There are more than 50 golf courses on the East End of Long Island—from high-end private clubs with 18 meticulously kept holes and ocean views to bucolic municipal and public courses that offer as few as three holes. What joins them all—aside from the golf, but that’s for another magazine—is that they serve food. And not just for golfers looking for a lunch break or cocktail at the end of the day.
We visited these seven courses that have established reputations for serving food on the links and whose restaurants are open to the public, whether you’re looking for a grand-slam breakfast or Crescent Farms duck breast with organic wild rice, local asparagus, butter and shallots.
Blackwells at Great Rock Golf Club in Wading River
That Crescent Farms duck is on the newly revamped menu at Blackwells. Until early July, Blackwells was a steak house, but now chef Chris Gerdes, a 30-year vegetarian who went vegan six years ago, and manager Brian Curtain have changed the focus to emphasize local food and wine. The Long Island wine page on their list features 20 local wines, and the dinner menu includes Catapano goat cheese, Satur Farms greens, as well as local striped bass and scallops. Diners can sit in very club-like dining rooms or at the paneled bar or outside by a wood-burning fireplace. On tap in the bar, all 11 beers are local, including Long Ireland and Blue Point. The restaurant is open seven days per week for lunch and dinner. They close at 9 p.m. during the week and 10 p.m. on the weekends. Blackwells, 141 Fairway Drive, Wading River; 631.929.1800
Outerbanks Restaurant at Indian Island Golf Course in Riverhead
In their second year, the owners of the concession at this county-owned course have stepped up their offerings and are providing a space for private parties that includes a dining room and an area under a tent. The restaurant is open year round, and last year with the mild winter the course stayed open, too, for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a snacks menu for late night. Manager Shannon Blizzard says favorites on the menu include chicken piccata, wings and linguine with local clams. Happy hour is held every weekday from 3–6 p.m. and there’s a lobster bake on Wednesday nights for $23. Outerbanks, 661 Riverside Drive, Riverhead; 631.873.4123
Stonewalls at the Woods at Cherry Creek Golf Course in Riverhead
Executive chef Guy Peuch has been with the restaurant since it opened eight years ago, and the menu and wine list reflect his French background. There is a prix-fixe dinner menu for $29.95 every night in addition to an à la carte menu featuring jumbo lump crab cakes, gravlax, farm-raised chicken sauté Basquaise with chorizo and calf’s liver sauté Lyonnaise. The restaurant has an open and clubby feel; diners can watch golf carts whiz by the large windows. A separate barroom serves lighter fare. And, in what may be the best golf-food deal on the East End, Stonewalls offers Nine and Dine, where one can play nine holes and then eat a full dinner for $55. Stonewalls, 967 Reeves Avenue, Riverhead; 631.506.0777, ext. 2
Fairway at Poxabogue in Bridgehampton
Fairway East at Montauk Downs in Montauk
These are sister restaurants owned by Danny Murray. The menus and hours are the same; both are open for breakfast and lunch (attracting early-morning fishermen for hash browns and eggs, or midday office workers for club sandwiches) and will do private parties at night. Murray says he buys all his potatoes from Foster’s Farm in Sagaponack, his tomatoes from the Dankowskis in Wainscott and assorted vegetables and corn from Pike Farms in Sagaponack. At both restaurants a golf motif decorates the dining room. In Montauk, from the rooftop catering space, diners have great views of the links, ocean and sound. Fairway, Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton; 631.521.7100; Fairway East, 50 South Fairview Avenue, Montauk; 631.668.5757
Island’s End Grill at Island’s End Golf & Country Club
Restaurant manager Gabrielle Cassone says further updates are on the way for this venerable breakfast institution on the border of East Marion. New menus for catering that focus on local produce will accompany the new paint job and the management change. The restaurant food is short order, she says, but the 16th hole is on Long Island Sound and a perfect spot for a wedding. Events max out at 100 guests. In the meantime, the restaurant is open during the summer, seven days per week from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. On Sunday a $10 breakfast buffet includes juice and coffee. Island’s End Grill, 5025 Route 25, Greenport; 631.477.0777
Fresh Restaurant at Shelter Island Country Club on Shelter Island
Fresh is on the grounds of the oldest nine-hole golf course in the United States, says concession owner Tammy Moore, who is in her second year running the restaurant with chef Michael Morelli. The Victorian home with a wraparound porch housing the restaurant was built in 1897 and much of it is still original construction. Moore and Morelli rely heavily on a local fisherman, a clammer and farmers to create their menu. “I have one guy who brings the clams to my house at six o’clock in the morning,” she says. The menu includes baked chopped clams, local mussels in a tomato-basil broth, catch of the day and a pasta primavera that features whatever’s in season. The restaurant is open Tuesday nights 4–9 p.m.; Wednesdays–Saturdays 11:30 a.m.– 9 p.m.; Sundays 11:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. and Mondays 4:30–8:30 p.m. But don’t stay too late, Moore insists the house is haunted, but not in an evil way. Fresh Restaurant, 26 Sunnyside Avenue, Shelter Island Heights; 631.668.5757