Montauk’s Naturally Good Is Expanding

Naturally Good's gluten-free brownie. Writer, Gerry Plenecke. Montauk, NY

It’s a chocolate aficionado’s dream, a brownie that’s a rumble of complex and dense tones and textures, and gluten-free to boot. Its popularity is one of the extremely edible reasons why Montauk’s Naturally Good Foods is expanding into new quarters on the village’s Main Street in April. Expanded gluten-free choices, extended hours, dinner and possibly several local beers and wines are on the menu.

Over the last five summers — as word spread among Montauk insiders about the café’s remarkable fresh yellowfin tuna salad, its organic carrot-based juices, its smoothies and the flavors of its salad dressings and soups — customers and incoming produce began vying for the same floor space. Storage capacity? One small closet. The café easily blew through 100 pounds of carrots, primarily for juices, for breakfast and lunch on busy days last summer. Celebrity chef Sam Talbot, waiting one morning for his daily ration of juiced vegetables, said Naturally Good “is extraordinary, the best food in town.” Even in the chill off-season, locals crowd three and four deep waiting for lunch.

The menus and dishes are a collaboration between co-owners Lauren Katz and chef Andrea Mavro, food-loving friends since the sixth grade in Queens who fell under Montauk’s spell when both worked at Andrea’s father’s Montauk Clothing Company. Buying ownership of the popular Naturally Good founded in 1985 seemed preordained. Katz studied nutrition at NYU; Mavro had a stint at Manhattan’s Natural Gourmet Institute after Cornell, then a year given free-reign as a private chef to experiment with innovative vegetarian meals. “I learned to develop my style,” says Marvo. She balances elements of taste to create depths of flavor seldom found outside high-end kitchens.

The new 1474-square-foot café and a 1,600-square-foot garden will seat more than 60 people. With 900 square feet in basement storage and a larger kitchen, expect winning flavors-in-waiting from the pair: new gluten-free creations, organic chicken, beef dishes, nightly fish tacos. The outgrown 850-square-foot location will become a “grab and go” seasonal shop.

Naturally Good, 38 South Etna Avenue, Montauk, opens Mon–Sat 7 a.m., Sun 7:30 a.m.; 631.668.9030,
Naturally Good Foods and Café is to open at 779 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, hours TBD.