Montauk is a place all its own. Neither the Hamptons or even just simply on the East End, it is a place with its own lifestyle, vibe, and, at times, weather. There is a mix of the classic old guard with their thriving fishing industry that spans centuries and newer restaurants and bars that attract visitors from all points west. There is evidence of Native American tribes, including the peaceful Montauketts. Montauk’s history is now kept alive in the present day through parks, museums, and seafood restaurants. A true local still exists, cohabitating with tourists that come seeking a laidback lifestyle at this furthest point east. The ocean can be seen at every turn with coastal breezes adding to the already alluring atmosphere.
Changes in Montauk from season to season are slow and subtle. Long standing establishments have opened their doors for another summer season, some with new offerings and developments. New businesses are making their way to “The End” as well, keeping in tune with the local culture. What will always remain the same is that Montauk living is unique to all other South Fork villages.
This past May, Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa announced the purchase and addition of The Montauk Yacht Club Resort and Marina, the largest marina in the Hamptons, to their brand. “The Montauk Yacht Club is respected in the Hamptons as much as in the yachting community,” says president and owner George Filopoulos of Metrovest Equities and Lloyd Goldman of BLDG Management. “We’re looking forward to elevating the property and its offerings for weddings, groups, and leisure guests, and to now creating opportunities for our guests between our resort and marina destinations in Montauk and Newport.”
Now to be known as Gurney’s Montauk Yacht Club and Resort, the establishment will upgrade the guest experienced by bringing on LDV Hospitality to manage the food and beverage program. Guests can still enjoy the resort through this summer season, after which it will close for the winter to undergo a major $13 million property-wide upgrade. But no worries, doors will be open again in time for the summer 2019 season.
Speaking of what’s new at Montauk staples, the famed Montauk Lighthouse has launched new and improved concessions for Montauk Point State Park with George’s Lighthouse Café. Founded by New York City’s Picnic in the Park’s Mike Torreiro, will head up the café housed in a 3,200 square-foot glass encased building adjacent to the lighthouse with a seasonal menu featuring dishes like crab toast, egg sandwiches, and a breakfast burrito in the mornings and afternoon fare with fish tacos, crab cake sandwich, lobster roll, wraps and more. In the evenings sip on a cocktail from the bar while enjoying the sunset and listening to live music.
Solé East hotel and restaurant is returning for its 12th season offering wellness popups including meditation, crystal/tarot card readings, and crystal facials with Sacred Space Revolution, Paintbucket Nails, and Xtend Barre classes, which combine Pilates and dance to create a dynamic full body workout.
“Everyone looks to the Hamptons to put their stamp of approval on what’s hot,” says creator and founder of Xtend, Inc. Andrea Rogers. “So, when it came to our attention that Solé East was looking for a fitness partner for the summer, we felt the stars aligned. Both our brands have synergies when it comes to branding, clientele, and overall vibe. It’s the first summer we are hosting classes every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day.”
One of Montauk’s oldest seafood spots, Duryea’s Lobster Deck and Market, continues to offer the freshest local seafood in a casual waterfront setting. The family-style menu includes clambakes, a variety of Long Island oysters, clams, shrimp, steamers, mussels, and more. The fish market features more fresh and local seafood, as well as products from Goodale Farms, Kriemhild Dairy Farms, Fairview Farm, Backyard Brine, and Palazzolo’s Artisan Dairy.
“Duryea’s has been an iconic property for decades on the East End,” says Duryea’s managing director, Steven Jauffrineau. “The mission of Duryea’s over the years has always been to serve the freshest seafood straight from the waters of Montauk. As the Duryea family retired, our objective has remained to preserve this legacy and deliver the best and freshest product and maintain our distinction as one of the best seafood dining spots on the East End. Add to that a breathtaking water view and friendly service and we have created the perfect recipe for success.”
Other favorited Montauk restaurants include Inlet Restaurant serving seafood and sushi, Gosman’s Dock for a casual seafood eatery, and the globally-inspired East by Northeast. In town, check out 668 The Gig Shack for a surfer-style setting and menu that stays true to its Montauk roots. Opt for spicy tuna tartare taquitos with toasted sesame seeds, avocado, and micro red radish or the PEI mussels and grilled fresh baguette with either white and cilantro herb butter or spicy Thai broth with white wine, coconut milk, and spicy peppers.
Brian and Gillian Mooney are a Montauk couple with decades of experience in the local restaurant industry. He worked at the iconic Clam Bar on the Napeague stretch for 24 years, and she was part owner of Herb’s Market for more than 10 years. Now they have ventured into their own new seafood takeout spot called Hook. In the former Red Hook Lobster Pound space, the couple will offer hyper local seafood from the area’s fishermen they have formed strong relationships with over the years. The vibe is casual with chowders, lobster rolls, oysters, and more available to order at the counter and enjoy at a picnic table or to take to the beach.
This is just a glimpse of what Montauk living has to offer. Ocean beaches, fishing on and offshore, parks and trails, history, and no shortage of things to do is what have kept families here for generations, drawn new people to explore the area, and stand the test of time on the ever-changing East End.