Jesup Hall Electrifies Culinary Experience of Downtown Westport Kaya Leitner '19 and Daniel Harizman '19

Amidst the brownstone buildings, comprised of porous bricks, overlaying the scenery of downtown Westport, lies a bijou, lively dining establishment named Jesup Hall. The restaurant located on 90 Post Rd East is relatively hidden, and at first sight, may appear to be out of place in the back of a parking lot. A short flight of stairs leads customers into the energetic and vibrant atmosphere of the dining establishment, that from the inside, is impossible to miss. Although most commonly defined as Traditional American style eating, Jesup Hall has attempted to recreate classic ‘pub and tavern’ dining through a more modernized and high end take on original dishes. To Restaurateur, Bill Taibe, Jesup Hall is one of his most recent endeavors, as he also opened the beloved Kawa Ni and the Whelk in the Saugatuck area.

Lightly seared tuna topped with tuna sliced tangerine and julienned green onions - $17

The highly anticipated new spot was buzzing with excitement, smiles and chatter of approval dispersed across the dimly light room. There is ample seating, the space fitting a handful of communal tables in the center, a bar the spanning the length of the room, and extra seating to sit by reservation. The restaurant gives off a welcoming and spunky vibe, much different from the average Westport spot, a sophisticated yet semi-casual atmosphere. While the ambiance of the restaurant might not have captured that of the quintessential American tavern in the way it aimed to, the food was surely representative of it. Upon some deliberation accompanied by the helpful recommendations of our waiter, we came to the decision to split four appetizers; the warm olive monkey bread, lightly seared tuna, bacon and tapping reeve rice balls, and the crispy fried cauliflower. While the burgers initially caught our eye and surely had our mouths watering, they were certainly out of our price range. However, our spirits were instantly lifted upon our first bite of the rice balls, having us begging for more.

(Left) Warm olive monkey bread topped with diced olives alongside whipped cheese spread - $15 | (Right) Fried Cauliflower over a pool of blue cheese fondue, topped with chopped peanuts - $12

Beginning our meal with the bacon and tapping reeve rice balls allowed us to get a feel for the chef’s cooking style as well as the unique flavoring mastered in his classic saloon dishes. The rice balls were a perfect start to our dining experience and set the stage for the plethora of flavors we would soon devour. The menu options varied, offering a vast selection from duck wings, to burrata on pumpernickel, to lightly seared tuna. The fried cauliflower and warm olive monkey bread were evidently infused with a medley of typical american flavors, including a kick of red pepper, slight addition of cumin, and a hefty portion of thyme and oregano. A contrast of flavor came through as we feasted on the rice balls, loaded with smoky bacon and authentic reggiano cheese, over a bed of sour cabbage and hot Italian peppers

Bacon Tapping Reeve Rice Balls served over sour cabbage and hot Italian peppers, covered in shaved reggiano cheese - $14

Our waiter was very personable and attentive, constantly checking in to assure our dining experience was as enjoyable and pleasant as possible. The kind and considerate nature of the employees definitely can be attributed to the excitement and enjoyment that comes with working in such a lively restaurant. Jesup Hall is a must visit, on any foodies culinary journey, as it provides its customers with mouthwatering dishes, and an ebullient, enjoyable atmosphere.


Daniel Harizman and Kaya Leitner

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