Each summer the restaurant scene on the East End mixes up and intensifies. Who’s going into that empty space. Which spot has a new chef and will anyone ever make that location that never works a winner? Kelly Ann Smith is on the case.
Wölffer Estate Vineyards in Sagaponack is opening a restaurant at 29 Main Street in Sag Harbor! I’ve been holding this secret for months. Now that the cat is out of the bag, we can all rejoice! Wölffer Kitchen will be the first winery-owned restaurant on Long Island. Marc and Joey Wölffer, children of the late founder Christian Wölffer, along with long-time winemaker Roman Roth, decided a restaurant would be the logical next step and I couldn’t agree more. In addition to Sagaponack, the Wölffers own vineyards in Argentina and Spain and you can expect the dinner menu to reflect at least the latter. Long Island-raised chef Deena Chafetz will prepare local bounty with a Mediterranean flair to pair with Wölffer wines, ciders and spirits. You can read about their new artisanal gin and brandy coming soon on Edible East End. In the meantime, Martin Architects are helping to design the old Cuddy space into a light and airy, whitewashed “wine box,” opening out to the street, around Fourth of July.
You can’t get any more classic American than Cape Resorts Baron’s Cove at 31 West Water Street. The new two-story eatery plays off the docks across the street very well. Dark wood flooring throughout and a wood-burning fireplace on each floor lends a clubby feel. The first floor bar and lounge area is strewn with couches and comfy chairs and will extend to the outdoors and serve small plates down the road. Meanwhile, the upstairs dining room, decorated with yachting flags and contrasting white ceiling beams, just opened. Executive chef Matty Boudreau, last seen in the kitchen of Shelter Island’s Vine Street Cafe, is serving up simple American fare like shrimp cocktail, lobster salad, scallops, steaks and chicken. Prices are on the high side, but since when are water views cheap? baronscove.com
On the other end of the price spectrum, chef Paul Del Favero and his wife Susana are serving up hearty but healthy sandwiches, pizza and roasted veggies out of the old Espresso’s, now Harbor Market and Kitchen. Chef Del Favero’s roots go back 20 years to Nick and Toni’s. After a long stint at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Del Favero family is back home and doing it big, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 184 Division Street. harbormarket.com
I can see Muse at the End (a shoot-off of Muse in the Harbor) adding the joie de vivre that was lacking in the former Coast space at 41 South Euclid Avenue. Although the Muse space is sure to be an improvement, there are plenty of people crying into their Driftwood Ales since three old-school establishments have changed hands in Montauk: the Shagwong Tavern at 774 Main Street, O’Murphy’s Pub and Restaurant on the Circle Green and Duryea’s Lobster Deck and Seafood Market overlooking Fort Pond Bay at 63 Tuthill Road.
I’m not sure how the neighbors or the town of East Hampton are going to feel about the 300-seat “upscale restaurant” that is proposed to replace Duryea’s, an 85-year-old wholesale and take-out joint and one of the best kept secrets in the Hamptons. Actually, I do know. They’re not going to like it. Patrons will have at least one more summer to savor thick clam chowder and lobster salad rolls served with ridged potato chips and runny cole slaw. BYOB and grab a plastic picnic table. Regulars love the relaxed atmosphere just the way it is. duryealobsters.com
The Shagwong will also remain the same, at least for this summer, even though that too has been sold. Three of the new owners include Jon Krasner, who also has a stake in Harlow East on the Wharf in Sag Harbor, Beau Campsey, Dock Master at Sag Harbor Cove Yacht Club and Michael Barrett, former owner of the popular midtown haunt the China Club. After almost 50 years in the same family, the 1927 stucco and wood Carl Fisher building has seen it all. Improvements are definitely needed. Let’s hope the salty character and salty characters are not scrubbed too clean. shagwong.com
The same people who bought Shagwong also bought and gutted a similar but smaller building, the old home of O’Murphy’s. The Saltbox is in full renovation mode. I give it another week or two before they open. A fourth partner, Harlow East executive chef Chef Danny Ye is overseeing the pub’s menu. My only wish is that these two village mainstays remain open all year-round, otherwise Montauk will become a true ghost town except for summer.
It didn’t take O’Murphy’s, the 25 year-old Irish pub and restaurant, long to settle into the Tipperary, appropriately enough, at 432 Westlake Drive. It’s good to know they’ll be serving breakfast from 7 a.m. on the weekends and a traditional Irish breakfast every day from noon, not to mention the best shepherd’s pie and pint of Guinness.
To keep you awake for all of this awesomeness, Left Hand Artisan Coffee Brewers at 83 South Elmwood Avenue is open for your caffeinated pleasures. The old Coffee Tauk space has improved, thanks to Walt Lindveld the designer behind the ultra chic Montauk Beach House just across the street, where owner Yannis Papagianni was last seen as food and beverage director. Papagianni takes his coffee seriously and that’s a very good thing.
The best thing to happen in East Hampton in a long time is Momi Ramen at 221 Pantigo Road. Owner Anita Chen told me they just received their noodle machine from Japan but are still under construction, the opening date pushed back to June 5. The old Turtle Crossing space is totally gutted, but will hold 85 seats including 25 outdoors. Aside from serving the freshest noodles possible, chef Jeffrey Chen hand washes 80 pounds of pork bone, one by one, and filtrates his broth five times during an 18-hour cooking process. In addition to their ramen bowls, Japanese tavern food such as fried chicken and grilled short ribs are on the menu. Their website just went live so check it out momihamptons.com
Winston’s Bar and Grill is another breath of fresh air in East Hampton, taking over where Nichol’s left off at 100 Montauk Highway. The floorplan is the same but the space and the food are a lot cleaner. Chef Winston Lyons picked up a thing or two over at the East Hampton Grill, before opening Winston’s about a month ago. The chef’s Jamaican roots add some welcome spice in the form of spicy shrimp Caribbean omelet for breakfast and jerk chicken for dinner. Tuesday night two-for-one Montauk draft specials and Thursday night Red Stripe and wings sure don’t hurt. winstonsds.com
Last year, the Japanese Restaurant Shuko took over the Highway Diner and Bar which has morphed into the new Highway Restaurant & Bar at 290 Montauk Highway in East Hampton. A recently added fire place, some smaller booths and dimmer lighting did wonders to warm the room. The bar opens with a Happy Hour at 4 p.m. followed by dinner at 5 p.m. including a brisk take-out business.
Just down the road, Osteria Salinas has moved from Bridgehampton and is ready to open at 108 Wainscott Stone Road in Wainscott with the same menu, including Sicilian classics fritto misto and bucatini con sarde. A baby grand piano is being brought into the homey space, as are outdoor tables overlooking Georgica Creek. Osteria Salinas is a family-run affair owned by Tim Gaglio. His wife Cinzia runs the kitchen, and sons Gabriel, Claudio and Timothy are working behind the bar and on the floor. Even Donte, the family’s 14-year-old German shorthaired pointer was seen in the hustle during Memorial Day weekend.