Tim Burke, the restaurateur and caterer whose businesses include 230 Elm in Southampton Village, Lobster Grille in Shinnecock Hills and Tim Burke Productions catering, has a new addition to his Hamptons empire: Backbar Grille in Hampton Bays.
In late August, Backbar Grille opened in the space that was most recently occupied by TR Restaurant & Bar. It is located around back at Tully’s Seafood Market on Foster Avenue, on the way to the Ponquogue Bridge. It has also been known as the Blue Lobster and Before the Bridge.
Burke said he had been talking about taking over the restaurant for eight months with Jim Cornese, who owns both Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays and Tully’s. They finally made a deal, and Burke got to work. “It’s a great spot on the water,” he said. “I’ve rejuvenated it.” For instance, the straight eight-seat bar is now a 360-degree, 25-seater. “People are loving that.”
In the kitchen is chef Doug Riess, the brother of Lobster Grille‘s Randy Riess. “People have been raving about the food,” Burke said. After a soft opening and a few days of serving only a few dinners a night, word has spread, and the restaurant was bustling Labor Day weekend.
“There couldn’t be a crazier time for a restaurant to open,” just before the end of the busy summer season, Burke said. But now he plans to stay open year round, seven days a week. “I’m realizing that Hampton Bays is a very large, highly populated year-round area, more so than any other town out here,” he said.
Fridays and Saturdays have a “dance party” starting at 9 p.m.
Among the appetizers are crispy calamari ($11), blue crab cake ($9), clams casino ($6), steamed Shinnecock clams with chorizo, potato, corn tomato, garlic, white wine and olive oil ($11). Sandwiches include crab cake po’ boy ($10), classic ruben ($10), BBQ beef brisket ($10), lobster roll ($18), fried flounder ($12) and salmon BLT ($10).
There are tacos available for $8.50 per pair. Choose from grilled local fish, pulled pork and red chili shrimp.
The entrees are grilled yellowfin tuna ($22), horseradish salmon ($16), chicken kabobs ($14), 14-ounce New York steak ($25), three meats in a loaf ($14), and daily seafood specials.
Backbar Grille is open seven days a week at noon. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m., with two-for-one drinks. Monday is employee night with 25 percent off food and drunk. Tuesday is $5 burger night, Wednesday is $19.95 steak night, Thursday is taco night with $5 for a pair of pulled pork tacos, and Fridays has a complimentary happy hour buffet and $12.95 fried cod and fries. Sunday is spaghetti and meatball night for $9.95.
For reservations, call 631-728-2208.