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Historic Westport House Chosen for Trendy Tavern

WESTPORT, Conn. – A neighborhood tavern that's kid-friendly by day and an adult hotspot by night — that's how Kevin McHugh envisions the restaurant he and his business partners are bringing to downtown Westport.

McHugh, together with Tommy Febbraio and Pete Mennona, co-owns the Gray Goose Café in Southport. On Friday, these restaurateurs signed a lease for the Sherwood House on Church Lane, a Federal-style home built in 1802 that’s currently being renovated.

"We're looking to create a place people will identify as their own," McHugh said. "Unlike new places like Shake Shack and Mario Batali's [Tarry Lodge], we're not a chain. It'll really be a place that feels like a second home for people, and where people go to meet new friends."

Although a name has yet to be decided, McHugh said he can picture the restaurant inside and out. The theme, he said, will be "old-world with a modern twist." The interior will seat about 80 people, will be designed using reclaimed materials from the home and will feature a fireplace, he said. The outdoor patio will seat about 30 and will be accented by gas lanterns on the sidewalk.

"It'll be like a place you'd find in downtown Nantucket or the Chelsea section of London," said McHugh, who grew up in Westport.

Keeping with the theme, McHugh said the menu will feature "classics with contemporary flair." This means diners can expect anything from hamburgers to halibut. The menu will be health conscious, he said, like at the Gray Goose and will feature a variety of salads.

McHugh, the mastermind behind several successful restaurants including The Match in South Norwalk, said the restaurant will likely include a children's menu. For adults, wine by the glass will be available and live music will likely be offered on the weekend. McHugh said he and his partners are aiming to have the restaurant open before the end of the year.

Westport developer David Waldman , founder of the commercial real estate firm David Adam Realty, said he believes McHugh and his partners are a perfect fit for downtown.

“I think this is exactly what we’re looking for,” Waldman said. “It’s not super fine dining and it will have an outdoor patio that’ll allow people to enjoy the town. This is one of many steps in motion to help create nightlife in downtown Westport

What do you think of the plans for the restaurant? Do you think it will help revitalize downtown Westport? Please share with us below.

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