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Connollys Out, The Vine Mediterranean Grill & Pizza In

Another familiar Westport restaurant is gone, soon to be replaced by an upscale pizza place.

Connollys Restaurant and Taproom, a longtime fixture on Post Road West on the corner of Sylvan Road South, closed down suddenly earlier this month.

The restaurant, once known as Connolly’s The Seafood Steak House, was marked by its distinctive green and white striped awning.

A sign on the window tells visitors soon opening in its place will be The Vine Mediterranean Grill & Pizza.

ғWe will be closed April 14-29 for minor renovations, the sign says. ԓOnce again we thank you for your faithful years of patronage at Connollys Taproom and we look forward to seeing you at our new establishment.Ҕ

The sign said the new restaurant would offer a weekend breakfast buffet, a Sunday brunch, an all-you-can-eat selection plus free online home and business delivery services.Ӕ The sign gave an Internet address which is not operational.

A workman who answered the phone at the former Connollys said The Vine would be under new ownership.

Westporter Tim Manners Turns Cool News into Book

Twenty years ago, Tim Manners used to write news copy for Westports WMMM radio station. And then he rewrote it. And rewrote it. For every newscast, he tried to come up with a new angle of the same story to make it sound fresh.

He had to. There wasnҒt enough money to send a reporter to cover local events. So he had to repeatedly rewrite news from the local papers for his newscasts.

Fast forward to 2003. WMMM is gone (at least morphed into WSHU-AM), but Westporter Tim Manners is still rewriting copy. But with a difference. For five years, he has been doing it for his e-mail marketing newsletter Cool News of the Day, part of the online marketing magazine Reveries.com where Manners is editor

And now Cool News is a new book, published by Xlibris in hardback, trade paperback and e-book formats.

“The book is a compendium of every edition of Cool News published in 2002,” says Manners, who explains that he wakes up each morning at five o’clock to decide what is “cool news” that day.

“I look at a variety of newspapers and magazines, select two stories that harbor useful insights and tell my readers about them. The hope is that my interpretations of these stories will make people think and crack open a little more creativity for them.”

When he isn’t doing Cool News and Reveries.com, the Tar Rock Road resident serves as president of Westport-based David X. Manners Company, Inc., which a news release describes as a “thought-leadership content development and communications company.”

Cool, Tim.

Business Down in Westport as Residents Glued to TVs

It is purely anecdotal and not scientific, but random checks of area retailers and restaurants show business in Westport noticeably reduced in recent days, apparently because people are staying close to home watching developments in Iraq.

More parking spaces at Barnes and Noble, increased shoppers at supermarkets, and reduced numbers of diners at area restaurants are consistent with reports nationally about more people staying home watching television war coverage.

At Matsu Sushi on Jesup Road last evening, the restaurant was half empty during what normally is a busy dinner hour.

I was wondering where everybody is,Ӕ said restaurant owner Marty Cheng.

There was a big crowd on Main Street last night for the champagne opening of Talbots Mens in space previously occupied by The Limited. But otherwise the town center seemed even quieter than usual.

Fortune: Westport is Hedge Fund Central, Home of a “Wall Street Monster”

Westport is portrayed as ground zero for hedge funds in the latest (March 31) issue of Fortune magazine.

It paints a word picture for readers this way: Across a quiet, snowy field, through the trees and over the fence, lurks a Wall Street monster. The locale is Westport, Conn., about a mile inland from Long Island Sound across I-95.

The beast within those stark walls is Pequot Capital, a superpowerful $7 billion hedge fund that along with a dozen or so other mega-hedge funds many sprinkled among towns nearby ֖ is rocking mainstream Wall Street to its core.

Here in Fairfield County, the richest county in the richest state in the richest country in the world, vast fortunes are being created, and rules of finance are being rewritten.Ӕ

For Westporters who have never heard of Pequot Capital and dont know where it is, it’s in the Nyala Farm office complex off of Greens Farms Road and I-95. (It also has offices in New York City and Menlo Park, Calif.)

Employee-owned, Pequot Capital offers funds that focus on technology, health care services, and small-cap firms to institutional investors and wealthy individuals.

But don’t look in Fortune for much more about Pequot. After breathlessly introducing readers to Westport and Pequot Capital at the beginning of its story, Fortune makes no mention of either Pequot or Westport again—except in a sidebar story listing fund principals and their locales.

As they say in the newspaper biz, Westport makes good copy.

Did You Run into Paul Newman at Westport’s McDonald’s?

To hear Tom Indoe, tell it, he and Paul Newman spent a lot of time checking out the salads at Westport’s McDonald’s on Post Road East before launching their latest venture this week.

Indoe is chief operating officer of Newman’s Westport-based Newman’s Own food company and made his remarks in an interview with cable news channel CNBC.

Newman’s Own and McDonald’s on Monday announced an exclusive agreement in which Newman’s Own all-natural salad dressings will be served with McDonald’s new Premium Salads in restaurants nationwide starting March 24.

Asked by the interviewer whether Newman or his company had any hesitation linking up with the fast-food retailer, Indoe said any concerns they had went away after repeated samplings of salads at the Westport McDonald’s.

Little-Known Westport Facts: Courvoisier, Beefeater and Kahula Call Us Home

So if someone asks you what do Courvoisier, Beefeater and Kahlua have to do with Westport, you can now give them the right answer.

These brands, and others, are marketed by Westport-based Allied Domecq Spirits North America, part of Britains Allied Domecq PLC, which also owns Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins.

Update: (In an earlier version of this I had it “Baskin and Robbins,” but Wally Woods gently pointed out I had it wrong. Thanks, Wally.)

Westporter Tom Wilen is the units president. They’re headquartered at 355 Riverside Ave.

Allied Domecq Spirits is on the newswires today for its support of an effort by The Century Council, a Washington, DC-based non-profit funded by Americas leading distillers, to curb the misuse of alcohol on college campuses. The group is headed by former Rep. Susan Molinari.

The group launched Alcohol 101 Plus, an interactive CD-ROM program that it says turns the CD into a virtual campus, that includes a Virtual Bar, an interactive game titled b4udrink, and a Virtual Brain which shows the effect of alcohol on the brain.”

Wilen is quoted as saying: As marketers of beverage alcohol, we have an obligation and commitment to market and sell our products responsibly. Alcohol 101 Plus is one step in that direction.

Brookstone Does Westport Westport’s Main

Westport’s Main Street welcomes another national retailer—Brookstone.

The store opened March 1 in the long vacant site at the end of the street leased but never occupied by Ralph Lauren. Handsome store. Those knowledgeable about Westport commercial real estate say with the signing, Westport’s Main Street hangs out the “no vacancy” sign.

The nation’s slowed economy has taken its toll on Westport like many other places, but local retailers say the town’s upscale residents have softened the impact.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be howls aplenty when a double-digit tax increase goes into effect July 1.


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