what's currently on Main Street," Faye Kim Designs' owner, Faye Kim, said of LUXE. "I think it will elevate the group of shops here to another level."