Two Railroad Place dining establishments — Romanacci restaurant, above, and Harvest Wine Bar and Restaurant, below — were granted “Pop-Up Café” permits this week to use parking spaces for seasonal outdoor dining. / Photos by Gretchen Webster

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Outdoor dining will “pop up” at two more Saugatuck restaurants under permits approved this week by the Board of Selectwomen.

“Pop-Up Café” permits, revised earlier this year by the board, were granted Wednesday to Harvest Wine Bar and Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place, and Romanacci restaurant, 46 Railroad Place.

An outdoor dining permit for a neighboring restaurant, Tarantino at 30 Railroad Place, was granted a permit by the selectwomen on March 22.

The permits allow restaurants to offer al fresco dining from April 1 through Nov. 1.

Harvest owner Vincente Siguenza, whose restaurant has offered outdoor dining the past few years, said, “It’s been very successful. Last year was very smooth — no complaints whatsoever.”

The restaurant will be allowed to use two parking spaces for its outdoor dining area.

Mark Bartoalone, an architect representing Romanacci restaurant, said its owners, Maurizio and Graziano Ricci, sought permission to use two parking spaces for the restaurant’s outdoor dining area, the same as last year.

There had been concerns in the past about restaurants expanding outdoor dining into parking spaces. But those issues were resolved and last year outdoor dining on Railroad Place took place without incident, said Eileen Francis, office manager for the selectwomen.

Richard Yu, who attended the selectwomen’s meeting to address a different issue, spoke in support of the outdoor dining permits, as a commuter who walks down Railroad Place on a daily basis.

“For those of us who commute into New York City, it’s really nice to see these type of set ups,” he said. “You come home on the train; it’s nice to see this vibrancy in Westport. I think it’s great for the town.”

All outdoor dining permits are subject to approval by the fire marshal, and must meet bonding and insurance requirements imposed by the town. Permit holders also must have valid food establishment permits from the Aspetuck Health District.

Pop-Up Café regulations, in addition to authorizing the local outdoor dining season from April 1 to Nov. 1, set hours of operation from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The rules also prohibit amplified outdoor music, and no music is allowed after 9 p.m. any night.

Waiver approved for steep driveway

Also approved at Wednesday’s Board of Selectwomen meeting was a waiver for 15 Gorham Ave., allowing a driveway to be built with a slope steeper than permitted under town code.

“It’s kind of dangerous; there’s a huge rock outcropping,” architect Mark Bartoalone told the selectwomen. Improving the driveway is part of a project to build a second floor on the existing one-story house on the property, he said.

Town Engineer Keith Wilberg said the property’s steep slope represents a true hardship and is “one of the very few that fit the policy” for granting a waiver to the town code. “My recommendation would be to approve this,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to grant the waiver.

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 teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.