The Duck Is Here To Stay


Photo taken by Kaila Finn

The outside of the still-standing Black Duck

Kaila Finn, Web A&E Editor

You walk into an unevenly paved parking lot with the aroma of saltiness from the griddle inside. The restaurant slumps proudly on large wooden stilts in a stark navy blue paint on the Saugatuck River. The door handle is loose and the wood is peeling.

The Black Duck doesn’t look that stupendous at first sight. In fact, for years, citizens of Westport just crossed their fingers that this barge-turned-café wouldn’t float away.

But Westporters need not fret, the Duck will be here for awhile.

“We’ve been here for 35 years so I guess we’re [doing] something right”, joked Martin the bartender, who also happens to be a Westport Little League coach and Religions teacher at Assumption Church in Westport.

The Duck has always had a rich history. It started as a refrigeration barge that finally docked in 1961, and over the years The Duck became a bait shop, dress store, and three other restaurants. In 1978, The Black Duck became what we know today to claim the space and legacy for over three decades.

Their slogan says it all. “Good food, good drink, great times”. What makes the Duck so much more interesting than any other trendy joint housing twenty-somethings and usually overly expensive meals is the culture of old Westport and people just enjoying good company.

The Duck, visited by Guy Fieri of “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives” from Food Network, praised the stuffed burgers, Clams Casino, and hot wings.

“A warning–use surgical gloves when taking out contacts after the Duck wings. Did I mention the wings were spicy?” Adam Adelkopf recently joked with his softball team, who are weekly customers after games,

When I visited, I ordered the “Ship” Burger, a Western Omelette, classic French Toast, and Cobb Salad. I loved the french toast’s crispy shell as well as the “Ship” burger, which had a rich fried egg yolk resting atop the burger that melded well with the delightful grilled flavor. The omelette and Cobb Salad were average and a nice addition, although both were on the heavy side.

Besides the great vibe and off-the-charts food, some say The Duck is as important to the community as City Hall. The league of Men’s Softball in the community always heads to Black Duck for a beer and burgers after tiring games.

“When we play softball on Wednesdays, 50% is about the game, and 50% is about wings at the Duck after,” says Jack Burg, one the many softball players that trek to the Duck after games.

This joint is historic Westport, through and through, and as Bob Slote, the property owner, put it: “It’s not foo-foo. It’s real”.