It’s Time to Celebrate 2018’s East End Foodie Anniversaries

Wolffer Estate Vineyards, Sagaponack
Wolffer Estate Vineyards, Sagaponack

New restaurants come and go every summer on the East End and that’s exciting, but what makes a restaurant, or a foodstuff, a “keeper?” Quality, consistency, wide appeal. Feast your eyes on these “Hamptons classics:”

145 Years Ago: First Peking Ducks Arrive on Long Island
A New York merchant named James Palmer left Peking, China with 25 ducks in 1873. Four months later he arrived in New York with nine surviving ducks, which are the ancestors to all of Long Island’s Peking ducks. A local man, Warren Washington Hallock started raising this new breed. Within several years, his small duck farm had grown and led to additional farmers deciding to try their hand at the business as well. Eventually these businesses led to Eastport being known as the “Duck Capital” of the world. The industry prospered for nearly 80 years until New York State set regulations to help curb the pollution from these farms, resulting in the closure of many smaller duck farms. Curiously, according to the Westhampton Beach Historical Society, though the bay appears cleaner now, when the duck farms were most abundant—so were the clams, mussels and fish. Even eels and crabs were so abundant that they were shipped by the barrel to New York, yet today, eels are practically nonexistent.

c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton
c/o The Maidstone in East Hampton, Photo: Barbara Lassen

120 Years Ago: Maidstone Inn Begins Construction
Construction of the Maidstone Inn, built by the Maidstone Improvement Company, began in 1898 and was completed in 1901. The Inn was designed by architect Isaac H. Green Jr. of Sayville, who also designed the Maidstone Club’s first two clubhouses (both of which burned down in 1901 and 1921), Dr. Everett Herrick’s Pudding Hill house on Ocean Avenue, and Lorenzo G. Woodhouse’s Greycroft on Huntting Lane. The Maidstone Inn was considered to be East Hampton’s first hotel and the largest structure ever built in the town at the time. Located on Maidstone Lane near the Maidstone Club’s first clubhouse, it was perfectly situated for receiving summer visitors and club members.

120 Years Ago: The Cost of Things
An advertisement in an 1898 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertised Mattituck’s Klein Harbor Inn, offering boating, fishing, crabbing, a stable, fruits, piano and “the best German Table” for $7–$10 per week.

95 Years Ago: 105 Newtown Lane Built
Currently home to Mary’s Marvelous, 105 Newtown Lane was built by Albert Cavagnaro in 1923. Cavagnaro opened a combination delicatessen and grocery store on the ground floor.

40 Years Ago: New Moon Café
Shana and Ron “Ole Tex” Campsey opened the family-owned Tex-Mex restaurant in the heart of East Quogue in 1978.

35 Years Ago: Citarella founded in NYC
The story of the Citarella we know and love today began in 1983 when Joe Gurrera bought a beloved neighborhood seafood shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, also called Citarella, around since 1912. At the time, the store was small (occupying a fraction of the space that Citarella’s flagship location does today) but Gurrera saw it as an opportunity to build on his love of seafood in this local treasure. Today, Gurrera owns a seafood wholesale company, a seafood supply business, an online seafood store that ships nationwide and multiple Citarella markets.

30 Years Ago: Wölffer
Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack celebrated its 30th anniversary with a huge party over the summer of 2018. This winery and vineyard continues expanding its offerings each year.

Nick & Toni's
Nick & Toni’s restaurant in East Hampton

30 Years Ago: Nick & Toni’s
Opened in 1988, Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton remains a charming and dependable table for a delicious and seasonally inspired meal in a community ripe with edible bounty.

25 Years Ago: Sen Restaurant
Owners and brothers Jesse and Tora Matsuoka, and Jeff Resnick along with Chef Courtney Sypher, re-opened a new, larger Sen, Sag Harbor’s Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, after extensive renovations. The expansion celebrates its 25th year in business.

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