As the big green wave of winter’s end crashes upon the streets of Montauk in celebration of the 51st Annual Friends of Erin St. Patrick’s Day Parade, revelers will doubtlessly have little problem fortifying themselves with libations. With an 11:30 a.m. start time, all or most of the usual suspects along Montauk’s main drag will be ready, armed with enough Guinness, Harp and Jameson to quell the thirsty crowds. But the season will have barely begun as of March 17, and where to eat is an entirely different matter. As mother always warned us not to drink on an empty stomach, this handy guide offers a road map of Montauk dining options for the big day, and the weeks thereafter.
With the action focused on Main Street, some places have opted out on food service in years past, and will continue to do so. At the venerable O’Murphy’s Pub (99 Edgemere St.) the kitchen will be closed for the day and tables removed, to accommodate the swarms at the bar. Likewise, the Point Bar and Grill (697 Montauk Hwy.), situated at the heart of the action by the Memory Motel, will be standing room, liquid lunches only.
John’s Pancake House (721 Montauk Hwy.) will be open as usual, serving breakfast to those who arrive early to secure a spot on the parade front lines.
With more than 40 years of St. Paddy’s Day experience, the Shagwong (774 Main St.) has opted to go the full monty, serving both food and drink. Across the way, MTK Cafe (779 Montauk Hwy.) will also be open, serving drinks and lunchtime fare. For those brave enough to storm the bastion of locals perched on the porch of the Trails End Restaurant (63 S. Euclid Ave.), a reasonably priced special menu awaits inside, including split pea soup, burgers and corned beef sandwiches. More “old school” Montauk flavor awaits at The Montauket (88 Firestone Rd.), aka the hamlet’s favorite sunset spot.
For a more upscale dining option, both the Harvest on Fort Pond (11 S Emery St.) and East by Northeast (51 Edgemere St.) restaurants will be open—good luck getting into the Harvest, though, without a reservation. On the same strip, relative newcomer The Coast Kitchen (41 S Euclid Ave.) will make a go of it, having opened for the season the week before. Whether the menu will consist of sushi, corned beef and cabbage, or both is yet to be determined.
To experience the aura of where it all began, head on down to Manucci’s Restaurant (432 W Lake Dr.) in Montauk Harbor, at the site of Kenny’s Tipperary Inn, where the original Friends of Erin first conceived the idea of a Montauk Parade. The menu is primarily Italian—although the chef is bona fide Irish—and a decorative Gaelic map of Ireland still adorns the wall of the spacious restaurant, which will open for dinner service at 2 p.m.
Just a stone’s throw away, Sammy’s (448 W Lake Dr.), which recently launched for a second season, will be serving corned beef and cabbage. For the remainder of the spring, the restaurant will be open daily for lunch and serve dinner on weekends, with karaoke hosted by “Big Rich” on Saturday nights.
The Montauk Yacht Club (32 Star Island Rd.), also in Montauk Harbor, has opened for the season and will be serving food and drink until 8 p.m. Likewise, for those looking for something a little on the fancy side, Gurney’s Inn (290 Old Montauk Hwy.), overlooking the Atlantic, will serve lunch and dinner.
For those willing and able to make the drive (it’s still a bit too chilly for swimming) Inlet Seafood (541 E Lake Dr.), a fisherman-owned co-op with spectacular sunset views, will be open on the other side of Montauk Harbor.
By the time the great green line painted along the pavement has faded into spring, a few more Montauk eateries will have awakened from hibernation in Montauk Harbor. There is no word yet on whether storm related water damage will prevent West Lake Clam and Chowder House from making its usual mid-April opening. Swallow East will ease into the season with weekends, starting on April 18, and rumor has it that The Dock will open in full regal on or around April 29.