The restaurant scene in Port Chester and Rye Brook is vibrant and
ever-changing, and thank goodness for that. There are always new places for
residents to eat and for me to critique.
As it stands now, one new place will be opening soon, another in
about a month, another sometime in the future. Sadly, two longtime restaurants
closed unexpectedly. The tacos and tequila joint I wrote up last month has
suffered a setback but will hopefully be reopening in the near future.
Heartland Black + Gold at the train station reopened in March as promised,
Citta Wine Bar & Restaurant’s name has been changed back to Il Sogno and
bartaco, which has only had a temporary certificate of occupancy since it
opened, is now going for a permanent one. That has required appearances before
the Port Chester Planning Commission for site plan approval and the Zoning
Board of Appeals for variances.
The Clydesdale Pub & Grill
435 North Main St.
Opening: May 5-10
River House Bar and Grill closed in mid-January at 435 North Main
St. after starting out like gangbusters in September 2014 with three partners
who had worked together at restaurants in Greenwich. Now one of the three has
joined with his wife to create a whole new vibe at this location which has been
home to many different restaurants and bars over the years.
Greenwich residents Joe and Debbie Ribeiro, who have been married
23 years, will be opening The Clydesdale Pub & Grill somewhere between May
5 and May 10. They have signed a 10-year lease with landlord Brian Smith, and work
to transform the former River House into their own place with an English
village pub look is in full swing. A new wood front and doors have been
installed and two planters with bright-colored flowers, signs of a woman’s
touch, welcome interested parties to peek inside even before opening day.
Joe has run restaurants as general manager since 1992, most
recently Sundown Saloon in Greenwich where he worked until a month ago.
“The partnership didn’t work out,” Joe said about River House.
“I have been involved indirectly in the restaurant business the
whole time Joe has been in the business,” said Debbie, who was born in Scotland
but raised in England. She also runs a dental office which she plans to
continue to do part-time as well as working at The Clydesdale Pub & Grill.
“For quite some time now we’ve looked for someplace low key and
inexpensive and have not been able to find one, so we decided to open one,”
said Debbie. “We always spoke about having a restaurant together,” said Joe.
Their website describes the Ribeiros’ new venture as “an American
bar with a British twist.” Besides brick oven pizza, which has been made at
this location since the owner of JT Straw’s installed the brick oven, they plan
to serve English staples like shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and bangers and
mash. American specialties will include macaroni and cheese, steak sandwiches,
chili dogs, chili, sliders, chicken wings with a variety of sauces, and salads.
There will also be fried calamari with cherry pepper remoulade and, of course,
some Mexican specialties like quesadillas, tacos and a steak platter with rice
While the menu, like the pub, is still under construction, “we
plan to serve simple things well done,” said Joe.
“It will be very well priced and family oriented,” said Debbie.
The signature drink will be mojitos, with a different fruit
flavor served each day.
The Ribeiros plan to continue River House’s tradition of serving
food till 2 a.m. The pub and grill will open at 11 a.m.
Three clocks hang above the bar, one showing the time in New
York, one the time in London and the third the hour in Sao Paulo, Brazil where
Joe is from.
Debbie and Joe both came to the U.S. in 1991 and met in Port
Chester at 7 Willow Street, which was an upscale bar with live music.
When I visited the emerging pub and grill on Monday, Apr. 25, three
oil paintings, two of Clydesdales and one of a Scottish fishing village, were
ready to be hung.
Additional TVs will be installed for a total of 10 that will air
all sporting events.
The Ribeiros plan to apply for a cabaret license which will allow
live acoustic or house music like jazz and bossa nova, and they have gotten
approval to open the rebuilt deck off the back of the restaurant overlooking
the Byram River for al fresco eating and drinking. Debbie plans to plant sea
grasses to provide a more attractive view along the riverfront.
“We’re going to listen to the customers” as to what kind of music
or anything else they’d like, said Debbie.
They both want to be involved in the community and participate in
23 North Main St.
Patsy’s Pizzeria of New York City fame is still in the midst of
refurbishing the location where Spadaro Ristorante had been in Neil Pagano’s
newly renovated building on Abendroth Avenue. When I stopped by on Apr. 25, it
was obvious that a lot of work had been done, including relocating the bar and
changing the décor to a warm Italian look created by rustic wood paneling and
brick compared to the more stark look Spadaro was going for. According to the
building permit that was taken out in July 2015, other alterations will include
creating a service counter and changing the entrance on the North Main Street
side of the restaurant which Spadaro did not use.
The construction manager onsite confirmed my analysis that
nothing remains the same except the shiny 6,000-pound oven from Naples that
heats up to 900 degrees and cooks a pizza in less than two minutes. He
estimated that it would be another month before construction is complete.
17 North Main St.
In the same building as Patsy’s, Wingstop, a national restaurant
chain that is seeking to establish its first location in Westchester, is
looking to convert retail space to a restaurant on the Abendroth Avenue side of
the structure to the left of Patsy’s.
The 2100-square-foot restaurant will have 54 seats plus an
outdoor seating area and a to-go counter.
Wingstop, which has 800 locations, serves classic chicken wings,
boneless chicken and crispy chicken tenders in 13 different flavors plus fries
This application was before the Port Chester Planning Commission
on Mar. 28, and it was determined by the Building Department that there was no
need for it to go back before them in April.
“We question whether or not the Planning Commission has authority
over this application,” said attorney Anthony Gioffre at the Mar. 28 meeting.
I assume construction will start on this new restaurant as soon
as all the permits are received.
Banditos Tacos & Tequila
139 South Main St.
Not long after my review last month, Banditos Tacos & Tequila
was cited by the Village of Port Chester as an “Unsafe Structure” with a red
notice taped to the front window, and it is now closed.
The notice states that no building or plumbing permits were filed
for the work that was done and there have been no inspections.
In the meantime, variances that were previously granted to allow
the restaurant to be constructed expired and a request for an extension was on
the agenda at the Apr. 21 Port Chester Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.
Restaurant owner Luis Perez characterized the issues as
miscommunication between himself and the village. He said he had to pay $1,000 and
hopes everything can be resolved within the next month.
480 Westchester Ave.
Closed Apr. 15
I heard from various people that Sichuan Pavilion had closed, then
went by on Apr. 25 and saw the sign in the window from Ricky Chan alerting
customers it would be closing on Apr. 15.
Chan had rejoined the business in 2010 to help his mother Marianna
out. His dad started the restaurant as Chef Sung in 1990, later changing the
name to Sichuan Pavilion, and his mother took over its operation when her husband
died around 2005.
Ricky downsized and upscaled the menu so it was by far the best
Chinese restaurant in town. I join many other local residents who are
upset by its closing.
I have fond memories of eating at Sichuan Pavilion so many times
with my in-laws who are now deceased and our children who are now grown. My
husband and I continued to frequent the restaurant, but we never ordered
takeout from there. The food was so much better eaten in where we could enjoy
endless cups of tea.
The letter in the window and the recording when you call the
telephone number say the decision to close after 26 years was bittersweet. “It
has truly been an unbelievable ride and a great pleasure to serve the
neighboring towns of Port Chester, Rye Brook, Harrison, Purchase, Rye,
Greenwich, etc.,” Chan wrote.
I tried to contact Chan via email to find out more, but the
address no longer works. Suffice it to say that it was time for his mom to
retire, and maybe longtime manager Johnny Chu as well, and Ricky didn’t want to
go it alone.
The bamboo shades are now drawn at Sichuan Pavilion, and I’m sure
a new restaurant coming in would require the creation of a handicapped
accessible bathroom, and maybe other upgrades as well, which might not make it
feasible. Just like the former Piero’s on South Regent Street, that location
may never be a restaurant again.
325 North Main St.
Closed week of Apr. 18
As we went to press, I discovered that Nessa Ristorante, located
diagonally across the street from the Port Chester police station, had closed
the week of Apr. 18. The upscale enotecca or Italian sandwich shop, which
opened in 2007, had undergone a rebranding last fall to add more flexibility to
the menu. That transformation apparently didn’t help bring business back to
what it had been in the restaurant’s heyday as one of Port Chester’s finer dining
When you call Nessa’s telephone number, the message does not
indicate that the restaurant is closed.