By Gretchen Webster
WESTPORT — The day after Westport’s newest restaurant, Mexicue, opened at 38 Main St., founder Thomas Kelly said the “contemporary Mexican-American restaurant” was off to a good start.
He and Lynn Wilson, Mexicue’s operating partner, took about a year to plan and open the downtown location, once the site of the Bobby Q’s and Onion Alley restaurants.
The Mexicue in Westport is the seventh owned and operated by Kelly and Wilson. There are three others in New York City, two in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area and one in Stamford.
The Westport restaurant is perched over Main Street, but with a street-level entrance behind from Bedford Square onto the terrace and main floor, making it easy for people to park and avoid stairs, Wilson said.
Inside, a long, softly backlit bar takes center stage, with bright mural paintings by artist Magda Love surrounding the dining area. There is also a separate room which can be used for parties, as well as the terrace, she said.
Tacos and margaritas are featured fare on the Mexicue menu.
“People like a good margarita with tacos,” and a place that is “fun and vibrant with loud music and strong drinks,” Kelly said.
The Mexicue concept has origins as a food truck in New York City 12 years ago, when Kelly had a day job in marketing and was moonlighting in restaurants. “I had been surrounded by food and restaurants my whole life,” he said, and decided to take his love of pleasing people with good food and drink to the next level, opening his first restaurant in New York.
Wilson, who had worked in operations at a corporate restaurant company for 20 years, joined him in 2017. She designed the Westport kitchen “from scratch,” she said.
The partners said they are familiar with Westport and got to know the area by meeting guests from town in their other Mexicue restaurants. The spirit of community in Westport is especially appealing, they said.
On opening night Nov. 16, the owner of Nômade restaurant a few doors up Main Street, and the manager of Bar Taco across the river came to congratulate them, Kelly said.
“We love this area,” he said. “We couldn’t be more excited to be part of this community.”
Mexicue restaurant, 38 Main St. Hours: 4 to 11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 4 p.m. to midnight Fridays, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.
Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist and journalism teacher for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman newspaper for 10 years and currently teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.