Why LeFarm in Westport Closed Its Doors: Q & A with Chef Bill Taibe

Stephanie Webster

Many CT diners were shocked when Bill Taibe announced that LeFarm in Westport was closing its doors after six years. LeFarm was without a doubt one of the most highly celebrated restaurants in Connecticut, a place where local chefs gathered on their nights off and regulars booked a table weekly. So why did it close? We sat down with Chef Bill Taibe (owner ofKawa Niand The Whelk) to find out why...

LeFarm was a very successful restaurant right up until the day you closed the doors. Why did you decide to sell LeFarm?It was the right time. We had met our goals at LeFarm. It is now time to set our sites on a more focused plan. We want to offer more services. Create new experiences. Push ourselves a bit harder.

Had you been thinking about selling LeFarm for a long time?Not really. This was a quick transaction. When I thought of selling I had a few chefs in mind. Brian was at the top of that list. I wanted to make sure that the location was passed onto a passionate chef who would carry on the standards we had set in the great space.

Were there challenges of running such a small intimate restaurant? There are challenges in running any restaurant. At LeFarm storage was always an issue, but I really didn’t mind it.  It kept us fresh and honest. You could never get too ahead on your prep. This allowed me to constantly change items. We never carried much over to another service. 

Will any of our LeFarm favorites make an appearance on The Whelk or Kawa Ni’s menus? Anthony (The Whelk) and Jeff (Kawa Ni) are both LeFarm alums.  They have and will offer a few dishes over time that pay tribute to the place that really got us all started. But for more of a constant offering we are working on some other ideas/concepts that will be better suited to cook LeFarm food.  

I know you retained the LeFarm trademark?Can we expect LeFarm to open up anywhere else in CT?  It really depends on the location. For me each space has its own personality. If we find one that feels like LeFarm I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Do you have plans to open up a new restaurant in Fairfield County now that you have closed LeFarm? We do. Hopefully a few more. We have lots of ideas and really great customers. So as long as we have those two things going for us we will continue to grow.

Will you be involved at all with Brian Lewis’ new restaurant going into the old LeFarm space? I will not. The location will be about Brian and his team. I can’t wait to see what he does with it.  

What if I have a gift certificate for LeFarm? Can I still use it?  Of course. All LeFarm GC’s will happily be accepted at The Whelk and Kawa Ni.