Food Seen: Estia’s Colin Ambrose, Southampton Dining & More

Colin Ambrose of Estia
Colin Ambrose

Get to know Estia chef and owner Colin Ambrose, delve into the Southampton dining scene, find catering for weekend barbecues and more on the East End “Food Seen.”

Chef Highlight: Colin Ambrose, Estia’s Little Kitchen

In March of 1991, Colin Ambrose purchased a sleepy coffee shop in Amagansett called Estia and his second career as a restaurateur began. Prior to moving to the East End, Ambrose spent 10 years as a bar manager, then advertising director at TopShelf magazine, a trade journal for the bar and restaurant industry.

With a longtime interest in cooking and gardening, Ambrose quickly established a friendship with local community farmer Scott Chaskey, and in 1992 became a member at the Quail Hill Farm, Long Island’s first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). That friendship has served him well over the years as Chaskey has been a confidant and mentor helping the Estia team to develop a two-acre garden in Amagansett that served Estia’s tables for 16 years, and now over at Estia’s Little Kitchen’s garden which is located just outside the back door of the Sag Harbor location. Ambrose has always taken farm-to-table seriously. At his erstwhile Amagansett location, he once had a two-hour-salad on the menu: picked at 4 p.m.; served at 6 p.m. — and that was decades ago!

Having sold his Darien, CT offshoot, Estia’s Back Porch Café, Ambrose enjoys fishing, farming and his family — Jessica, his wife and partner of 25 years, and daughters Lyman, Mansell and Whittier. He also enjoys fishing with a fly rod when time allows, and he’s recently taken up beekeeping.

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Visiting Southampton? Sip’n Soda has all the treats you could desire. Offering homemade ice cream, shakes and floats, they’ve been satisfying cravings since 1958. The luncheonette also has a great breakfast and lunch menu with mouthwatering items like “The 64” breakfast sandwich, triple-decker clubs and deluxe platters!

It’s often hard to come by a restaurant that serves all day. If you’re looking for a good reliable place for any meal of the day, 75 Main is your place. They open their doors for breakfast at 7 a.m. and stay open until midnight! Their menu has a variety of options for you to nosh on, ranging from Belgian waffles, filet mignon steak and eggs to Honduran ceviche and salmon crostini.

If you’re hankering for a lobster roll, head over to the Shinnecock Lobster Factory. Chef Marco Barrila and tribal leader Lance Gumbs take advantage of the local produce available on the East End to create their seafood specialties, making them one of the ultimate seafood spots in Southampton! Classic hot or cold rolls are available, but you can also switch it up and go for the Cajun or diablo lobster roll.

Worked up an appetite after a day of golfing? Stop by the Local Burger Co. Located next to the Southampton Golf Range, the roadside grill has delicious burgers and sandwiches great for when you’re on the go. The “Mac Daddy” burger — prepared with cheddar cheese, bacon and fried macaroni and cheese — sounds just a little too good to not stop in and try!

Paul’s Italian American Restaurant has become a neighborhood favorite for Southampton residents. The restaurant is another great spot if you’re looking to dine any time of the day. Paul’s serves breakfast starting at 9 a.m. where you can fuel up for the day with pancakes, omelets and sandwiches. If you stop in for lunch or dinner, you can enjoy great seafood, pizzas, calzones and salads.

Highway Restaurant & Bar pizza
Highway Restaurant & Bar pizza

Unique catering options for Labor Day Weekend BBQs: East Hampton’s Highway Restaurant & Bar offers guests unique at-home catering options, including the Autostrada pizza oven for ideal backyard events. Back by popular demand, guests can watch Highway’s private chef as he creates made-to-order Neapolitan pizzas, such as the classic Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil) and Dolce Inferno (spicy soppressata, Calabrian chili pepper, honey) and wood-fired dishes such as whole roasted fish and oven-roasted chicken. This one-of-a-kind experience is guaranteed to make any Labor Day weekend party unforgettable! For more information, reach out to [email protected].

Also, Elaia Estiatorio, the authentic Greek eatery located in Bridgehampton, is a solid option for summer dining and beach picnic takeaway. The restaurant offers an extensive Greek wine list and dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Guests can savor pita-ready, fresh spreads (fava beans, whipped feta, tzatziki) and Greek specialties like horiatiki (local cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, red onions, feta, capers, olives) and bifteki (Greek-style beef patty, herbs, lettuce, onions, feta). Elaia also offers a variety of at-home BBQ packages, which Executive Chef Radu Grigore and his team pre-marinate so guests can experience Elaia at home without the hassle of preparation. The team carefully selects well-balanced and flavorful ingredients for their house-made marinade in their chicken packages (e.g., chicken souvlaki) or their skewers of wild-caught Panama shrimp with ladolemono and oregano. To order, go to elaiaestiatorio.com and scroll down to home BBQ packages.

L&W Market in Bridgehampton, next door to Almond restaurant, is offering to-go meals for Rosh Hashanah. All orders must be placed by noon on September 3 for pickup from 2–4 p.m. on September 6 or 7. Look for such items as red wine braised brisket for $69 (for two to four people) or $119 (for six  to eight people). Matzo ball soup that serves two to three ($18); 1/2 pint of chopped liver ($15), whole roasted chicken ($39) or sides of kugel which serve six to eight ($75). They even have challah bread for $16. Orders may be placed online at landwmarket.com/rosh-hashanahs or by calling 631-537-1123.

Tate's Coconut Crisp Cookies
Tate’s Coconut Crisp Cookies

Tate’s Bake Shop honors World Coconut Day (September 2) and National Macadamia Nut Day (September 4), with these offerings: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies, Coconut Crisp Cookies, and Gluten Free Coconut Crisp Cookies for those looking to keep the summer vibe going. Tate’s baked goods are available nationally in stores, on Amazon, and their website.

Bits & Bites: Calissa finishes its summer music series this weekend on Friday night with a DJ set courtesy of St. Lucia X Rac and some special guests. The fun starts at 10:30 p.m.

Fun Food Facts: September 2 is also International Bacon Day; September 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day and September 10 is National Hot Dog Day!

Food Quote: “In a restaurant, choose a table near a waiter.” ~ Jewish proverb

Got a restaurant news item or tip? Email us at [email protected]!

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