MMMMMMMMMM…. DONUTS… AND TUNA TARTARE! -UPDATED!!!

In case you missed it there was a lot of buzz a few months ago as Tom Colicchio and Topping Rose House parted ways.    Much of the well deserved criticism revolved around the fact that the prices were steep and the food was just a tad too “precious.”     Well, when it was recently announced that Jean-Georges Vongerichten would be moving into that prime location, it was with a skeptical eye that many Hamptons folks awaited the arrival of it’s latest celebrity chef.     I mean, doesn’t everyone want quail and sweet breads when visiting the beach?

www.toppingrosehouse.com
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. donuts!

But guess what?  A good thing happened on the way to Bridgehampton.   Rather than taking a step on the fancy side, the restaurateur took a page more from his Inn at Pound Ridge menu and gave it a Hamptons spin.    Jean-Georges at the Topping Rose House is now open and ready for business.  While make no mistake the bill is going to cost you a few more dollars than an Olive Garden Prix Fixe, the prices are reasonable by local standards and the menu is actually pretty accessible.   The restaurant was open over the Memorial Day and served dishes from the new menu including; Tuna Tartare with Avacado and ginger marinade for $22, Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan $15, Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken for $32 and a Cheeseburger with Frizzled Onions and House made pickles for $21.     For the vegetarian in the group, they also have a Garden Vegetable Brown Rice bowl with Salsa Verde for $26.    While I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, if it’s anything like the Westchester outlet I have no doubt it will be packed from now until Labor Day!  For more information or reservations, you can try calling 631-537-0870 or go online by clicking here!

Meanwhile, something is apparently brewing in Sag Harbor and Homer Simpson will very happy.    I was on the street and I glazed over to find out that  Grindstone Coffee and Donuts is coming to town.   The hole deal is getting ready to set up shot at the location that was formerly occupied by Pepalajefa at 7 Main Street in Sag Harbor.   Fronted by two veteran coffee shope folks,  locals Kyle Shanahan and Anna Coffman will have brioche style donuts in such mouth watering flavors as strawberry shortcake, chocolate coconut and of course the traditional glazed!  The two are also making a point of sourcing all of the ingredients from local providers like Mecox Dairy and Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett.    In fact, they’re taking the local angle so seriously they’ve decided to start working on a beach plum filled jelly donut recipe.     But if you’re hoping these will be low calorie, fat free, taste free confections, forget it.  The plan is for real “super buttery brioche donuts”… dare I say it’s a the Hamptons answer to a cronut….. a bronut?    The shop will also have a range of gourmet coffees and teas to help unclog your arteries.       Look for Grindstone Coffee and Donuts to open sometime at the end of the month!    One final thought before I go?  Some folks say, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”… except for donuts which say, “skinny can go “f” itself.”

BUSTING A SUMMER RENTAL MYTH… AND DOPPIO IS DONE-I-OH! AGAIN.

Doppio in Sag Harbor…. brown paper seems to be it’s color!

Good Morning all.. or is it afternoon?  Either way, HC as some people like to call this blog has been off the grid for the past few months.  It’s been a period of reflection and real estate and a media blackout.  I’ve ignored TV, radio and the internet for weeks now.  So before I read the papers about the Jeb versus Hillary show… I mean nobody was going to vote for “him,” I did some recon in and around the Hamptons to get the latest in our neck of the woods.

So word about town in Sag Harbor is that DOPPIO is definitely DONE-I-OH.   As if the incident of last summer’s sudden shuttering wasn’t a big enough omen for you, the Italian bistro has packed it’s bags and headed off for greener and perhaps less discerning pastures.    But while this is a surprise for virtually nobody, the big buzz is about what’s going in there!  So, what will it be?   Apparently, it’s going to be brown paper on the windows for the next few months.  Unconfirmed word about town is that the state of the space is in a bit on the worn side and a renovation is afoot.  If I have wrong information here, let me know and I’ll fix it!  I still miss the old “Paradise” in Sag Harbor.  Please can somebody talk to somebody and bring it back?    It had good service, good food and a great atmosphere, something far too many restaurateurs in the Hamptons have a hard time understanding.

Meantime, why is it so tough to find a summer rental this season?  Well it’s not as the NY Times would have you believe.     The mad rush that they report every year (“act now if you want your summer Hamptons get away) as having taking place is more myth than reality.    The truth is with all of the new regulations that include rental permits, registries and blood oaths more than a few home owners have decided NOT to rent rather than deal with all of the drama.    Now, I’m sure some agents and brokers are going to say, “not at all.”   But I’m speaking from my experiences in the past few weeks.    I’ve called numerous landlords about renting only to have them inform me the house is no longer available.     I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing but I can tell you, if you’re debating on renting your home this coming season… make sure to get the permit and protect yourself before getting into the pool… it’s smaller this year than it’s been in a long time!

IF YOU WANT TO RENT YOUR HOUSE IN THE HAMPTONS….. A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW FIRST!

One of the great things about owning a home in the Hamptons is your ability to rent it out.    Yes, for some it’s a cash cow and can help off set most of your yearly expenses in just 3 short months.    But you better know what you’re doing.   If you rent to the wrong tenant or your house isn’t ready, you could end up making less than money than a romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl and Nicholas Cage.

So what do you need to know and how do you get the most money possible for your rental?  Well luckily Hamptons Chatter is here to tell you.

Price it Right – This is my rule of thumb…  if you just bought your house and it’s decorated and well maintained, you can expect about 4-5% the cost of the property for the Memorial Day to Labor Day period.   50% of that should be counted for the August rental.   For example, your Restoration Hardware decorated home you just bought for $1,000,000 should rent MD-LD for $50k or $25K for August.   This is not a hard and fast rule.  If your house is a few years old, ask an agent what they think would be a good rental price. It’s also not a science so adjusting the price as you get close to the season may be needed.

List your property properly –  First off, keep it as an open listing.  Unless you’re renting your home for $250k or more, most companies won’t even take an exclusive rental and that’s not a bad thing.   Agents are no different than anyone else and they’re looking to earn a living.   So if it’s between a $100k rental that’s an exclusive rental where the agent will have to give a chunk to the listing agent or an open listing where they get the lions share, which one do you think they’re going to show?   Most rental listings in the Hamptons are open listings, so keep yourself competitive.   But also know, unless you tell your agent to share the listing you’ll need to make sure every company has your home and at the right (same) price!

Busy, busy, busy!!  www.uglyhousephotos.com

Get the house ready to go – If agents are starting to show your house,  it should look like your tenants are moving in tomorrow.     Reduce the clutter around the house, make sure all of your photos and personal Nick-knacks are stored away and please, please, please keep it neat and clean.    Also, less is more…. if the house is overloaded with furniture that’s not a plus for most tenants, it will only make the property feel crowded and full.
your house if there are dirty dishes are in the sink and pet hair on all of the sofas (nobody wants to live in someone else’s dirt).   “Clean” is also a key word when it comes to decor.   Busy patterns or tons of floral bed spreads, pillow cushions or curtains will overwhelm some potential tenants.   While you’re taste may be good, it might not be for everyone.   That’s why   Do not show Baskin and Robbins has 31 flavors but you don’t need that many colors!

Make it and easy show – While I don’t suggest leaving a key under the mat (that’s a really bad idea for a number of reasons).   You have to make sure agents have easy access to your property.   Customers run late… HELLO, IF THINK YOU’RE IN THE HAMPTONS AND YOU DIDNT HIT TRAFFIC YOU’RE ONLY IN SHIRLEY…. and sometimes agents run late too so if it becomes to difficult to coordinate they’ll move on.  The best way to control access and make sure you get shown is to drop a key off with your local broker.  They’ll keep the key locked up and log who borrows and uses the key.   You could also buy a lock box or better yet buy a digital remote system where you can grant access to your home via your cell phone.  My personal favorite is the KEVO system, which you can buy easily enough on Amazon.

Get professional photos – If you want a good laugh, go through one of those “home for rent -by owner” sites.  Would you rent some of these homes?   I didn’t think so.  Bad photos are a home owners biggest enemy.   My advice is hire a professional photographer (call any agency they’ll recommend who to call) and then share these photos to all the agencies.   You have to spend money to make money and this particular expense is a no brainer to me.

Finally a few last points about “Hamptons Summer Renting” – if you use an agent to rent your house you’ll need to pay the commission and in most cases it’s 10% of the term of the lease.     It might seem like a lot but most agents screen their customers or get them via referral.  You’ll be less likely to get a bad egg tenant.     Also, most leases require that tenants will maintain the property while in residency, so make sure they use the folks who know the house… your housekeeper, your lawn guy, your pool person, etc.

Also, if you live in Southampton Town make sure to get a rental permit.  It’s not easy to do but it will protect you in the long run if you have problems with the tenant.

Now remember, I couldn’t cover everything in this brief posting but I hope its a helpful start.   I also know not everyone will agree with my advice so feel free to post what you think.

WEEKEND UPDATE… THE LAZARUS OF LINGUINI… & BEACH PERMIT LINKS!

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