Dan’s Papers


Hamptons vs NYC Chefs: Pick the Winning Dish at Dan’s GrillHampton

Matty Boudreau and his team accepting his third GrillHampton award in 2019. (Photo: Barbara Lassen)

Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons, Chefs of the North Fork and Rosé Soirée were massive hits with New York foodies who came to the East End to taste and celebrate the finest cuisine the region has to offer. Now, however, comes the annual event that begs the question: Which region has the better cuisine, the Hamptons or New York City? That’s right, it’s once again almost time for Dan’s GrillHampton, aptly presented by Hamptons and NYC meat delivery service Piccinini Brothers!

This succulent showdown hits Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill, likely the coolest sculpture park you’ll ever have the chance of dining at, on Friday, Aug. 20, 7–9:30 p.m.

Early bird tickets are on sale now for $99, and VIP tickets can be snagged for $250, granting a truly luxury experience including priority entry at 6:15 p.m. (45 minutes before doors open for general admission), exclusive lounge seating, an interactive bubbly and seafood bar, plus specialty drinks you won’t find elsewhere at the event.

Two talented teams of local and city chefs will go head to head on their grilling and smoking stations, each trying to win the hearts, tummies and votes of guests and judges. And just WOW, look at these stacked rosters!

Team Hamptons includes:



DAVID BLYDENBURGH of Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine

PETER AMBROSE of Events by Peter Ambrose

RAUL CRUZ of Bamboo Southampton

ERIN ABRAMS of Rooted Hospitality Group

ROBERT HAMBURG of Gurney’s Resorts

PLUS the incredible talents of the Green Hill Kitchen & Que team

Team New York City includes:

MIKE PUMA of Gotham Social Club

CENOBIO CANALIZO of Morgan’s Brooklyn BBQ



MARK ROSATI of Shake Shack

MARIO CHAPE of Big Papa Smoke’m BBQ

GrillHampton guests will be spread out, seated al-fresco style and served samples of each chef’s delicious dish, washing it down with refreshing cocktails, wine and beer. At the end of the night, guests place their votes for the very best dish of the evening, and awards will be given out to the victorious team and its all-star chefs and pitmasters. But seriously, with all the mouthwatering beef, pork, chicken, seafood and veggie dishes being served, the guests are the biggest winners here.

And if the fierce competition and grilled goodies aren’t enough to entice you, then get get ready to dance with Dan’s Taste Entertainment presented by Mohegan Sun. DJ Phresh will be spinning all the latest hits, keeping the good vibes flowing all night long.

As is Dan’s Taste tradition, a portion of ticket proceeds will benefit local 501(c)(3) organizations such as All For The East End. AFTEE raises funds for more than 1,000 East End charity organizations and directly aids people in need through its Feed the Need program.

If you’re hungry for even more East End food, wine and celebration, you won’t want to miss Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, which returns to Nova’s Ark for another round of fun the following evening, Saturday, August 21!

And if you’re planning on inviting your whole squad, you can email wwhalen@schnepsmedia.com to enquire about special pricing and perks for groups of eight or more.

For tickets to Dan’s GrillHampton, visit squadup.com/events/dans-grillhampton-session-2. And to learn more about all Dan’s Taste 2021 events, visit DansTaste.com.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Returns to Water Mill Aug. 21

dan's taste
Tasty bites at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks. (Photo by Barbara Lassen)

By Oliver Peterson

The East End’s premier tasting experience, and one of the most popular events of summer, Dan’s Taste of Two Forks is back for its 10th year to showcase the very best food and wine from the Hamptons and North Fork.

Part of a blockbuster Dan’s Taste weekend at Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill, the big, food-and-wine celebration kicks off Saturday, Aug. 21 from 7–9:30 p.m.

Your $99 ticket includes unlimited food, cocktails, wine and beer. VIP ticket holders will also enjoy a luxury experience complete with priority entry 45 minutes before the doors open, interactive bubbly and seafood bar, exclusive lounge seating, and specialty drinks all night long! Only a limited number of VIP are being offered so they will sell out fast!

This, of course, follows the mighty Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Piccinini Brothers—the ultimate grill-off featuring chefs from Manhattan to Montauk and a panel of celebrity judges—on Friday, August 20, so don’t forget your $99 tickets to that party as well.

Bringing together the greatest restaurants and wineries from the North and South Forks, Dan’s Taste of Two Forks has an unbelievable roster of top chefs and winemakers serving the finest bites and sips on the East End, along with specialty cocktails, cold beer and more. This al fresco event at the magical sculpture garden is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful summer night while indulging in the best of the best this region has to offer.

And it’s all set to music from DJ Phresh, brought to us by Mohegan Sun, who will keep both Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and GrillHampton parties jumping. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit 501(c)(3) organizations including All For The East End (AFTEE), which showcases and provides support to more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns.

Bringing friends? We’ve got you covered. Email wwhalen@schnepsmedia.com today for group sales, pricing and perks (available for groups of 8 or more).

Visit DansTaste.com for tickets and details, including participating chefs and sponsors.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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The Power List Arrives on the East End

power list
Vicki Schneps, president of Schneps Media; Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health, and Elizabeth Aloni, EVP Schneps Media Events.

The inaugural Dan’s Papers PowerList of the East End will recognize the most influential movers and shakers of the North and South Forks and their continued commitment, impact, and influence on the East End. The event will take place at The Muses in Southampton on July 21.

“We are thrilled to be able to recognize and honor the people who make the East End the world-renowned premier place to vacation and live,” says Schneps Media President Victoria Schneps.

Those named to the list include Louis Grassi, managing partner and CEO of Grassi’s CPA; Kevin O’Connor, CEO of DIME Bank; Jan Burman, president of Engel Burman; Nancy Burner, founder of Burner Law Group, and many more influential leaders.

Tickets are on sale for the cocktail event which offers an opportunity to network with and celebrate the honorees. There is also an opportunity to be a sponsor of the Network Guide. Those interested can reach out to Demetra Mattone, Events Concierge at DMattone@SchnepsMedia.com.

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Dan’s Taste to Present Chefs of the North Fork Event on July 10

dan's taste
Refreshing East End wines are key to any pairing dinner. (Photo by Barbara Lassen)

The North Fork’s premier summer event, Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork, returns with a new venue, new lineup of chefs and all-new dishes and libations to taste. Whether you were among the lucky few to secure a ticket to past years’ events, or you have yet to experience any Dan’s Taste event, this is about as can’t-miss as one dining experience can get. This one-of-a-kind North Fork culinary celebration takes place Saturday, July 10.

At its core, Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork is a celebration of all things North Fork—the bucolic farmland and vineyards, the bountiful waters and the talented people who harvest the land and sea to create edible works of art. Gathering over a dozen of the most beloved North Fork chefs under one roof promises an exclusively curated dining experience packed with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The gorgeous view from Atlantis Banquets & Events

The casual indoor evening starts with a bespoke cocktail hour followed by a perfectly crafted five-course seated dinner and then decadent desserts. Each course of farm-to-table and dock-to-dish delicacies is paired with an incredible wine produced and bottled by the unrivaled North Fork wineries—including Paumanok Vineyards, Palmer Vineyards, Pindar Vineyards, Lenz Winery, McCall Wines and Borghese Vineyard & Winery—all of which are redefining the grape-to-glass experience and establishing the Long Island wine region among the world’s most well-respected. In addition, craft beer and cocktails will be served.

This year’s all-star roster of chefs includes:

ADAM KAUFER of Grace & Grit in Southold

DREW HIATT of The Preston House & Hotel in Riverhead

STEVEN AMARAL of North Fork Chocolate Company in Aquebogue

STEPHAN BOGARDUS of The Halyard at Soundview Greenport in Greenport


MARISSA DRAGO of Main Road Biscuit in Jamesport

URSULA XVII of Disset Chocolate in Cutchogue

BRUCE MILLER of Windamere at Strong’s Water Club in Mattituck

MIKE JEANTY of Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport

JOHN FRASER of North Fork Table & Inn in Souhtold

CHEO AVILA of KonTiki in Greenport

JUSTIN SCHWARTZ of Mattitaco in Mattituck

NOAH SCHWARTZ of Noah’s in Greenport & The Chequit in Shelter Island Heights

The Halyard at Soundview Greenport chef Stephan Bogardus returns for another exciting event
The Halyard at Soundview Greenport chef Stephan Bogardus returns for another exciting event (Photo by Barbara Lassen)

These chefs won’t be meeting under just any roof—they’ll be meeting, for the first time at a Dan’s Taste event, at the stunning Atlantis Banquets & Events. The venue offers unmatched views of the Peconic River, a gorgeous and unique backdrop that elevates the already magical evening even further and assures unforgettable memories for years to come.

As is Dan’s Taste tradition, a portion of ticket proceeds will benefit local 501(c)(3) organizations. This year’s nonprofits include Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, a charity serving people with developmental disabilities across Long Island and New York City; All For The East End (AFTEE), which raises funds for more than 1,000 East End charity organizations and helps those in need directly through its Feed the Need program; and US Autism Homes, which provides safe, independent and joyful living for autistic adults living in Southampton and beyond.

Once again, Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons is on Saturday, July 10 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at Atlantis Banquets & Events, located at 431 East Main Street, Riverhead. Tickets are $165 and extremely limited, so head to DansTaste.com to grab yours before you miss out on this one-of-a-kind culinary experience. The event is intended only for adults at least 21 years of age.

There are several more Dan’s Taste events this season! Dan’s Rosé Soirée arrives at Nova’s Ark in Water Mill on July 24 and is followed by Dan’s GrillHampton and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks in August 21. Dan’s Clambake hits Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina on August 28, and Dan’s Dinner in the Vines comes to Peconic Bay Vineyards on September 25. Tickets to all Dan’s Taste 2021 events are available now at DansTaste.com.

This story first appeared on DansPapers.com.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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Dan’s Taste Kicks Off With Chefs of the Hamptons Event on June 24

chefs of the hamptons
Chefs of the Hamptons. (Courtesy Guild Hall)

By Angela LaGreca

It’s the summer kickoff event of the season — and it’s back — safely!

The excitement is building for Dan’sChefs of the Hamptons, the East End’s premier foodie experience when it returns on June 24 to celebrate both the 10th anniversary of Dan’s Taste events and Guild Hall’s 90th anniversary.

Tickets to this exclusive event are still on sale at DansTaste.com. And for those who love fine dining, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to taste the artistry of some of the top chefs in the Hamptons while sipping on curated cocktails and wines.

The one-of-a-kind culinary celebration will take place at the luxury EHP Resort & Marina in East Hampton, which overlooks Three Mile Harbor—one of the East End’s most-visited destinations for jaw-dropping sunsets.

“We are excited to kick off our summer series of events at the new EHP Resort & Marina with Chefs of the Hamptons in celebration of Guild Hall’s 90th Anniversary,” says Josh Schneps, CEO and copublisher of Schneps Media, the parent company of Dan’s Papers.

The event is both indoor and outdoor and will be weather-proofed and covered from the elements. To ensure the safety and comfort of guests, Schneps and event producers are working with the company CLEAR to make sure all the guests are either vaccinated or have a negative COVID test, as well as a health screening prior to arrival.

“Guild Hall is a premier cultural institution and we are proud to sponsor with them the event under COVID rules,” says Victoria Schneps-Yunis, president and copublisher of Dan’s Papers and Schneps Media.

New York Times food and wine writer Florence Fabricant, Guild Hall trustee and member of Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America is chairing the event, which will begin with a sumptuous, curated cocktail hour followed by a six-course pairing dinner and delicious desserts.

“Just as the Hamptons have been notable as a magnet for artists and writers as well as scenesters, it has long been a place that has attracted the food world, upper echelon chefs and writers,” says Fabricant, who for many years produced Guild Hall’s annual Stirring the Pot conversation series hosting some of the most renowned chefs and cookbook authors in the country.

“The food scene continues to be alive and well as the products of the surrounding lands and sea inspire chefs,” she says, “so it’s worthwhile that the chefs of the Hamptons are celebrated.”

The all-star lineup of chefs from the finest Hamptons kitchens will delight guests with locally sourced signature dishes matched with exceptional wines.

This year’s Chefs of the Hamptonsfeatures the artistry of:

BOB ABRAMS of Calissa

MATTY BOUDREAU of Sute Kitchen


PHILIPPE CORBET of Lulu Kitchen and Bar

SCOTT KAMPF of Union Sushi & Steak

CHRIS PARK of Kissaki

TERRI NOVAK of flora

DANE SAYLES of EHP Resort & Marina

GAIL WATSON of GW Micro Bakery + Kitchen

CAROL BECKER of William Greenberg Desserts

For Andrea Grover, executive director of Guild Hall, the event is the perfect pairing of cuisine and culture:

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Dan’s for the second time on Chefs of the Hamptons,” says Grover. “It’s really our kick off event for our 90th season. We will be not only be celebrating the incredible artistry of chefs in the region but also kicking off our 90th anniversary and the publication of our Guild Hall for All book which is a look back at the artists, performers, writers and creative personalities that have been part of the family at Guild Hall since 1931.”

A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit nonprofit organizations, including Guild Hall, Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, a charity serving children, families and individuals with developmental disabilities across New York City and Long Island, and All For The East End which raises funds for local nonprofits and is currently focusing on food insecurity through AFTEE’s Feed the Need program.

The return of Chefs of the Hamptons, a signature Hamptons culinary event celebrating all that is local, tasteful, and artful for a cause, marks an exciting, hopeful start to a special summer season to be savored.

As Fabricant puts it: “This has been a difficult year, all the more reason to applaud the chefs that have kept at it!”

Dan’s Chefs of the Hamptons, celebrating Guild Hall’s 90th Anniversary, is on June 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m at EHP Resort & Marina, 295 Three Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, East Hampton. Tickets are limited and available at DansTaste.com.

There are seven Dan’s Taste events this season! Dan’sChefs of the Hamptons (June 24) Dan’s Chefs of the North Fork (July 10), Dan’sRosé Soirée (July 24), Dan’s GrillHampton (August 19), Dan’s Taste of Two Forks (August 21), Dan’s Clambake MTK (August 28) and Dan’sDinner in the Vines (September 25). Tickets are available at DansTaste.com.

For info on Guild Hall, visit guildhall.org.

This story first appeared on DansPapers.com.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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17 New Hamptons Restaurants to Visit This Summer

hamptons restaurants
Courtesy Kissaki

By  & 

If you’ve spent any time on the East End in the summertime, you know the drill by now—new year, new lineup of restaurants to try. Here are just some of the many eateries to open in the Hamptons and on the North Fork since last summer.

Southampton Town

Manna at Lobster Inn is an all-new concept with a new team managing it, and it features indoor and outdoor seating, a full bar and a lounge area, all with stunning water views. Chef Thomas Bogia’s menus has all the seafood favorites—lobster rolls, sushi, skate, porgy, mollusks—and more. 5 Inlet Road West, Southampton. mannarestaurant.com

Next to Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, Cafe Volo serves a menu of breakfast favorites that’s perfect before the morning commute (by car or plane) or any other time. 335 Sheldon Way, Westhampton Beach. cafevolowhb.com

The Coop, the 2020 ghost kitchen chicken pop-up of Southampton restaurateurs Ian Duke and David Hilty, is spreading its wings and leaving its off-season home at the Southampton Social Club for the enticing nest at Union Burger Bar. With a wide assortment of chicken dishes joining the strong roster of burgers on offer, the fusion is a win-win for both the owners and hungry East Enders. 40 Bowden Square, Southampton. thecooptogo.com

Carissa’s the Bakery will add a location in Sag Harbor later this summer, so keep an eye out for this East Hampton favorite. 3 Bay Street, Sag Harbor. carissasthebakery.com

Tasty Kissaki X Fish Cheeks offerings. (Courtesy Kissaki)

You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but Wishbone Farms is putting a clever spin on the concept with their farm-to-fridge market. Grab high-quality, chef-driven prepared foods and third wave coffee and enjoy them anywhere on the East End. eatwishbonefarms.com

The Buddha Lounge at Blu Mar is the hottest new spot to grab sushi in Southampton, featuring a tent and comfortable seating for some outdoor summer seafood fun. You can thank chef Justin Shiller and owner Zach Erdem for the mouthwatering new menu. 136 Main Street, Southampton. blumarhamptons.com

Few things jump-start the day quite like a bagel, and @PopUpBagels is getting in the Hamptons bagel scene after conquering the Fairfield County foodie scene. Owner Adam Goldberg is collaborating with two Hamptons kitchens to debut new bagel and schmear packages that will be available by advance sale and subscription only. popupbagels.com

Technically, this next one is cheating, as it isn’t expected to open until the fall, but how can we not mention that the Silver Lining Diner building at the corner of Southampton Village and Water Mill will soon reopen its doors as the second location of the TV-famous Lobster Roll aka Lunch? The owners of the Napeague restaurant—Andrea Anthony, Paul DeAngelis and Fred Terry—have teamed up with Irwin Simon, chairman and CEO of Tilray Inc., on this exciting cross-town expansion. 32 Montauk Highway, Southampton. lobsterroll.com

Tucked inside family Italian destination Salvatore’s of the Hamptons, Sundae Donuts pairs the two sweet treats as if they were  peanut butter and jelly or fine wine and French cheese—creating instant bliss for your taste buds. And during the summer, the Hampton Bays location is joined by a Montauk (716 Montauk Highway) pop-up that doubles the delicious fun! 149 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays. sundaedonuts.com

Courtesy Kissaki
Moby’s MarketMichelle Giang

East Hampton Town

Need more of Moby’s East Hampton in your life? Then get ready for Moby’s Market, a new outdoor dining and market experience boasting a decadent menu by Chef Kyle Koenig. Grab some tasty takeout to enjoy on the lawn, at the beach or cozied up at home. 341 Pantigo Road, East Hampton. mobysny.com

Il Buco al Mare is replacing Amagansett’s Sotto Sopra, and, yes, this is the cousin of the popular Il Buco Alimentari in New York City. With the Il Buco Vita coffee shop a few steps away at 252 Main Street, Il Buco has East Enders covered for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 231 Main Street, Amagansett. ilbuco.com

With new ownership comes EHP Resort & Marina’s new Mediterranean restaurant called Sí Sí. Chef Dan Sayles has created a menu that embodies the bounty of East End farms and waters, and those looking to grab food and go will be happy to discover the Buongiorno espresso and snack bar. 295 Three Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, East Hampton. ehpresort.com

Opened during the pandemic and quickly expanding, Water Mill’s Kissaki is opening an East Hampton outpost called O by Kissaki later this month. And if you can’t wait that long for more of their signature sushi, you can now find the special Kissaki X Fish Cheeks pop-up at the Montauk Angler’s Club on East Lake Drive in Montauk. 47 Montauk Highway, East Hampton. explorekissaki.com

France comes to Montauk in new farm-to-table restaurant La Fin, located at the former home of Swallow. Popular East End chef James Tchinnis is taking the lead on a fresh, health-minded menu that offers dinner, dessert and even recovery options. 474 West Lake Drive, Montauk. lafinkitchen.com

Father-son team Eric and Adam Miller have debuted the new Rita Cantina, providing a new take on coastal cuisine, mixed with the flavors that hail from south of the border. Enjoy daily happy hour at the tequila-focused bar program, plenty of tacos and more. 28 Maidstone Park Road, East Hampton. ritacantinahamptons.com

The Lil Lucharitos Food Truck
The Lil Lucharitos Food Truck at the Center Moriches FarmBarbara Lassen

North Fork

The Lucharitos Burrito Bar in Mattituck and the Lucharitos Farm in Center Moriches are the newest locations of this popular North Fork taqueria, bringing the current total up to four locations, with a fifth expected in Melville this year. 10095 Main Road, Mattituck. lucharitos.com

Chocolatier Ursula XVII took the North Fork by storm last year when her online Disset brand launched its seasonal, artisanal bonbon collections. Not long after, she opened her first brick-and-mortar in Cutchogue, Atelier Disset, and the area was once again thrown into a chocolate frenzy. 28080 Main Road, Cutchogue. dissetchocolateonline.com

This story first appeared on DansPapers.com.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink.

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Chef Doug Gulija Brings It Home At The Plaza Café in Southampton

the plaza café
Chef Doug Gulija of The Plaza Café. Photos: Courtesy The Plaza Café; Hannah Selinger

By Harry Powers

Chef/owner Doug Gulija of The Plaza Café in Southampton started his culinary career as many do—by washing dishes—and has worked his way up to entrepreneurship.

He started at the Old Mill restaurant in Southampton when he was 13 and was taken under the wing of a French chef from Burgundy. It wasn’t until a short-lived college basketball career forced him to make a career path change and enter the culinary school at Johnson and Wales that he realized just how much that French chef taught him. “I knew how to make hollandaise, pate choux, demiglace,” Gulija says. “And I was so surprised that many of my fellow classmates couldn’t even pronounce some of these techniques, much less execute them.”

Upon graduation, Gulija started his career with Marriott Hotels under the tutelage of his mentor Chef Peter Montgomery. It was here that he was provided an environment to fully learn and develop his culinary skills. It was also here that he was provided with the business knowledge to successfully operate a kitchen.

After a stint cooking in France, Gulija ended up back in his hometown of Southampton landing a gig as sous chef at Mirko’s Restaurant in Water Mill, where he helped them garner their third star from Newsday. After working as the chef de cuisine of the original Laundry restaurant in East Hampton and then as head chef at Monterey Seafood Grill, the opportunity soon came to own his own restaurant in Southampton. Thus, The Plaza Café was born. The initial intention was to have a casual, low-key restaurant that focused on local and sustainable seafood. But the accolades soon turned The Plaza Café into a fine dining destination. Today though, Gulija has returned to the original plan with what he calls a “return to cooking” and not getting caught up in so much of the nonsense of this profession. And as one restaurant critic succinctly put it, “Chef Gulija feels at ease.”

To learn more about The Plaza Café, visit plazacafesouthampton.com.

This story first appeared on DansPapers.com.

For more food and drink coverage, visit longislandpress.com/category/food-drink

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Behind The Hedges Webinar:  Curious About the Current State of the Residential Market in the Hamptons?

One of the many beautiful homes for sale on the South Fork.

The opportunity to have more space during the current COVID crisis has brought increased demand from buyers and renters to The Hamptons.

Join Behind The Hedges’ free online webinar and hear from local real estate agents who are experts on Hamptons real estate. They will provide an update on the current status of the Fall season on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m.

Agents will talk about the different hamlets on the South Fork, how to find a community that’s a good fit, timing, pricing, living in the Hamptons year round and what to expect going into the Fall/Winter season.

Judi Desiderio, CEO and President of Town & Country Real Estate, an independent real estate firm with eight offices throughout the Hamptons and across the North Fork brings over three decades of experience. For more than 25 years, The Hamptons’ most discerning buyers, sellers, renters and investors in luxury and waterfront homes have entrusted Enzo Morabito of Douglas Elliman.  A life-long resident of Southampton, JB Andreassi, of Nest Seekers International, understands the value of Real Estate and is son to one of the founding fathers of Hamptons luxury residential — you may also recognize him from “Million Dollar Beach House” on Netflix. Shannan North of Brown Harris Stevens is one of the leading agents of her generation and has been a part of sales in all price ranges with a complete knowledge of the estate area from Montauk to Southampton that has made her the first choice among discriminating buyers and sellers. With 30+ years of demanding sales experience, Patricia Wadzinski of Sotheby’s International Realty has earned an outstanding reputation for her professionalism, dedicated service, sensitivity, and attention to detail. 

To sign up and reserve your place, click here.

To learn about hosting and sponsorship opportunities for Behind The Hedges Home Events, please get in touch here.

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A Southampton Social Union A Decade In The Making

Ian Duke and Scott Kampf at Chefs of the Hamptons 2019 at Topping Rose House, Photo: Barbara Lassen

As we reflect on Labor Day Weekend 2020, it’s a time to look back on a summer like no other. If you’re Ian Duke, proprietor of Union Sushi & Steak, Union Burger Bar and Southampton Social Club, that look back goes beyond the season and over the 10 years since Social Club opened its doors. In that time, Duke and Executive Chef Scott Kampf and their teams have woven themselves into the fabric of the Hamptons—not to mention into the lineup of every iteration of Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, which would have celebrated its 10th summer this year.

In honor of these dual decade milestones, Duke is also looking forward to the night of September 17 and The Perfect 10 Dinner—when Chef Kampf will be creating a one-night-only, one seating only 10-course tasting menu at Southampton Social Club to be savored and celebrated by the few guests lucky enough to book their tables before they’re gone. Until then, though, Duke invites you to share a few minutes looking back and looking ahead. Your table is ready…

On Creating an Experience…
I remember when I started out in the business and managers, owners, even teachers would talk about the most important two moments someone remembers about being in a restaurant—the “Hello” at the door and the coffee after dinner. I think it was having that spoon-fed to me one too many times that made me believe that, while those moments do matter, I actually would like to hope that there is an emphasis on the entire “experience” that makes a true memory.

And isn’t that what we are all really looking for? A great memory or a great story? I know for me it is. I think, like many people, I’m not looking for the best food or the best service. I’m looking for the best “experience.” Something that brings all of it together and makes it a lot more than just the sum of its parts.

On the Last Decade…
There have been so many amazing moments over the last 10 years, it truly would be hard to choose the best. Tearing it up last summer with Jamie Foxx and members of the Black Eyed Peas was incredible, as we got to do it two nights in a row—such amazing energy. Dinners with Jon Bon Jovi and his son, Jesse Bongiovi, Dwayne Wade, hosting events with Bruce Springsteen and family—all have been amazing. Then there’s all the friendships, the charities, the crazy parties.

But I suppose in the end, there really would be my one, favorite night. A night where all my friends, my daughter, Dylan, my stepson, Jack, and our whole family got to join me in celebrating getting married abroad in Malta to my wife Dina. I mean, how often is someone lucky enough to have everyone they love together in a place that they got to build with so many of the same people? I’m truly blessed.

Union Sushi & Steak’s Pecan Crusted Halibut, Photo: Union Sushi & Steak

On Change…
I think quite a bit has changed, while much is also still the same. People eat significantly healthier now than they used to. Farm-to-table is nearly everywhere, people are genuinely far more health-focused and, of course, there are many more vegetarians and vegans dining out today than in years past. While that has changed, we are still seeing the large fun-loving tables of 10 who are looking to dine with us and party all night under the stars. Of course, we’re talking pre-COVID. Right now, this is certainly a very different time for everyone.

On Looking Ahead…
As with all life-changing events, opportunities—whether we like to believe it or not—do arise. COVID has brought a lot of people out to the East End, and we certainly do anticipate many of them sticking around as NYC continues to have many struggles. As such, with our restaurants we are planning to stay open and monitor business on an ongoing basis. With Union Sushi & Steak’s nearly immediate popularity—thank you all, by the way—we are excited for the fall, as we are a venue that was actually designed for indoor dining and providing a safe environment through the use of private dining areas, even with the coronavirus still around, not to mention somewhere to enjoy some late-night entertainment.

Union Burger Bar’s Breakfast Burger, Photo: Courtesy UBB

On the Power of a Name…
It’s simple. Who doesn’t love to be a part of something? Something bigger than ourselves? I have always loved the bond that people have with each other in this industry. And not just in a venue where people work together—I mean the entire industry. I think about events like “Tales of the Cocktail” held in New Orleans every year. Thousands of people from all walks of hospitality attend, and all are not only welcomed but accepted and treated like family. As I said, I have always loved that bond. Southampton Social Club and Union Sushi & Steak and Union Burger Bar all have those names as we hope to include all of our guests in that same mantra. Of course, now in these COVID times, we could all use a little more togetherness and maybe a hug.

On Being Essential…
I remember when the Governor declared restaurant workers “essential,” and I had to laugh at first when comparing it to all of the other occupations that were left off the list. I didn’t laugh because it wasn’t true, I laughed because it was one of the first times that everyone who worked in hospitality was truly recognized for how important the roles they play are.

But I think for all of us, we have always known that we are the heartbeat of a community. The place where everyone gets to blow off steam together, cry together, laugh together and certainly love together. It’s such a shame, though, that it took a pandemic for us to see it first-hand. I mean, look at NYC—if we’ve ever needed a local watering hole more than now, I certainly don’t know when it was.

Everyone, Raise Your Glasses for a Toast…
While I am someone who definitely can be accused of talking too much, in this case I will keep it reasonably short and sweet:

While I would never have imagined that we would be toasting 10 Years of Southampton Social Club and 10 Years of Dan’s Taste of Two Forks in such a difficult time, maybe perhaps that is poignant, as we have never needed, like we do right now, all of the friendships, the family, the teamwork and the love of everyone who has been on this road with us over the last 10 years. I thank you all for your support and look forward to the post-COVID life that we all certainly hope we see sooner than later. To 10 more years of memories, incredible stories and adventures, and health and happiness to all of you.

Don’t miss the ultimate night out in the Hamptons! To reserve your private, socially distanced outdoor table for Thursday, September 17 at 6 p.m. for The Perfect 10 Dinner at Southampton Social Club, visit SocialClub10.com.

This story first appeared on DansPapers.com

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