Chef Matthew Guiffrida has been serving up his creative, innovative cuisine for Hamptons foodies since 2007, when Muse was located in the Water Mill plaza. Since then, he’s moved his restaurant to Sag Harbor and sunk his roots deep into the community, hosting annual events like the Frost Ball, which kicks off HarborFrost each year. Now Guiffrida is toiling away at the next big move: This time he’ll be opening a second restaurant, Muse in Montauk.
“Montauk seemed like the obvious choice,” Guiffrida said. “It has a beachy, artsy vibe, similar to Sag Harbor. For who we are, and our style, it’s that same relaxed feel.”
With the success of Muse in the Harbor over the past three years, Giuffrida and his business partners had been looking for a place to expand, and the opportunity on South Euclid Avenue, right in the heart of Montauk, kind of fell into their laps.
“When things just line up that way,” he said, “you just gotta do it.”
They’ve been renovating the space, which was formerly called Coast. They’re taking some design cues from their current location, including the bright open spaces and the worn wooden floors.
“Here in Sag Harbor,” he said, “we have 13 French doors that open up and let the outside air in. We will do the same things there. We’ll have French doors to open up both sides of room, and light driftwood floors. With both Montauk and Sag Harbor, the water is right there off of Main Street, and we want to bring the beach right in to the restaurant in terms of décor and food.”
The menu in Montauk will be mostly the same as the one in Sag Harbor, with a few items specific to the ocean-side location.
“Our food lines up with our vibe,” Guiffrida said. “Our menus are playful. We take what we do seriously, but we don’t want to take it too seriously.”
He mentions out-of-the-box dishes, like the Bacon and Egg Breakfast Salad and the Not-Yo-Mama’s Meatballs, which will be served in both places. But he’s currently at work on a signature Montauk dish for the new location. Guiffrida was reluctant to give too much away, but he did say that he was working on incorporating everything Montauk is known for into one dish.
“I don’t know if it’s too ambitious yet,” he said. “But I’d like to do it.”
Anyone who’s been to either the Muse in Sag Harbor or its former incarnation in Water Mill knows that Guiffrida has a thing for fish tanks. In Water Mill, the bar was actually filled with brightly colored, happily swimming fish. In Sag Harbor, a giant tank is the centerpiece of the whole restaurant. Whether a fish tank will be part of the décor in Montauk is still up in the air.
“We want to continue to open Muses out here in different towns,” Guiffrida said, “and maybe eventually in the city. So if we do another tank, that’s our thing. We have to think it through.”
Regardless of fish in the tank, there will undoubtedly be lots of fish on the menu in Montauk. Guiffrida likes to plan his menus according to what’s happening locally in the farms and fisheries, so he’s holding out a little longer before planning everything.
“This year, bay scallops were so plentiful,” he said. “Last year there weren’t nearly as many. So I wait until close to the season, and I talk to fishermen, farmers, and seafood purveyors.”
Then he puts the menu together.
All else aside, Guiffrida is just excited to have a reason to go out to Montauk regularly. He’ll be cooking at both locations, with another chef in Montauk and a sous chef in Sag Harbor.
“I’m excited to go between the two locations,” he said, “to have a new clientele to talk to, and to feed.”