Pétanque Pros Compete In Montauk

The Le Bernadin team, including Chef Eric Ripert (center).

Consider it bocce ball — but better. Pétanque is the Frenchman’s summer sport of choice. Just like bocce, it’s best enjoyed on a sunny afternoon with a drink in hand.

That’s exactly how things unfolded on Monday afternoon, August 5, in Montauk, when a group of pétanque novices and pros came together at Duryea’s Lobster Deck for a high summer tournament that felt right at home with the eatery and marina’s French heritage.

“The game of pétanque is very much part of the French culture, especially in the south of France,” the managing director of Montauk Asset Holdings hospitality group, Steven Jauffrineau, said. “With Duryea’s drawing much of its inspiration from that area of the globe, it felt like a natural fit, so we had our first tournament in 2017. Duryea’s also got involved with A Walk On Water that same year, so we decided to donate most of the proceeds to the charity.”

While the weekends may see the glitzy new locale, tucked behind the Montauk train station, filled to the brim with visitors pining for lobster cobb salads, shellfish towers, and freshly caught local fish despite an often hours-long wait time, Monday afternoon’s crowd was decidedly more local. “A good tournament always starts with friendly but competitive players, sometimes with little or no experience, no rain, and lots of rosé,” Jauffrineau added.

Among the loyal 20 teams there was Jean-Francoi Ott, owner of Domaine Ott, who flew into town from France for the event, founder of Sunswell apparel Craig O’Brien and his pals, who wore matching blue gingham button-downs from the brand as they made a posh arrival by boat, as well as Michelin-minted Chef Eric Ripert, who sported a pair of summer-friendly swim trunks and a Le Bernardin T-shirt from his acclaimed Manhattan eatery while capturing content for his over half a million Instagram followers.

But none earned more acclaim that Team Coperaco Café, the purveyors of fine coffee, who faced off against the owners of The Beacon restaurant in Sag Harbor to bring home a win. But in the end, everyone won, as they made off with a gift bag filled to the hilt with their own set of pétanque “boules” and one truly hulking magnum of rosé.

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