The East End food and wine world has shifted and changed considerably since 2018—with a staggering number of new restaurant and wine tasting room openings, many fresh accolades and TV spots, and several unforgettable culinary events. As we prepare to sink our teeth into 2020, let’s savor some of our top highlights from 2019.
1. The New Restaurant Rush
With the seasonal nature of the Hamptons and North Fork, locals are accustomed to the constant revolving door of pop-ups and new, year-round eateries testing the water each summer. The 2019 restaurant rush graced us with Carissa’s The Bakery, Paola’s East and Bostwick’s on the Harbor in East Hampton; Coche Comedor and Morty’s Oyster Stand in Amagansett; Union Burger Bar, TBar Southampton and Silver Lining Diner in Southampton; K Pasa and Ed’s Lobster Bar in Sag Harbor; Salvatore’s Family Restaurant & Bar in Hampton Bays; Salt & Loft in Westhampton Beach; The Garden at Water Mill and Provisions Natural Foods Market & Organic Café in Water Mill; Showfish at Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina in Montauk; Ellen’s on Front and Anker in Greenport; Maroni Southold and Latin Fuzion in Southold; Pizza Rita in Mattituck; and Little Oak at Jamesport Vineyards. While the East End lost mainstays like O’Murphy’s and Silver’s, the plethora of new restaurants provides a smorgasbord of fresh dishes and flavors to savor that will certainly fill the hole left behind.
2. A Taste of the Good Wine
East End Wine Country got some enticing new additions, as well. The Croteaux Vineyards Tasting Room made a triumphant return to Southold in August. The rustic barn and breathtaking garden offer bucolic views and award-winning wines. In September, Sannino Vineyard opened a 2,000-square-foot Tasting House in Cutchogue, which provides ample space for their VIP wine club members and other visitors.
3. Local Icons Go National
Through popular tasting events like Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and Rosé Soirée, many local chefs have achieved an undeniable level of East End fame, but this year a select few ascended to the national stage through exciting TV segments. East End chefs Stephan Bogardus and Alex Guarnaschelli appeared on the May 2 episode of Beat Bobby Flay, with Bogardus as a contestant and Guarnaschelli as a guest. Though Flay came out on top, The Halyard at Sound View Greenport chef put on an incredible show and made the North Fork proud. The Lobster Roll, aka LUNCH, once again played a major role in The Affair, with the climate change-tinged time jump final season revealing that series lead Noah Solloway succeeds Cole Lockhart as owner of the Montauk/Napeague staple. In reality, The Lobster Roll is owned by Andrea Anthony, who made her own 2019 TV appearance with Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea Season 2 on PBS.
4. Cooking Between the Covers
What a year for East End cookbooks! Throughout 2019, local bookshelves and kitchen cabinets were stocked with the likes of Life Is a Party: Deliciously Doable Recipes to Make Every Day a Celebration by David Burkta; Martha Stewart’s Grilling by Martha Stewart; JGV: A Life in 12 Recipes by Jean-Georges Vongerichten; and The Clean Plate by Gwyneth Paltrow. Jimmy Fallon gushed over Sybille Van Kempen’s Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant Look + Cook Book on The Tonight Show, showing off its QR code that unlocks tutorial videos and more. And doyenne of North Fork dining Claudia Fleming re-released her 2001 tome of expert recipes, The Last Course.
5. Awards Galore
In addition to the hundreds of 2019 Dan’s Best of the Best awards—and Towne Cellars’ BOTB Hall of Fame induction—accolades were plentiful in the world of East End food and drink this year. In January, Fred Lee of Sang Lee Farm was honored with the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Farmer of the Year Award for over a decade’s worth of organic farming practices. Similarly, Ira Haspel of KK’s The Farm received Slow Food East End’s first Snailblazer Award for two decades of sustainable agriculture. And last August, Wine Spectator magazine crowned the best wine lists in the world as part of its 2019 Restaurant Awards, with the East End’s American Hotel, Baron’s Cove, Bell & Anchor, Calissa, Fresno, Lulu Kitchen, Pierre’s, Scarpetta Beach at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, 1770 House Restaurant, Touch of Venice and Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar among its picks.
6. Long Live the King
Of all the food and wine highlights of 2019, chef Matty Boudreau’s third GrillHampton win, aka his “three-peat,” might be the most electric of them all. When he and his Preston House & Hotel team (he has since moved to Green Hill Kitchen) were announced as winners of the Blue Moon People’s Choice Award, the crowd cheered wildly, his team smiled from ear to ear and he raised three fingers up high, hollering “Three-peat!” at the top of his lungs. With local chef and caterer Peter Ambrose claiming the coveted New York Prime Beef Judges’ Choice Award, and Team Hamptons taking home the Team Award, the event was a testament to the culinary magic found on the East End. The only thing that could’ve elevated the spectacular night to legendary status would’ve been if Man v. Food superstar Adam Richman joined the Jessie’s Girl band onstage for an unforgettable rendition of Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” So yeah, it was legendary!
7. Close to Three-peat Repeat
Hot on Matty Boudreau’s tail is PTL chef Fabián Gallardo, who claimed his second Dan’s Corona MonTaco victory this summer, with his Pork Shoulder Carnitas Taco swaying guests to elect him for the People’s Choice Award. Speaking of crowd favorites, In the Groove, the final act in the Dan’s Taste of Summer Entertainment Series Presented by Mohegan Sun, rocked the crowd so hard that their fans voted them Dan’s Best of the Best Local Band (Platinum at that)!
8. The First of Many New Events
Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork was such a big hit in 2018 that creating Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons was inevitable. Hosted by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the incomparable dining experience at Topping Rose House honored New York Times food and wine writer Florence Fabricant and raised proceeds for Guild Hall. The dinner tables overflowed with exquisite cuisine by Calissa, Harbor Market, Nick & Toni’s, Quogue Club, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, Union Cantina and more.
9. 60 Summers, 80 Years
If you missed the inaugural Chefs of the Hamptons, you can get your tickets early next year, but the 60 Summers Gala was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. If you missed it, you can look forward to our 100 Summers Gala in 40 years. The party celebrated 60 summers of Dan’s Papers and the 80th birthday of its founder, Dan Rattiner. New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman presented Dan with a special proclamation in honor of the anniversary; storied author Roger Rosenblatt gently roasted Dan for his non-traditional reporting style; and the dignified guests watched in amazement as we unveiled a new Dan statue, this time depicting him as the Statue of Liberty. And the food! Six East End chefs each prepared a course inspired by one of the six decades of Dan’s Papers, including Dane Sayles’s La Dolce Vita, Robert Sieber’s Foxy Fluke Crudo and Stephan Bogardus’s Omnivore’s Dilemma.
10. Wrapping a Bow on 2019
Dan’s Hamptons Media sent 2019 off in festive style, with the inaugural Dan’s Holidays in the Vines hosted by RG|NY vineyard on Thanksgiving weekend. The event perfectly encapsulated the flavor of the holiday season with Lamb Altalkari, Seared Crescent Farms Duck Breast and more, each paired with a local wine. VIPs were treated to a special meet-and-greet with Claudia Fleming, where she signed copies of The Last Course. Here’s to a bounty of memorable food and wine moments in 2020!