WESTPORT, MASSACHUSETTS — In tough economic times, one solution to beating the stiff competition may be to diversify what you have to offer.
With that in mind, where else can you get baked scallops fresh out of the ocean waters off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts …. and the Beatles?
Where else can you sample a stuffed quahog, and take in a New Year’s Eve-A-Palooza on Dec. 31, followed by a Champagne Brunch Buffet the next day?
Where else can you enjoy a Date Night Special — for $35.99, it includes a bottle of wine and two dinner entrees — mixed in with Steve Lopes performing as “The Portuguese Fisherman” at a charity benefit?
Welcome to White’s of Westport.
For decades, this popular restaurant off Route 6 in the quaint ocean resort town of Westport has been feeding locals and visitors alike, at a convenient stop in-between the mill city of Fall River and the fishing city of New Bedford. It has a beautiful location, right across the street from Watuppa Pond, which might tempt you on your first visit to White’s to take a stroll across the street and glance out at the water.
White’s also has a convenient location, right off the highway (Interstate 195), and right next to the Hampton Inn, for those looking for a place to stay in the area. If you do stay here, this spot provides you with a great opportunity to visit the nearby beaches (including Horseneck Beach in Westport, with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean) or the historic downtown in New Bedford’s fishing port area. Massachusetts has a lot of history that’s been well preserved, and it’s no surprise that tourism remains one of the Bay State’s top industries.
For years, White’s had been a popular spot for special events — weddings, for example, or political functions. In my ten years reporting for the local daily newspaper, I can no longer count up how many political rallies I attended here, and the location was no surprise: after delivering the speeches, what better way to woo the crowd of supporters than to provide them with lunch at this excellent restaurant? No wonder most of the folks who launched their campaigns here ended up winning.
White’s, though, has a new mantle out front. Right below the name on the sign, it states quite clearly the new, expanded mission: Regional Hospitality Center.
So what does that mean?
It means that in a smart sign of the times, White’s has diversified. This restaurant, which has multiple dining rooms, now hosts dinner theater shows and special events. It’s not just a place to eat fine seafood, or to get some cocktails after hours. Now it’s also a place to be entertained.
White’s is hosting a comedy show on Friday, Oct. 14. Lopes will perform his routines on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Then on Nov. 15, White’s hosts Beatlemania.
Now that’s entertainment.
White’s is hosting a DJ Party featuring M.C. Music Productions on Friday, Dec. 16, with a holiday buffet. There are three Holiday Dinner Theatre shows here in December, including Joey & Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding on Friday, Dec. 9 — the longest running all-interactive comedy wedding in the nation; Manny & Teresa’s Portuguese Weddying on Sunday, Dec. 11, billed as an interactive dinner comedy where “You are Manny and Teresa’s friends and family. Hug, kiss, dance and drink with Manny, Teresa and the wedding party as you enjoy a delicious meals, and celebrate the couple as they survive the most hectic day of their lives — Portuguese style!”; and Jimmy & Jenny’s Wacky Western Wedding on Saturday, Dec. 17, featuring two families fueding over who prepares the best barbeque sauce.
So if you haven’t been to a good wedding in a while, White’s is calling your name.
In addition, the Lafrance family, which opened this restaurant decades ago, is trying to get local residents into the holiday spirit in another way. The Lafrance Hospitality Toys for Tots Drive will be held in November and December. Anyone who brings a new toy to one of the restaurant’s holiday celebrations will get a 2 for 1 dinner voucher.
Beyond the entertainment, White’s is a charming restaurant in other ways. The interior is designed to look like the inside of a large luxury liner, and if you sit by the window and glance out at Watuppa Pond, you may feel at times like you’re on a cruise line.
This is particularly true if you visit the Gallery Grille at the back of the restaurant, where the finest in New England seafood plates await you.
The decision by White’s to branch out into dinner theater looks like a very smart one, because when I visited the Gallery Grille on Tuesday night, the food was as good as ever, and the service was friendly, the atmosphere still charming and appealing. On your next visit to Southern Massachusetts, seek out White’s, and find out what you’re missing at this truly regional hospitality center.
To learn more, call 508-675-7185, or log on to www.LafranceHospitality.com.
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.