I’m starting to feel like the Terence Malick of bloggers right now.    In fact, I feel I’m in my “Tree of Life” phase, minus Brad Pitt and with even less enthusiasm from the audience.   But as my fortune cookie said the other day, “you must try or hate yourself for not trying.”  So here I am trying to bang out my ever so entertaining latest installment of “HAMPTONS CHATTER.”   – crickets –

Anyway, what everyone seems to be really discussing in my part of the world is about how Sag Harbor has turned a corner.   I’ve been nestled in Sag Harbor’s Main Street for the better part of 12 years (more on that later) and enjoyed it’s sophisticated small town feel.   From the “five and dime” to home design stores to the Golden Pear coffee shop, it was “hello”… “good morning”…. “have a good day.”    But as Whoopi said in the movie “Ghost,”   – –  “Sag Harbor, you’re in danger girl.”

The main culprit from what I hear is that “new restaurant” that shall remain unnamed.   According to reliable sources, just because the place is empty doesn’t mean they want your unpretentious butt sitting at one of their tables.   More than a few of my city and local friends have gone in only to be told, “we’re full!”    Wow!   I actually was curious and went to YELP to read some of the reviews.   I swear I remember reading them and they were pretty much the same thing, rude staff that had more attitude than Katherine Heigle at a “Grey’s Anatomy” reunion.   But guess what?! I went back to re-read these reviews (I wanted to post them here) and now I can’t find them!  Now I don’t want to start any sort of conspiracy here but …. seriously… unless I’m totally losing it they’ve gone MIA.   Anyway, I will ask is the food really that good?    I’m not a masochist anyway and I doubt a serving of moules et frites will change my life.  So, for now I’m happy going to the Sizzler Steakhouse.

My advice – – guys lighten up!  The great thing about Sag Harbor is it’s a friendly town with not a whole lotta attitude.     Yes, you’re the new kid in town and lots of overdressed and socially insecure people are posting  tons of photos on Instagram, blah blah blah.     “Look I got in and you didn’t!!!”   But this stuff wears thin when most of us are busy worrying about more mundane things like our families, health and paying bills.  Believe me the folks who are getting in WILL care when they’re the only people in the place.   Otherwise, they wouldn’t be posting their dinners on line!    “Look I got in… and I’m the only one here – because nobody really wants to be here” doesn’t have quite the same sexy allure.     I’ve seen it before over and over in the Hamptons and it will happen to you too… too much attitude can be the kiss of death.

Meanwhile, I was getting my morning coffee at Goldberg’s in Wainscott – a friendly place but I don’t eat carbs (lying).    When I came across the most interesting and delicious looking brownie.   Now remember, I don’t eat carbs or sweets (lying again) but when I read the story about this amazing bakery I felt the need to eat… I mean contribute.   It’s called South Fork Bakery.   According to their website:

South Fork Bakery’s purpose is to provide meaningful and
supportive employment to South Fork residents
with ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorders, Autism and
Developmental Disabilities. Employees are immersed
in all aspects of the business, including baking, packaging,
sales, marketing, and business management.


What a great idea and the brownies and cookies are great too (or so I heard – as I wipe brownie crumbs from my mouth)!    If you want more information click here!  You can also order products online.   So do something good for others and enjoy.    This stuff is better than moules et frites any day!


After more than 14 years in Sag Harbor I’ve decided to make a change.     I am now so very proud to be a member of Sotheby’s International Realty in East Hampton.    Located at 6 Main St.     Make sure to note it in your yellow pages book extra page, rolodex and filofax.   Now pick up that princess phone and give me a call.   You can google the number.


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!

Ralph plays a new game of Polo… Old Stove gets a few searing reviews… plus snapshots from Parish Spring Fling!

Ralph Hampton! Polo’s new street Position
In spite of the Arctic blasts we are currently experiencing, summer prepping is in the air.    One of the more notable changes happening right now is the overhaul of the old Ralph Lauren Rugby store.  If you thought for a second the King of East Hampton would be relinquishing any of his main street real estate, you would be wrong!    It turns out the site will not become a home furnishing store as long suspected but rather a Polo store.    The designer is keeping his location across the street where he’ll continue to sell his higher end wears such as “Purple Label.”   Look for the new POLO store to open by the end of this week!
So just in case you forgot just HOW many stores Ralph owns in town, let’s count these together; the original store, the children’s store, the vintage store and now the polo store… oh and let’s throw in his daughter Dylan’s Candy shop and according to some rumors he actually owns the historic village hall?!?!?    One man single handily keeping the Hamptons economy strong.  The only problem I have with all of this is that it’s not me.  The least he could do is give the whole town a friends and family discount!
Meanwhile,  I’m always looking for a great new place to chow down on the
East End.   Well, recently I said to some friends, “how about the Old Stove Pub in Wainscott?”   Well, after four personal and blistering critiques, my friend Simon said to check out the Yelp reviews for the restaurant.  Normally I have to go to the police blotter in Dan’s to get such entertainment.   So what is the consensus?  I’m now highlighting some of my favorite comments for you.  Now, mind you I’ve not yet been to the new Old Stove Pub and I’m hoping to try it myself sometime before the summer.   Here’s hoping I have a better experience and they get it together.   Now for those too lazy to read their own reviews of the restaurant, the cliff notes version.
“The good-the host was friendly and the spanakopita was fantastic…. The bad they killed the cow twice!”  Krystyna H
“Just close Old Stove Pub, it would make a cute antique shop.”  Scott S.
“I wish there was a choice of zero stars… the veggie side dishes were covered in parsley, after our dinner mate had clearly told the server that we had a major parsley allergy at the table.   Fun times!”   Lisa H.
“How can you serve a salad that is still frozen the center?  It took 2 hours before our food was served.”  Allan G.
“Just before our food arrived they served us one piece of random something in a dish that looked like a pig ear.”   Hampton E.

Wow, I haven’t seen these kind of reviews since Sylvester Stallone did King Lear on Broadway.  Anyway, there’s still time to fix this before the season starts guys.   I’ll see you soon but remember, I didn’t write these reviews!!Meanwhile, the Parish Art Museum held their sold out annual Spring Fling this Saturday.  So I took my camera and snapped a few of the merry makers at the event!


Debra Halpert, Christine Curiale


Kelly O’Halloran


Tommy Hill and Ruth Katz
Ken Wyse, Mary Slattery, Andy Volet, John Leonard
Jim Saladino and Elaine Hammond


David Gilmartin, Robin Long