The Hamptons dining industry on both the North and South Forks is finally growing up. Major investments by hoteliers and Manhattan-based investors have created restaurants that won’t change hands to the next hustler come spring.
When Baron’s Cove chef Matty Boudreau whipped a bunch of top Manhattan toques at Bridgehampton’s “GrillHampton” competition last July, it registered as a culinary upset — but also symbolized how the East End dining scene has come of age on the business side as well.
Boudreau’s “Salty Rinse” team victory over places like Vaucluse, Beatrice Inn and BLT Steak helped vindicate the vision of Curtis Bashaw, whose Cape Advisors developed Manhattan’s glamorous 100 Eleventh Ave. condo tower.
Bashaw spent $25 million to turn the old Baron’s Cove motel in Sag Harbor into a full-service resort two years ago.
A good, year-round American restaurant was crucial to his business plan. Rather than tap a Manhattan star to lend their name for 12 weeks, he hired long-time East End resident Boudreau, a fine chef who also grasped the logistics of running an indoor-outdoor, two-level eatery 115 miles from Times Square.
Boudreau’s down-to-earth menus for lunch and dinner draw on East End products such as Crescent Farms duck, Montauk oysters and Shinnecock scallops — crowd-pleasing favorites that are appropriae to the Sag Harbor setting, but draw customers from the other Hamptons as well.
“Hamptons dining” long meant two things: 27-year East Hampton Italian institution Nick & Toni’s, and a mercurial whirl of overhyped new spots that rarely lasted more than two summers.
But the year-round viability of Baron’s Cove’s eponymous restaurant reflects increasing stability. “There are more quality operators,” said well-established Manhattan and Hamptons owner-manager Don Evans.
In addition to Bashaw’s big roll of the dice, a group led by billionaire Ron Perelman spent millions to convert the former B. Smith and Harlow’s in Sag Harbor into a huge spinoff of Manhattan’s Le Bilboquet, run by Philippe Delgrange.
Apollo Global Management co-founder Marc Rowan spent $6.3 million to buy Montauk’s 90-year old Duryea’s Lobster Deck and more to modernize its rotten infrastructure. Rowan also paid $2.7 million to buy a notoriously loud “scene” place nearby and transformed it into Arbor, a Mediterranean bistro.
In Water Mill, the owners of Manhattan’s Periyali and Il Cantinori…