Food Seen: Holiday Dine-In & Takeout, New Pop-Ups, Chef Justin Finney and More

Enjoy dining out this holiday season.
Enjoy dining out this holiday season. Photo credit: Hue/amanaimagesRF/Thinkstock

It’s time to start planning those holiday dining menus—or at least figuring out who will be planning them for you in the Hamptons and on the North Fork.

Chef Highlight: Chef Justin Finney, Highway Restaurant & Bar, Wainscott

A native of the Cleveland, Ohio area, Justin Finney is the Chef de Cuisine at Highway Restaurant & Bar in East Hampton. An integral part of the team since the restaurant’s opening in 2015, Finney has continued to serve elevated classics to locals and visitors alike. Prior to joining the Highway team, the young, but experienced Hamptons veteran has worked at such staples as Nick and Toni’s, The Meeting House and Rowdy Hall. Finney has worked to develop deep relationships with local farmers and fishermen, which guarantees the kitchen access to the freshest ingredients for the ever-evolving menu.

Chef Justin Finney
Chef Justin Finney. Courtesy Highway Restaurant & Bar

Inspired by unique people in the industry, Finney found varied influence in greats like Anthony Bourdain, Michael Symon and Yotsm Ottolenghi. Symon was a local Cleveland inspiration for him; Bourdain influenced a love of traveling, and Ottolenghi inspired a love of cooking vegetables. With 26 years in the business, and Finney has no plans to retire or ever stop learning!

Finney has found that being a chef allows him to use all of his talents in one place – artist, handyman, cook, leader and psychiatrist! (If you’ve worked in a kitchen, you understand.) When he’s not in the kitchen, Finney finds joy in fixing things around the house and working in the yard. Recently he even picked up roller skating with his wife, who is a roller derby queen! Cooking and entertaining friends remains at the forefront of Finney’s hobbies.

More Food Seen News: There’s plenty to take advantage of on the North Fork – plus Christmas Day happenings at Southampton’s Claude’s, Carissa’s pop-up in Sag Harbor and holiday hams from Townline BBQ!

The holidays will look different this year, but they don’t have to be any less delicious. Claude’s at the Southampton Inn is taking the leg work out of the holidays. Enjoy brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Eve, breakfast on Christmas Day from 7 am to 11am, a fun New Year’s Eve brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 31st. Ring in the New Year with brunch on New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.! On New Year’s Day, the regular brunch menu will be available with a few special menu additions. Visit their website for menu updates.

Townline BBQ will be smoking hams for the upcoming holidays.  A limited number of ½ bone-in hams (10-12 lbs.) will be available for pre-order beginning Friday, December 11th.  Each ham ($160) will serve approximately 12–14 people and must be ordered by calling Townline at (631) 537-2271. Ham pickup will be on December 24thbetween 1 & 4 p.m.  Hams will come with reheating instructions and a house-made glaze.  Suggested sides will also be available to order with your ham including collard greens ($22 qt.), cole slaw ($17 qt.) and cornbread ($4 per piece).  Honest Man house-made egg nog will also be available for purchase, $35 for 16 oz. bottle. The boozy holiday drink is a blend of Knob Creek bourbon, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum, Remy Martin VSOP, Caffo Maraschino liqueur, whole milk, whole eggs and aromatic bitters.

Demarchelier, Greenport’s newest welcome addition, has mouthwatering specials on offer every Wednesday through Sunday at the Menhaden location on Front Street. Wednesdays are for burgers, step it up with cassoulet on Thursdays, celebrate the end of the week with bouillabaisse on Fridays, enjoy beef bourguinon on Saturday and weekly prix fixe on Sunday! Make your reservations online for a seamless night out. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday hours are noon to 9 p.m. Go!

Green Hill Kitchen & Que is feeding the whole family with a special a la carte menu in celebration of Christmas for both takeout and delivery! Orders can be placed online at or by calling the restaurant directly at 631-477-4900.  Orders must be placed by tonight for pick-up on Wednesday, December 23 and Thursday, December 24. There is a $100 minimum for delivery, with a $20 fee but delivery is accessible to the entire North and South Forks. Some menu items you can look forward to are smoked or roasted turkey breast, a hot smoked prime beef filet, or smoked and glazed ham. Each will feed around 5–7 people. No need to worry about someone bringing a side dish you hate, let Green Hill take care of those too! From potato gratin to brussels sprout casserole and cheddar-jalapeño cornbread, there’s a side for every palate. Snag their famed burnt cheesecake for dessert and be everyone’s favorite holiday host.

Did You Know That: The first customer to walk through the doors at Nick & Toni’s in 1988 was renowned restaurant critic Craig Claiborne!… That Carissa’s—the outstanding East Hampton bakery—now has a pop-up at 4 Bay Street in Sag Harbor that’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday…

Fun Food Fact: Senate Bean Soup is on the menu every day in the senate dining room and probably dates back to 1903, when either Senator Frank Dubois (Democrat) or Senator Knute Nelson loved the soup so much as to request it every day. Due to WWII rationing, there weren’t enough beans to serve it on September 14, 1943. The next day the soup was back on the menu and has remained there to this day. True story.

Quote of the Week: “First we eat, then we do everything else.”—M.F.K Fisher

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