Red Barn’s last specials: Mementos from closed landmark
They were the last “specials” on the menu at the Red Barn. But instead of prime rib, the specials included a range of antiques and collectibles from the newly closed restaurant ... and even the menus themselves.
As rumors continued to swirl that the Wilton Road property would be purchased by the nearby Westport Weston Family YMCA, more than 100 people lined up Friday morning for a liquidation sale where a range of wares from the landmark eatery was up for grabs.
The sale continues Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the former restaurant at 292 Wilton Road.
“Red Barn is an icon of Westport and we wanted to take a little piece of history with us,” said Alan Schur of Westport, who called the restaurant’s closing a sad thing.
“We were told the Y made an offer they couldn’t refuse,” he said.
The Nistico family, who took over operation of the place in the early 1980s, has not confirmed the sale of the property to its neighbor. Tom Nistico, who was at the sale Friday, did not want to comment on the closing or the sale itself.
A YMCA spokesman also has refused to comment.
“They had such a following,” observed former Westporter Debi Dohme, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz., “and now the Y has bought it.”
“There’s a lot funky stuff here,” she said, gesturing to the range of items for sale that included guns, harpoons, yokes, model boats, antique farm implements, speakers, typewriters, signs and even a large pile of Red Barn menus on sale for $20 apiece.
“It’s a grouping of very nostalgic items,” said Geoff Walsky, co-owner of Simply As Stated, which ran the sale. “They’re more appealing just because of where they’re from … Anybody who knows this place just wants to take a piece of history home.”
“I think it’s nice that they did this so that everybody from the community gets to take home a piece of the Red Barn,” said Linda Salvato of Wilton. “My brother had his wedding here and I celebrated my 25th anniversary here.”
“It’s just sad to see another restaurant close,” said Richard Girouard of Westport, who operates a restaurant consulting firm.
“This used to be the undisputed restaurant capital of Connecticut and we’ve watched a lot of the old timers go,” he said. “It’s change … Business is tough and this economy isn’t helping.”
“Rumor is this might be going to the Y in the back,” he said. “It makes sense.”