Yesterday’s tomorrow is today…. right?

It’s Peyton Place in Sag Harbor these days as the questions abound…. Is Doppio history or on hiatus.   Yesterday, state officials along with a few men in blue (you never know when some employee might want to sneak off with salt and pepper shakers) came in and locked the restaurant down and threw up a “SEIZED” sign!   Well it didn’t take long but a few hours later one of the owners or employees was out there with a sign and free lemonade promising it will be “back to business as normal.”   Well it’s now 11:30 am and Hamptons Chatter was late to go to press today and the doors are all still locked and there isn’t an employee in site. There is also no lemonade today but did you really think someone could serve free drinks in Sag Harbor without getting into trouble?

Rumors about Doppio’s demise have been floating around since this winter.    After a promising start and lots of fanfare last year bad attitudes and mediocre food turned the eatery into a ghost town by Labor Day.   This year I have to say the food has improved and the staff is a heck of a lot friendlier.    Everyone should get a second chance and I’m hoping they make it work.    I’ll keep you updated on the progress and update here as needed.    It would be fun to set up a webcam, right?

UPDATE 2:38pm:  It’s still closed, still dark and Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
UPDATE 4:19pm:  The day glow orange sign is gone and they’re getting ready to reopen.  A stirring saga is over. 

Bad reviews can’t stop this bear!


  • Meanwhile, it’s beginning to feel a lot like August around here int he Hamptons.   I know every year we all complain the crowds are bigger, the traffic is worse, the lines are longer, blah, blah, blah than the year before.   But you know what?  I’m convinced it really is crazier than ever out here … and there isn’t a Kardashian in sight!   The way I know is the annual tell tale signs, that usually happen in late August are already upon us.   It’s like a swallows of Capistrano situation here but with BMW’s.   Here are the signs it’s bursting at the seams on the East End;

A movie like “Ted 2” can sell out on Sunday night at 10pm.   Yes, it’s only scored a lame 45% on Rotten Tomatoes but it’s doing bang up business in East Hampton.   I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pay to see this after the director’s really really bad “A Million Ways to Die in the West,”  but if your choice is between this and “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” one title does sound a little better for fun summer viewing.

Scads of Toddlers are playing under hot coffee pots at bagel stores and coffee shops while their attentive parents are texting away on their I-phones!   Now, I always find this annual occurrence to be a bit scary.  I mean I’m not a parent nor do I have any intuitive parental skills but I kind of find it stupid to let children play unsupervised under a scalding coffee pot!    Call me wacky!

It takes an hour to get from Southampton to East Hampton village on a week night and Sag Harbor Village looks like East Hampton Village!    Folks, if you live within walking distance to any of these villages (remember that’s why you paid what you did!), why in the world are you driving a 10th of a mile to get there?!  Getting stuck in traffic on Butter Lane…. I’m sorry I just don’t get it!   But then again there are a lot of things I don’t understand….. like why everyone and their mother is now publishing a magazine this summer!  I read Hamptons Magazine, Hamptons Real Estate Showcase  and Dan’s…. sorry that’s it folks… the rest I toss in the circular file!   I would also read if it ever went to print… I hope I earn brownie points on these.

The uniform at Rowdy Hall is Gucci, Prada and Birkin  The home of Hamptons casual and arguably one of the best burgers around becomes a tornado of tags and logos as the normally low key crowd gets outnumbered and out dressed.    I know it’s competitive out there and everyone wants too look good but isn’t this a casual beach community?  Couldn’t we all just embrace the softer side of Sears?


How cold is it out there?  Well if you’re like me you’ve been glued to local news for “Snowpocalypse 15, The Blizzard of 15 and the This Winter Sucks 15” special coverage.   Yes, if all of those negative numbers on the screen are giving you flashbacks to your Calculus 101 class, you’re not alone.     While the media contuinues scaring the bejeezus out of everyone there is the reality of icy roads and un-shoveled walkways.   With that in mind, it’s no surprise that action on the East End was very quiet this past President’s Day Weekend.   In fact, even a Valentine’s Day over the weekend wasn’t enough to keep restaurant and business owners happy.   The real estate market was much the same this past weekend. A fair amount of action but it would have been better if it didn’t snow!   In spite of article after article about how “all the good Hamptons summer rentals are gone,”  renters and buyers still weren’t willing to put on their boots and trek through waist high drifts to see properties.     I also noticed a slight dip in web traffic this past week maybe due to nobody thinking “beach” when frost bite is imminent.   Maybe everyone was busy with Valentine’s Day or going to see “Fifty Shades of Grey.”     Either way, my cadre of brokers and agents gave this past weekend a solid “C.”  Here’s hoping for a big thaw and warmer temperatures soon.

Doppio…. Last spring


Meanwhile, rumors of the death of Doppio in Sag Harbor have been greatly exaggerated. I for one thought it was pretty much D.O.A. by the end of last summer.   But, according to very reliable sources, the Italian eatery which got off to a promising start last summer is coming back for a second season!     The windows which are currently covered with paper will be peeled back and service will continue for the handful of dedicated customers.   So where did Doppio go wrong last year and how can they make it this season?   The biggest complaint I heard was not about the food but rather the service was terrible.  I guess in my encounters, I always thought there is better food in town with better service… so why bother.    Here’s hoping they pull it together for next year.

Yep… the snow may be deep but you better start thinking about getting your beach permits before you’re stuck going to Asbury Park.   Below are the links you’ll need for enjoying fun in the sun this coming summer!

Beach Permit Links!

East Hampton Village Beach Permits

East Hampton Town Beaches

Southampton Town Beaches

Southampton Village Beach Permits

A Tale of Two Restaurant Openings…. Plus, Everyone Really Is A Critic!

Ok, the dust has settled and we’re back to a calmer and more civilized Hamptons, well up until July 4th weekend anyway.    That being said, I’m exhausted the guest, the traffic and the difficult cocktail conversation.  “Yes, I heard that Saint Barth’s is not what it used to be.”  Oi vey!  But other than the buzz about where everyone else went and where I didn’t there were a few topics that seemed to be on everyone in the Hamptons lips.   The state of the real estate market on the east end and what new restaurants have come to town!    But if you thought today’s blog was going to be about the market, you would be wrong!    I’m going to spill the beans on the two biggest openings of the last week!

Now, while I didn’t go to any restaurants this past weekend I do have sources that braved the openings of two highly anticipated new restaurants in Sag Harbor; Doppio and Harlow.   The menus and pedigree of both are very different and the reaction to both was pretty much the same…. VERY DIFFERENT!

Harlow which arrives in town with very high expectations opened it’s doors recently.   Located at the

A rough start?   But oh what a view!

old B.Smith’s location on Long Warf, it comes from one of the partners of the infamous Nobu and already has one location in the city.     Billed as similar to their city outlet with a more “low key East End atmosphere,” the restaurant will none the less attract a similar crowd with offerings such as their signature oyster bar.   So,  was it a home run?   Well according to  friends of mine who went this past Saturday, it was a more of a strike out.   They described the restaurant as a complete “cluster f***!”  In spite of having reservations they were put off not 1…. but 2 hours before they called it quits and headed off to The Cuddy instead!    They said the staff was also very surly and I’ve also heard mentions about the bathrooms not working and patrons having to go down the block.    So as you can tell, I have no reports on the food just yet!

Now, I get it!  It’s Memorial Day weekend and you got slammed and we’ll give you some time to get your bearings.   But then again, it’s not like you didn’t know it was going to be a crowded holiday weekend!    We’ll check back in a few weeks and see how they do especially since it is one of THE best locations on the east end and the menu looks really impressive.

Doppio is up an running!

Meanwhile, down the street at the home of the former Madison and Main the folks at Doppio apparently got off to a very auspicious start.   Billed as an artisan bistro, the restaurant with the
“dopey” sounding name obviously came to town ready to do business.    I’m hearing  the crew in Sag Harbor is a well oiled machine with good food and good friendly service!    Let’s hope they can keep up the good work!    The last thing in the world I wanted on the east end was another Italian restaurant but Doppio sounds like its worth the trip!

Speaking of customers and their restaurant experiences, if you ever want a good laugh look no further than some of the reviews for Hamptons restaurants on YELP!    Now, I know sometimes people are just plain pains in the butt and that’s why I take the caveat here, I didn’t write these comments, I’m just reporting them.   I mean, god forbid people do online reviews of this blog!   I can hear them now; “How can you not know the difference between they’re and there.”   “You have all the wrong punctuation.”   “Lousy spelling.”   Yeah, well you know what….  lighten up Frances, it’s a blog not the New York Times!    I know I’m not Tom Wolfe but at least I’m no Bret Easton Ellis!   So anyway, here are some of my favorites that had me squirting my Sauvignon Blanc through my nose!    But more importantly it proves my point Hampton diners are sometimes hard to please!

Pierre’s Bridgehampton:  While the over all rating for Pierre’s was 3 out of 5 Stars, there were a few scathing remarks that have not doubt been responsible for a dent in their status.   TB from Manhattan said on 7/22/13 “below average food, fighting cougars…. and beyond obnoxious.”    Is a restaurant full of cougars a bad thing?

Calvin from NYC wrote on 8/30/13 “Too arrogant!  French man…. Do not give them a credit card for reservations and the reservation never on time.”   Well Calvin,  if you can own a credit card you can obviously afford to buy a verb.  Calvin you are a stupid American!

Sant Ambroeus, Southampton:  Overall they got 4 out of 5 stars, so why not 5?   Well, TF from Atlanta wrote on 6/12/13, “I tipped a very small amount because of poor service – about 10% but later on my credit card statement I noticed that they ignored the tip amount I wrote and “updated it to 18%.”  Sorry TF, zeros and 8’s look so similar it’s an honest mistake.  Maybe they were just agreeing with you and put another zero on top of your zero!?  See… it can happen!

Well apparently service with attitude is their biggest issue.   Christy G from Greenwich Ct. wrote on 7/7/13 “if you don’t walk in dripping in gold and Versace they assume you shouldn’t be there.”   While S.P. from Denver, CO. wrote 4/14/12 “why give a wine list if you ‘re never coming back to take the order.”   When in Rome you two!

LT Burger, Sag Harbor:   3 out of 5 Stars.   Josh M. from Manhattan wrote on 1/28/14 that he “wouldn’t go there if my eyebrows were on fire and the place had the only water in Sag Harbor.”    I guess he didn’t like it?

Trust me they get better but I’m trying to be nice here guys!    Some comments involve bad food and cases of Montezuma’s revenge!    All I can say is it’s rough out there!

Old Stove Pub, Sagaponack: 2 out of 5 Stars.   Michael S. from New York wrote on 8/23/13… “If you enjoy sea bass that smells like a soiled diaper served, eventually, by a shiftless and competent waiter than this is your joint!”

In the age of social media EVERYBODY IS A CRITIC!