Summer 2012 Preview: Talking with Restaurateur David Loewenberg

David Loewenberg is at it again! With the opening of The Bell & Anchor in Sag Harbor, Loewenberg will officially be the biggest restaurateur in the Hamptons. The eatery, which will be located at 3253 Noyac Rd., will focus on seafood – steamed lobsters, a raw bar and simply prepared fish grace the menu. There will also be some great turf options, a children’s menu and a full bar. The Bell & Anchor is the second joint venture between Loewenberg and executive chef Sam McCleland, as the duo is behind The Beacon. Loewenberg also has his hand in red/bar brasserie and Little Red in Southampton and Fresno in East Hampton.

Loewenberg shared his insights into the Hamptons restaurant business, and what he’s most looking forward to with his newest adventure:

You have had so much success with your restaurants – what made you decide to open The Bell & Anchor?

Sam and I have been looking for another restaurant opportunity which would complement The Beacon. We have been looking for a year round business, which would enable us to offer our clientele great cuisine, service and ambience.

You have been a part of more restaurants than anyone else on the East End – what about owning a restaurant out here most appeals to you?

I love the connections I have with our staff, our clientele, our purveyors. Being able to operate businesses on the East End is special to me for many reasons, but mainly because I can’t believe how lucky I am to actually live in such a beautiful place. I love the intensity of the summer season, the excitement of the harvest/fall season, the ability to slow down through the winter, but still maintain good business practices, and the build up of spring.

What is your overarching philosophy when it comes to owning and running a restaurant?

Operating a restaurant is not a simple task. One must understand the need for systems. You must be consistent in your management, service and cuisine. I feel that successful restaurants are only as good as their weakest links, and through training, repetition and honest enjoyment of hospitality, your weakest links can become your greatest assets.

What are you most excited about for The Bell & Anchor?

OystersLobster…and Pork Belly!

We are also excited about the facility itself. We have totally redone the kitchen, (and it will be) the largest kitchen we have built to date. The dining room, which was designed by my wife, Sarah, will boast a great bar with a local tap, beautiful banquets and stellar water views. Then of course, there is Sammy’s seafood menu.

What inspired the menu?

When Sam and I walked through the restaurant, we both felt that a lobster/oyster house was calling out. There are a great many fantastic restaurants here on the East End, however there are not many in this immediate area that serve simply steamed lobsters. We are both excited to be able to serve the foods we love: fruits de mar, shellfish, porchetta, ribeye, roast chicken…

Are you working with local food providers? Can you talk about why you decided to source the food locally?

I feel it’s a given that if you live in a farming region you should somehow offer its fare. We have always served local fish and produce, eggs and poultry when available, wines and beers, pigs and honey. Our menus are not wholly sourced from the East End, but we do embrace our region with great pride. We will without a doubt rotate our oyster program to include local bivalves.

What do you hope the ambience of The Bell & Anchor will be like?

We hope that The Bell & Anchor will feel like it has always been there. Sam and I want our customers will feel comfortable and at home. The décor is a mix of classic American & European sensibility.

When you’re not at the restaurants, what do you like to do in the Hamptons?

When I’m not in my restaurants I love to be in other people’s restaurants. I also love to cook at home and with friends. It seems I get to the beach much more in the “off season” and I love to walk our dogs there. I also love biking in the Northwest Woods or Hills of Tuckahoe.

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