Cyril Fitzsimons, who owned and ran Cyril’s Fish House on the Napeague stretch for 25 years until it closed in 2016 amid controversy, died in the Bronx on Friday, April 24. He was 77, and died of COVID-19 complications at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. He had been recovering from a stroke at the Triboro Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in the Bronx, his son, Richard Fitzsimons said.
The eponymous roadside bar was one of the most well-known and popular rendezvous on the East End, famous for its signature drink, the BBC — a concoction of Bailey’s Irish Cream, banana, and colada. In an interview with The Irish Times in 2012, Fitzsimons said the company would go through 22 cases of the Irish cream liqueur in just one week.
Crowds of people packed the small hotspot and flooded the street, while cars lined both sides of Montauk Highway and traffic slowed to a near stop because of its popularity, day and night. Though it operated for decades, numerous zoning code violations in its final year led to its demise. In 2016, after a four-day trial in East Hampton Town Justice Court, Clan Fitz, the corporation that owned the business, was found guilty on 45 charges. The owners of the property sold it, and a new restaurant, Morty’s Oyster Stand, later opened.
Fitzsimons, always donning a straw hat and holding a cigarette in his hand, sometimes seen wearing colorful sarong wraps, was remembered Saturday with an impromptu memorial in front of the stand.
“He was one of a kind,” said Tina Piette, a longtime friend and Amagansett attorney, on Monday. She remembered him as “extremely generous” with charitable organizations and those in need.
“He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said. “He never said no.”
He often donated money to Republican committees and the Catholic church, both here and in Anguilla, a British overseas territory in the Eastern Caribbean, where he spent winters. He was also a part owner of four bars there over the years.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Fitzsimons emigrated to the United States in 1965, at the age of 19. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and saw action in Vietnam. He returned to Ireland in 1968, but came back to America in 1984, where he opened a bar in Manhattan and eventually moved to Amagansett in 1989, opening Cyril’s Fish House.
He is survived by his children, Richard and Kimani Fitzsimons; brothers Michael and Philip Fitzsimons; and sister Elizabeth Fitzsimons. A memorial service is being planned for a future date.
Correction: Fitzsimons died at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, not the Triboro Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing as originally reported.