Serving the Hamptons: The Culmination of a Dream for 75 Main’s Zach Erdem

75 Main owner Zach Erdem
75 Main owner Zach Erdem
Courtesy Zach Erdem

The Hamptons restaurant world will be make its reality TV debut next month when Discovery+ begins airing Serving the Hamptons on April 7. Much like Bravo’s popular Vanderpump Rules, the series focuses on the staff at a hot restaurant, 75 Main in Southampton Village, while putting its owner, Zach Erdem, on center stage.

According to an exclusive announcement in Variety, the docuseries follows 75 Main’s “young, sexy restaurant staff” and “all of the drama they dish up on and off the clock.” The show’s first season comprises five hour-long episodes, filmed at the restaurant and at a beautiful beach house Erdem rents for the staff to live, “provided they follow his rules and take care of his customers.”

Erdem, who has had his fair share of media attention and celebrity customers and friends since he bought 75 Main, is given the role of boss and disciplinarian struggling to keep his employees in line and to make sure they don’t slip up, especially when it comes to his celebrity guests and VIPs. But “That’s easier said than done when your staff plays even harder than they work to take full advantage of all a summer in the Hamptons has to offer,” Variety explains.

“It’s not just life at 75 Main. It’s about the Hamptons, it’s about the restaurant, it’s about the life,” Erdem tells Dan’s Papers. “The front of the house, back of the house, and what these people do.”

To help manage the busy establishment and its beautiful, and at times difficult, staff, Erdem brings in Victoria Hilton, who helps the team make it to work on time, stops them from drinking on the job or fraternizing with fellow workers and housemates. Of course, “rules will be broken, personalities will clash, secrets will be revealed, a shocking love triangle will unfold and true romance may just get in the way.”

Kendall Jenner and Zach Erdem get the party going at 75 Main
Kendall Jenner and Zach Erdem get the party going at 75 MainCourtesy 818 Tequila

An impressive list of celebs ate and drank at the restaurant while Serving the Hamptons filmed from July 15 to August 20, 2021, and many agreed to be on camera, such as Kendall Jenner, Ivana Trump, Paris Hilton, Brooke Shields, rapper 6ix9ine, financier Anthony Scaramucci, billionaire John Catsimatidis and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“Some people, of course, they did not want to be on camera,” Erdem says of his regular patrons and some of 75 Main’s most famous visitors. “The big names who said they didn’t want to be on TV, they were respectful, very nice. We’d seat them somewhere where there are no cameras … the back patio at 75 Main, the garden,” he continues, adding, “We didn’t lose any customers. No one got disrupted or anything, and everyone was really excited and very happy that the Hamptons was getting its own show at a known restaurant.”

The fact that Erdem continues to consider customer retention and his diners’ comfort, even in the midst of his big moment to shine, speaks to how this Turkish immigrant from an almost archaic village found such massive success in an incredibly challenging industry, located in one of the most exclusive towns in the world. One might argue that his humble beginnings are a big part of why he’s persevered, and why the restaurateur is about to enter a whole new level of fame and recognition.

As Erdem tells it, he grew up poor, farming with his family in the mountains of Turkey, working 12-hour days in the summers before winter came, burying everything in snow. “It was in the mountains and the little village had no road, no TVs, no electricity, so basically cave life,” he says. “I had been a shepherd in the mountains with the animals all day long, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”

75 Main
75 MainBarbara Lassen

One day, Erdem says he found a newspaper by the railroad that showed pictures of New York City, so he kept it, and his dream began to form. “I didn’t even know what New York City was back then. I was like, it’s really cool, and I kept that picture. … I had it for years … I hid it from everyone,” Erdem says, admitting that he knew nothing of the Big Apple beyond the newsprint images he cherished. But against all odds, he made it to the real New York City in 2002. “I’m like, OK, now you want it, now you’re here. The rest is history.”

A bit of luck led Erdem, who was homeless and nearly penniless in NYC, to Southampton and a dishwashing job at then-restaurant 75 Main Street. Some lucky breaks and no shortage of effort and persistence in the local restaurant scene eventually landed him ownership of 75 Main in 2010. Needless to say, watching Serving the Hamptons take shape has been like a dream for Erdem, even after 12 years as owner of 75 Main and attracting so many famous customers and friends.

Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian at 75 Main in Southampton
Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian at 75 Main in Southampton, Photo: Brendan J. O’Reilly

All of the Kardashians and their people have dined at the restaurant, even filming there in 2014 when the family stayed in North Sea for their TV series Kourtney and Khloé Take the Hamptons. And the list of famous 75 Main guests is not limited to reality stars.

The hotspot has welcomed everyone from Real Housewives cast members, such as Sonja Morgan and Ramona Singer (among others); to TV icons Sofia Vergara and Susan Lucci; athletes Amar’e Stoudemire, Jason Kidd and Alex Rodriguez; newscasters Barbara Walters and Hoda Kotb; Howard Stern and Beth Ostrosky Stern; rocker Jon Bon Jovi; celebrity chef Bobby Flay; designer Calvin Klein; Oscar winners Jodie Foster, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio; Victoria’s Secret models; politician Nancy Pelosi and many, many others. President Joe Biden even ate at 75 Main in 2011, when he was Barack Obama’s VP.

All one needs to do is visit Erdem’s Instagram account, @zacherdem, to see he’ll never miss an opportunity to take a photo with his A-list diners, to the delight of his more than 72,000 followers.

Zach Erdem and Nancy Pelosi outside the rear of 75 Main.
Zach Erdem and Nancy Pelosi outside the rear of 75 Main. Photo credit:

With all the celebrity and social media buzz, the restaurant owner had been pitched shows many times over the years by TV executives who frequent 75 Main, but he says all of them wasted his time. “I was kind of fed up with this kind of stuff,” Erdem adds. But then he met Teresa Sorkin, an author and producer who wanted to host a book signing at the restaurant. He agreed to do it for a price, which she didn’t want to pay, so the matter was dropped.

“Then this lady, for some reason she liked me, and she was like, ‘I want to do a show here,’” Erdem recalls. “‘OK, this is another one,’ I think. I wasn’t even friendly to her,” he says, explaining that he immediately eighty-sixed the idea. But Sorkin proved she was serious, and before long they had the ball rolling on what would become Serving the Hamptons. Erdem was impressed by how quickly Sorkin made things happen, and soon he was a believer — and so was the Discovery network.

“First, the network wanted three episodes, just for the pilot, trying to see how it goes,” he says. “But then when they saw the product, they were like, ‘Wow, this is great, let’s continue and make it four, and then five.’”

Now, with just a month to go before Serving the Hamptons airs on Discovery+, Erdem is readying himself for the worldwide attention it will bring him and the Hamptons, including a great deal of interest from press in his home country of Turkey, among other outlets around the globe. “You have to be really careful now. The whole world is going to see you,” he says, noting that he’s ready.

More than that, Erdem is giddy with excitement about how far his life has come. “I am still living in a dream. I don’t know if it’s real. I don’t know. I don’t want to wake up one day back in Turkey, in the mountains with my animals, like woah, this was a long journey, I had a beautiful dream!”

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