Board of Selectmen approves new concessionaire in Westport

In November, the town's Parks and Recreation Department announced Joey's by the Shore concessions was closed.

In November, the town’s Parks and Recreation Department announced Joey’s by the Shore concessions was closed.

Paul Schott / Paul Schott

WESTPORT — A new concessionaire will soon fill the vacancy left by the closure of Joey’s by the Shore at Compo Beach.

On Wednesday, the Board of Selectman unanimously approved the lease between the town and its new beach concessionaire: New York-based Upsilon Entertainment Group.

Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Fava said the agreement is for the new vendor to provide food and beverage concession for Compo pavilion, Longshore Pavilion, and the Longshore Halfway House.

Upsilon has experience running concessions in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park as well as in Bryant Park and Hudson River Park in New York City, Fava said. The company was chosen from five proposals from different vendors.

“They’re professional, they’re committed to the environment, they also talked about doing things locally,” Fava said. “We just felt overall they were the company that would best serve Westport.”

The company’s commitment to hiring local staff and environmental initiatives were also reasons behind its choice, she said.

The town will be paid a rent of $100,000 or 10 percent of gross revenue, whichever is higher, Fava said. The amount will increase to $120,000 or 12 percent of gross revenue over the five-year agreement.

The agreement has already been approved by the Board of Finance and received a positive report from the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Some residents voiced concern regarding two tax liens on the business at the BOF. But Fava said one of the tax liens was due to a late payment that has since been paid in full. The other was due to the company’s business in Bryant Park garnering more revenue than expected, and the company underestimating their tax obligation.

Fava said the first contract year will start in November because of delayed openings due to COVID-19, but an agreement rider allows the concessionaire to operate a 40-foot long mobile kitchen starting midsummer outside the beach pavilion.

“At this late date we do want to get them in so they can start providing a service to our golfers — which our golf course is very busy right now — and also back out at the beach,” Fava said.

The menu and pricing will have to be approved every year by the town, she said.

First Selectman Jim Marpe said while the town would have liked to see the new concessionaire open in April it was important to regulate the population at the beach due to COVID-19.

“I think we’ve concluded that the behaviors we see will work well with the kind of at least interim arrangement that is represented by this rider,” Marpe said.