Come summer, the quiet place known for rolling sand dunes, beautiful farms and old world towns does a complete 180 when millions of folks around the globe from Wall Street yuppies to the glitterati of the music world, jet setting socialites (We’re hoping to see Pippa this summer!) and oil tycoons flock to the region we call home sweet home.
And while sometimes it’s a little annoying that our turf has been taken over by natives of faraway lands, it’s a great place to people watch and enjoy top eats, shops and nightlife all thanks to the seasonal crowd.
Each year, to satisfy the jet-setters’ taste for new places to party, take up plate and swipe their plastic, new businesses pop up or undergoing renovations. And this year there’s so much to look forward to on the South Fork. Here are but a few of them:
Breakfast may be the most under-appreciated meal to enjoy on the East End because so many night owls sleep in and miss it. Believe us, breakfast is not to be skipped and not just for health reasons, it’s one of the best places for early birds to enjoy a peaceful meal.
Indulge in a plate of pancakes at La Bodega in the hottest town on the East End, Montauk. The American diner with a Latin flair offers patrons outside seating on the famous circle in Montauk and serves up a unique mix on the menu.
“We serve some great traditional Puerto Rican meals,” says owner Paulette Davis, who noted the menu includes everything from Mofongo, Chuleton and eggs, Cubano Sandwiches served on Puerto Rican bread, and quesitos to an assortment of bowl selections like Granola Bowls and American dishes. Swing back around the circle later and grab a traditional Puerto Rican rum drink at the bar.
After breakfast it’s common to see a slew of cyclists, runners and walkers lace up to head out but this summer it’s all about getting beach ready at bootcamp. Barry’s Bootcamp has opened up shop in Wainscott.
Barry’s Bootcamp offers muscle-making folks a full-blown workout party for $32 per day. Gym-brats can indulge in the LA-born fitness craze dubbed “The Best Workout In The World” that combines cardio, and strength training and club hits at its seventh location. Even better, this location boasts a unique “summer camp” atmosphere.
“I’ve fallen in love with the community in The Hamptons. I love the combination of small town and sophistication- one of the most special places I’ve experienced,” explained Joey Gonzalez, Barry’s Bootcamp COO and co-owner, after admitting he was inspired to move to the East End for the summer after getting so many requests from NYC students.
You can’t go wrong with Beaumarchais for brunch, unless you’re wearing last season hair feathers. The brunch spot comes as the East End counterpart to one the Meatpacking District.
The East Hampton restaurant offers patrons a chance to enjoy the “Beau Brunch” outdoors (it also offers indoor options) in South of France-style complete with DJs cranking out the hits on the weekends. Jet-setters can opt for everything from tuna tartare to grilled filet mignon and coconut tapioca with fresh berries. Délicieux!
Lunch in the Hamptons is unlike anywhere in New York, where patrons rush to devour whatever is on their dish. Here, it’s actually enjoyed.
Gurney’s renovated Caffe Monte restaurant, which now offers diners the chance to take in expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean from any seat in the house while also taking in a dish of delicious food. The restaurant caters to every palate and now boasts vegan, gluten-free and macrobiotic offerings.
“We also spent some of our quiet season time working on our holistic and detoxifying food offerings. Our sous chef Michael was shipped off to the macrobiotic, Kushi Institute to learn even more about preparing these healthy meals,” said John Lomitola, Gurney’s dining room director. He added, “We can customize a personal meal plan to suit your needs upon advance request.”
The South Fork is always good for some shopping (and window shopping for others). Especially exciting is what pops up for the season. This year, special seasonal pop up shops will include C. Wonder, the lifestyle brand by Chris Burch, in Southampton and Whole Foods’ pop up farm stand that took over the former Plitt Ford dealership in Wainscott for the summer.
“Knowing that there was an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to the local community and our existing shoppers that might be there for the season, we jumped at it,” said Michael Sinatra, a Whole Foods spokesman. Other pop ups include Helmut Lang and Bespoke Global in Southampton.
Besides pop up shops, shoppers can look forward to a few new spots to spend at. MONC XIII, for one, took up shop in Sag Harbor and offers a very different experience for shoppers.
“I want to inspire designers and shoppers with an inspirational environment in the Hamptons, full of unique hand-picked selections that will help fulfill their own passions and design whims,” said Natasha Esch, owner of the store that sells vintage furniture and books as well as exclusive new items such as Cire Trudon and Frédéric Malle candles.
The store itself is as unique as the items it holds with salvaged oak barn ceilings, exposed wood beams, antique glass windows, a custom designed spiral staircase and a curation to show shoppers how products fit in a home.
Everything But Water in East Hampton is another exciting addition. The 1,300-square-foot store offers everything for the beach babe including resort wear and accessories to designer swimwear like Badgley Mischka and Nanette Lepore all hung on metal rolling racks and hang bars inspired by swim ladders. Shoppers can try on the gear and get a real feel for it, walking around the white-washed wood floors and weathered beach boardwalks.
To pick up food to go, shoppers can stop by Pepalajefa in Sag Harbor come June and opt for European-inspired foods inspired by owner Livia Hegner’s travels in a store covered with global newspapers. On the menu are hot and cold sandwiches, crespelle or crepes stuffed with tomato and ricotta, Moroccan chicken legs, belle helene of poached pears with chocolate sauce; and handmade caramel chocolate candies. Breakfast offerings are available too.
Dinner is definitely the most fabulous outing and there are quite a few new choices to dress up and dine.
The Bell & Anchor opened in Sag Harbor and boasts a pretty unique feel for the Hamptons. It’s not just chic and expensive, it actually has an atmosphere that’s true to its land.
The restaurant sits in front of the Mill Creek Marina and was inspired by the maritime history of Sag Harbor. It’s clad in sea-green-blue and white with plank flooring and wooden tables It boasts a scrumptious seafood restaurant boasts lobster and shellfish plateaus along with fishes of the day. It also has steaks for those not so fish-friendly.
Another Sag Harbor joint worth traveling to is Muse in the Harbor. Located on Main Street, the restaurant offers great food and even better décor, including a giant fish tank with resident tropical fish — not one’s you will find snorkeling on Main Beach.
Menu options range from Tuna “Menage A Trois” to “Not Ya Mama’s Meatballs.” No hints here, you’ll have to experience both for yourself!
Dessert turns into quite the affair with “Happy Ending” and “Are You Ready For Smore” with chocolate mousse, Graham cracker French toast and homemade marshmallow. Wash it down with a Caribbean Cosmo or Bahama blueberry mojito.
Andrra offers East Hampton diners Mediterranean seafood and chops and a marvelous view of Three Mile Harbor. Diners can feast on anything from the Mediterranean menu concocted by consulting chef William Valentine and executive chef Sami Krasniqi.
Norwegian salmon, Napeague little neck clams, roasted rack of American lamb, baklava stuffed with walnuts and summer pudding with seasonal fruits can all be found on the menu. Done feasting for the night? Head to the lounge that’s open until 2 a.m. for some drinks and entertainment.
Sicilian-Inspired restaurant Osteria Salina opened up shop in Bridgehampton and took over the former Copa. It’s named after an Aeolian Island off the coast of Sicily.
“Originally a salt mine in the Mediterranean known for pristine seafood,” said Timothy Gaglio, manager director of the restaurant of Salina.
The eatery offers patrons a taste of authentic Sicilian cuisine with a Salinian slant with dishes like frito misto and polpo, just make sure you know what you’re ordering (Frito Misto is fried mixed food and polpo is steamed octopus with Sicilian olive oil parsley and lemon).
Other offerings include cannelloni di pesce — seafood stuffed Pasta — and Lombatta di vitello all griglia, grilled t-bone veal chop. Just this week the restaurant offered black sea bass caught in the waters off Fishers Island and “It sold out in a half hour with putting it on the menu,” said Gaglio.
Typically, many of those visiting the Hamptons cap their night with a drink and this summer is all about the East End beer gardens. Zum Schneider MTK has opened up shop in Montauk — only 50-feet from the beach! — offering a down to earth spot to enjoy a drink. With hundreds of drink options along with an impressive menu including Wiener mit Brot, two wieners with bread and mustard and Graf Lachs, Montauk bass marinated in smoked beer with horseradish cream, this is definitely worth a visit.
Another place providing a beer garden is the Hamptons Players Club in East Hampton, which comes as a three-tiered polo and equestrian themed full service restaurant complete with VIP lounge. The Beer Garden features an expansive outdoor patio with a fire pit, central bar and everything from high tops to communal tables and banquette seating all clad in royal blue and forest green.
The bar serves up a large selection of domestic and imported beers both on tap and by the bottle, international wine list with a focus on local selections. Patrons can also nibble on classic bar bites and choose from appetizers such as Scorched Shishito Peppers with Chipotle Aioli, and Lobster Avocado Bruschetta on Multi-Grain Crostini. The menu also hosts a slew of salads, burgers and sandwiches.