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Spotted Horse Trots Into Downtown Westport

WESTPORT, Conn. – Chicken and black bean empanadas, lobster and avocado BLTs, grass-fed beef burgers and spicy tuna tartare are some of the menu items at the Spotted Horse Tavern, the newest addition coming to downtown Westport’s dining scene.

Located in the restored 1802-Sherwood House on Church Lane, the restaurant will offer new American cuisine in a casual and "unpretentious" environment, said co-owner Kevin McHugh, a Staples High School graduate and co-owner of the Gray Goose in Southport.

“What’s cool is we’ve taken a 200-plus-year-old colonial, restored the outside and used a lot of reclaimed materials on the inside to create an urban, chic and funky kind of place,” he said. “And the menu will be representative of that — eclectic, affordable and fun.”

From the outside, the tavern is reminiscent of old-world New England, with shuttered windows, a picket fence patio and gas lanterns. The inside, with seating for 77, touts exposed wood beams, natural wood paneling, a fireplace, reclaimed horse stall doors and a U-shaped bar. The outdoor patio will seat 40.

The tavern is the brainchild of McHugh and his Gray Goose partners Pete Mennona and Tommy Febbraio. Pedro Garzon, head chef and owner of the former Café Manolo, will rule the kitchen.

The menu will consist of small plates, specialty salads — such as crispy calamari, and roasted red and golden beets — sandwiches and burgers, and main plates.

McHugh said he is confident the tavern’s unique modernistic, old-world atmosphere and affordable prices — $22.95 and under — will make the Spotted Horse into a Westport hot spot, both day and night.

“This will not be a ho-hum place,” he said. “There will definitely be a vibe — and a great sound system for anyone looking for a late-night hangout.”

The restaurant, expected to open the last week of March, will be open every day for lunch, dinner and late-night drinks. There will also be Sunday brunch, McHugh said.

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