'Dire need for renovations' to delay new eatery at Longshore
A new Mediterranean-style restaurant is slated to replace Splash at the Inn at Longshore, but don't expect to dine there this summer.
The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved Wednesday a sublease between BNG Partners LLC and Longshore Associates of Westport, which holds the lease to manage the overall town-owned inn property at 260 Compo Road South.
But Marc Backon of BNG said he doesn't expect the new "first-class" restaurant, to be called the Pearl of Longshore, to open until December. That's because, he noted, "the restaurant is in dire need of renovations."
He also said that, while bids from contractors are being sought for renovations, the restaurant group has no intention of expanding the space and work only internally on cosmetics and repairs.
"We were surprised when Splash left overnight after 18 years," said Rory Tagert of Longshore Associates, which has had a lease for the inn property with the town for more than 25 years.
After Splash closed, he said a number of parties looked at the space and it was narrowed to three or four before BNG was chosen. "We are delighted to have them on board," Tagert said.
Tagert agreed that Splash "left the space in pretty bad condition."
Backon, a Westport resident, said that Splash had been his family's favorite restaurant and his daughters even worked there as hostesses.
He said BNG is committed to operating the Pearl year-round. He also gave selectmen an idea of what the restaurant would offer. "We are about simple, great food -- not gourmet," he said, adding that in the summertime, the restaurant fare would focus on seafood and raw fish.
"This is an exciting vision," said First Selectman Jim Marpe, who asked Backon if there was any chance of opening this summer.
Backon said that would not be possible because of the planned construction, including gutting the restaurant space. "We won't have a CO (certificate of occupancy)," he said. In the meantime, he said, the group is exploring the concept bringing food trucks to the site, which would need town approval.
The food trucks would not be BNG's and would have to be subcontracted, he said.