While the crowds are away, the locals will play—and if there is a better recipe for fun than a Bloody Mary on a quiet Sunday morning, well, I don’t want to know about it. Brunch may be frowned upon in some circles, regarded with disdain as dinner’s ugly stepchild. But brunch can truly be the meal of champions, if you just give it a chance. So where should you brunch on the East End in 2019? Read on to find out.
Although you may here the name Nick & Toni’s and think instantly of the celebrities who haunt the East End, this East Hampton restaurant has been serving meals—including brunch—for 30 years now. Brunch is only offered in the off-season, as are the restaurant’s pizzas, thin-crusted, crispy pies that come from a wood fire oven visible to diners in the front dining room. But the best part of brunch at Nick & Toni’s, aside from the excuse to eat pizza in the morning, is the Bloody Mary board, a collection of pickled things, hot sauces, tomato juices, and, of course, vodka.
Nick & Toni’s, 136 N. Main Street, East Hampton, (631) 324.3550, open Sundays at 11 a.m. for brunch.
Chef Justin Finney once worked the kitchen at Nick & Toni’s; these days, he and his East Hampton restaurant, The Highway, are their direct competition. Chef Finney is doing many interesting things on his new American menu. Brunch, however, should not be overlooked. Sure, you can order French toast, or eggs Benedict, or a frittata, but you can also order a 16-ounce rib eye with eggs, or, a personal favorite, spaghetti Carbonara. Follow it up with an order of potato croquettes and, for the health-minded among us, some roasted tomatoes. Or skip the tomatoes, and order a second mimosa.
The Highway Restaurant & Bar, 290 Montauk Highway, East Hampton, (631) 527.5372, open Sundays at 11 a.m. for brunch.
What about a restaurant entirely devoted to brunch? Because that’s what you’ll find at Greenport’s Bruce & Son, where brunch is served all day (until 2:30). It’s an inspired menu, featuring homemade baked goods (raisin scones, sourdough bread), oats (overnight, served with turmeric and muesli), eggs, pancakes (carrot ricotta, matcha), sandwiches (the Cuban for the win), burgers, and, of course, avocado toast. There are also inventive drinks, like the iced butternut squash latte, the lemon lychee bubble tea, the Vietnamese egg coffee, and the citrus matcha cardamom cooler. For those looking for an extra relaxing morning, opt for the CBD chamomile latte.
Bruce & Son, 208 Main Street, Greenport, (631) 477.0023, open Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Tillie’s, with its large windows facing the beaches of Hither Hills, may have the best brunch view out east. The casual, approachable bistro space, with its wood and tile accents, offers a comfortable place to sit and chill for a while. There’s a breakfast buffet, with eggs, pastries, breakfast meats, and more, as well as an a la carte menu that includes such stars as lemon ricotta pancakes with stone fruit and mascarpone mousse. And during the lunch portion of brunch, there’s an addictive macaroni and cheese, made with cheddar and Gruyere.
Tillie’s at Gurney’s Montauk, 290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk, (631) 668.2345, open for brunch at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
This Bridgehampton restaurant-cum-hotel has invited some controversy during the course of its life. Opened by Chef Tom Colicchio, it was abandoned for a time, floating without an executive chef (or much culinary direction). Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has rescued it from oblivion, however, breathing new life into the space. Brunch now observes the 2019 rules of healthy dining (vanilla chia bowl with dates, cacao, and hemp; kale salad; smoked salmon avocado toast), as well as the forever rules of a help-your-hangover brunch (paccheri and meatballs; fried chicken with buttered spinach; pretzel-crusted calamari). Regardless of the route you choose, you will not be disappointed.
Jean-Georges at The Topping Rose House, 1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, (631) 537.0870, open for brunch at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.