For some the biggest news in South Fork summer dining came with the announcement that Eleven Madison Park will open EMP Summer House (elevennadisonpark.com) in East Hampton on June 24, in partnership with American Express—a more casual location with both indoor and outdoor spaces, seafood-centric fare and fun summer vibes at 341 Pantigo Road (the former Moby’s). The press release reads: “While New York location undergoes renovations, renowned Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara will continue to serve their guests, employ their staff and keep the restaurant culture running with EMP Summer House. American Express Card Members will have exclusive access to the EMP Summer House. Customers will only be able to make a reservation with an American Express Card, and Amex will be the only form of credit card payment accepted at the restaurant.” This is exciting stuff if you have an American Express card, or better yet if your good friend or employer has such a card.
75 Main Group (AM Southampton, Hotel ZE & KOZU) owner Zach Erdem just announced he’s signed on Veteran Restaurateur Tony Fortuna of T-Bar, pointing out that his “75 Main (75main.com, 631-283-7575) is gonna be on fire this summer!” Of course it always is, just like his other eateries and night spots. The new venue T-Bar @ KOZU (631-619-6660) in Southampton promises the best in steaks and seafood this summer, as well as the vegan Spring Gemelli Pasta with asparagus, peas, pumpkin seeds and mint pesto and a selection of sushi. Throughout the summer season KOZU LOUNGE features international DJs at 136 Main Street.
Also white-hot is the highly anticipated return of Bistro Été (bistroete.com, 631-500-9085) to Water Mill, featuring chef/owner Arie Palou’s distinctive coastal French cuisine in a year-round locale. Bistro Été popped up last summer in the yellow farmhouse formerly known as Robert’s in Water Mill. Now it occupies the former Muse space in The Mill. It has been redesigned but expect a homey welcome, as always, from Pavlou’s wife Liz, the resident vegetarian. Naturally, the menu will continue to include some mouthwatering vegan/vegetarian dishes.
But for many, it’s not just about what’s new and hot—it’s about what’s local, what warms us, what the terroir whispers in our collective ear…
Speaking of keeping it local, iconic Hamptons French bistro Almond (almondrestaurant.com, 631-537-5665) in Bridgehampton is committed to serving fresh, locally sourced products seven nights a week. So it’s only “natural” that they’ve added chef Jeremy Blutstein to their staff as their new chef de cuisine. Blutstein is well known on the East End for his fine work at Montauk’s East By Northeast. For several years, Blutstein split time between Montauk and New York working at Eataly, Margaux and Tremont, where he was nominated for a James Beard Award. As Blutstein says, “Cooking seasonally on the East End is made fun by the personal connections we make with the farmers, fisherman, baymen and local artisans.”
Harkening to the cooking—and drinking—of quite another island, Rhum: Island Inspired Cuisine & Rum Bar (rhumpatchogue.com, 631-569-5944) opened in a building designed by Southampton architect Pam Glazer at 13 East Main Street in Patchogue late last year. The latest venture of David Hersh (of Hampton Bays’ eateries Rumba and Cowfish) features a rooftop dining area and, on the ground floor, garage-door glass panels that open to the sidewalk.
Over in Westhampton Beach, check out Baby Moon (babymoon-restaurant.com, 631-288-6350). For more than 35 years the restaurant’s been serving the freshest seafood and incredible Southern Italian dishes and its new management promises to keep it true to its roots. Espresio Café (631-998-4100), a European café, opened at 65 Main Street in Westhampton Beach and offers a full European-style espresso bar and creperie. So…it’s a nice place to have a cup of coffee and a crepe or dessert.
It’s all Greek: A new Greek restaurant has opened in the former Tratta Estiatorio space at 1020 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. Calissa (calissahamptons.com) is helmed by Chef Dominic Rice, who worked at Narcissa and Jean-Georges. This is the latest eatery from the Manhattan group that owns Amali, Il Cantinori and Periyali.
And a new Greek restaurant, Elaia Estiatorio, is about to open on Bridgehampton’s School Street. It promises food that “is uncomplicated, healthy, and pairs beautifully with our selection of Greek wines.”
East End casual dining has never been so rich! La Fogata Bar & Grill (lafogata.com, 631-594-5440) recently opened at 174 East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, promising delightful American and Latin cuisine.
Also in Hampton Bays, Centro Restaurant (centrohamptons.com, 631-594-5744) has opened at 336 Montauk Highway, promising “a new world of possibility: The East End’s newest trattoria and bar, in the former Villa Tuscano space.”
While Dan and Charlene DeSmet have opened The Springs Tavern at 15 Fort Pond Boulevard in East Hampton, the location formerly known as Wolfie’s Tavern. The historic site has served the local community as a tavern, restaurant, bar, live music venue and gathering spot for over 80 years. Frequented by famed abstract artists Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning in the ’40s, the décor is intended to pay homage to the history of the neighborhood and famed guests; while eight state-of-the-art HD and 4K televisions will feature NFL Sunday Ticket, every MLB game and Premiere League Soccer games with a multi-zone 8-speaker sound system. The Springs Tavern features American pub-style fare executed by Chef Michael Ruggiero. Ruggiero brings his culinary experience from Hamptons hot spots including Nick & Toni’s, Harvest on Fort Pond, Fresno and Montauk Lake Club.
Hampton Coffee Company’s (hamptoncoffeecompany.com) full-service sit-down café in Water Mill is now serving dinner! In addition to all-day breakfast and all of your Hampton Coffee favorites until 9 p.m., there’s also a brand new Dessert Menu, local craft beer on tap and a curated list of local wines. So you can dine solo at the new copper and black granite bar, come as you are with a group of friends after work, or bring the family for a casual dinner out.
The Jobs Lane Gastro Pub (jobslanegastro.pub, 631-287-8703) has opened in the former site of the Tuscan House with the same chef/owner at 10 Windmill Lane in Southampton. Expect hearty fare with open-air dining and sidewalk tables.
At last Le Bilboquet, the French bistro on East 60th Street in Manhattan, is to have an outpost in the former harbor side B. Smith’s space on Sag Harbor’s Long Wharf. Rumors about this proposed eatery have been flying around for several years now. Financier Ron Perelman, who owns the Creeks estate on Georgica Pond in East Hampton, is a partner in the business. At press time it was about to open its doors!
Also bringing some French food to the old whaling village, Montauk Asset Holdings (MAH), owned by Apollo Global Management co-founder, billionaire Marc Rowan opened Lulu Kitchen & Bar (lulus-kitchen.com, 925-609-9090) at the former Doppio restaurant at 126 Main Street in Sag Harbor last month. MAH is a new hospitality group with a small collection of restaurants in Montauk including Duryea’s Lobster Deck and Arbor. Philippe Corbet, former chef at Bouley in New York, oversees the Sag Harbor eatery’s open, wood-burning kitchen. The menu includes surf and turf, baby back ribs, lobster, pizza and more.
Speaking of Arbor, (arbormontauk.com, 631-238-5430) it continues to feature a Mediterranean-style menu and a “casual chic vibe”—not to mention a 30-foot bar and well-stocked wine cellar. New to Arbor in its second season is the debut of NYC Cocktail Brand The Garret in the outdoor bar and dining room. The Garret’s top tier mixologists feature playfully elevated cocktails in a laid back environment at Arbor’s newly built outdoor oasis and circular bar. Look for cocktails like the Refinery 63 with Singani 63, mezcal, passion fruit, fermented pineapple, and lime juice in a double rocks glass and punch bowls (serving 4-6 guests) like the Sunrise Special with smoked whiskey, pineapple, sage, dolin blanc, vermouth, lime, bitters, and, of course, Montauk beer.
Also newsworthy in Montauk, popular Montauk restaurant La Fine (lafineli.com, 631-483-5888) has worked with Michelin Starred Chef Tim Lu to produce a menu that synergizes Rustic Italian and Modern Contemporary Cuisine—right on Edgemere Street.
Building on the success of Bay Kitchen Bar, Chef-restaurateur Eric Miller has opened FLAGSHIP (flagshipmontauk.com, 631-668-8260) in Montauk, a new restaurant devoted to seafood with global touches.
Ah, East Hampton, Harbor East (harboreasthampton.com, 631-408-5771) in East Hampton rolls out fresh, locally sourced farm-to-table dinners and brunch, which give way to late-night dancing.
Opening in June, Cove Hollow Tavern will be taking over the former Café Max space in in East Hampton. The menu will have a seafood focus and Mediterranean-French touches.
Finding serenity is easier than ever in Sag Harbor now that Harbor Books (harborbookssgh.com, 631-808-3401) is serving up delicious Dobrá Tea. Relax with a cup, hot or iced, and browse the stacks. There’s always time for books—especially when paired with specialty tea!
Wölffer Estate Vineyard (wolffer.com) in Sagaponack has revamped its main tasting room. It’s gorgeous, the restrooms are bigger and that matters when the gift shop sells so much wine! AND Wölffer is taking over the former Meeting House restaurant space in Amagansett Square, Amagansett.
Southampton’s Plaza Café (631-283-9323) upholds its reputation for offering an array of seafood in a convivial atmosphere. Look for their new food truck at events this summer. Heck yes, they cater!
After 20 years of serving some of the Hamptons finest cuisine, veteran restaurateur Kirk Basnight, owner of red|bar brasserie and little|red, has announced the launch of red catering. Heading up the menu design and execution will be red|bar brasserie’s executive chef Todd Jacobs. (red.catering, 631-283-0900)
Look for a new restaurant coming to the space formerly occupied by Cyril’s on the Napeague stretch and for a new juicery on Amagansett’s main street this season! Who doesn’t need a little squeeze now and then?