323 Restaurant closes suddenly

December 5, 2018

WESTPORT — A town restaurant infamous for selling a “Tuskegee Experiment” cocktail closed suddenly this week.

Opened in 2013, 323 Main Street was home to a bar, dining area and, on many nights, live music featuring performers such as Westporter Greg Wall, otherwise known as the Jazz Rabbi.

“It was a matter of time. It wasn’t run very well, which is too bad. It’s a wonderful location and I’m hoping someone will run a nice place there,” Wall said.

On Sunday, Wall went to 323, but found nobody there and the restaurant closed. On Monday night, a musician friend of Wall’s heard 323 closed; he went to the establishment only to find it locked up. The building’s owner said the tenant had been evicted, according to Wall.

“The signs have been coming a long time,” Wall said.

After 323 came under fire in August for listing a cocktail called “The Tuskegee Experiment” on its menu, Wall and his bandmates stopped playing their usual Thursday night gig and moved the event to the Pearl at Longshore.

“When it blew up, all they had to do was apologize. But they denied it and came up with lame excuses and when it was clear they weren’t going to apologize we stopped playing,” Wall said.

The name Tuskegee Experiment refers to the U.S. government’s 40-year medical experiment that left hundreds of African-American men with syphilis untreated, so scientists could study the progression of the disease. The study began in 1932 in collaboration with Tuskegee University, a historically black college in Alabama.

The bar’s owners did not respond to request for comment.

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1

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