This holiday season, the team behind Sydney’s in Westhampton Beach will be celebrating more than just Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. They will be celebrating the rarest of milestones in the East End’s notoriously challenging marketplace: their 30th anniversary.
Established in 1993, Sydney’s is more than just a gourmet market, full service caterer and cafe. The brainchild of Erin B. Finley and chef David W. Blydenburgh, a supremely talented husband-and-wife team, Sydney’s is a Westhampton Beach tradition and true community treasure. It is also home to Finley and Blydenburg’s ‘omakase speakeasy’—Taylor’s Sushi Suite—an experience as exceptional as it’s been mired in local drama.
“We have been given such a hard time about Taylor’s Sushi Suite because of two neighbors,” says Finley. “But the community support has been overwhelming. So many people keep showing up to the meetings and writing letters on our behalf. I mean, I have hundreds and hundreds of emails. So it’s been great to see Westhampton Beach residents show up for us the way we have always loved showing up for them.”
Finley and Blydenburgh—and their team at Sydney’s, which are employed year round (another so-called ‘East End impossibility’)—show up especially at the holidays.
“Thanksgiving is as busy as Labor Day for us,” says Finley. “We don’t do Thanksgiving like a lot of other places, where they offer a complete meal for 8 or 10 people. Instead, we have a ridiculously extensive menu that we offer a la carte. So you can order a whole turkey, or you can order turkey off the bone; you can order a couple pounds of any of our six different stuffings, or you can order any of our hors d’oeuvres, soups, and sides. Of course we also offer dessert. It’s pandemonium, but it’s the most festive pandemonium in the world.”
Christmas is similarly busy for Finley, Blydenburgh and their team. They offer everything from Christmas goose to crown roast of pork, rack of lamb to beef Wellington—just don’t expect to see Finley or Blydenburgh on Christmas Day itself.
“I’m Jewish, but Christmas is the one day you’ll never get me to work,” says Finley. “We are open until 4:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day I will always be home in front of my Christmas tree.”
It is a well-earned respite after a long, busy season—but by now, thirty years in, Finley and Blydenburgh are used to it. And more importantly, even, they still love what they do.
“David and I work extremely well together. As he says, I make up our menu and then he has to figure out what exactly I’m talking about, or what exactly I just sold to somebody,” Finley laughs. “It shouldn’t work, I guess, but it does.”
The success of Sydney’s suggests that this husband-and-wife recipe not only works, but works extremely well. Named after Finley and Bydenburgh’s daughters, Sydney and Taylor, Sydney’s ‘Taylor’ Made Cuisine serves the entire tri-state area through its catering arm, and remains a Westhampton Beach mainstay for its gourmet take-out and dine-in options. Ask a Westhampton Beach local what they love most about Sydney’s and you’ll hear a long list of compliments; one local gentleman loves the quality of their food and the extensiveness of their menu, while another local raves about Finley’s attention to detail and the impeccability of their catering. It seems that, whatever your needs or desires—Thanksgiving dinner or a special omakase date night, a quick midweek meal or a feast fit for the finest party—Sydney’s has what you’re looking for. As always. For the past 30 years.
So what’s next for Sydney’s?
“Well, for starters, there is no ‘next 30 years.’ I will not be 87 years old and still doing this,” laughs Finley. “But I also can’t stand sitting still. So I think we’ll just continue to serve Westhampton Beach as long as they’ll have us. For now, though, we’re just going to enjoy celebrating the past 30 years.”
For more information on Sydney’s ‘Taylor’ Made Cuisine, please visit their website at sydneysgourmet.com. To place a catering order for the holidays, please email Finley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.