East End Mangia Mania: New Restaurants Arrive in EH 

It’s May the 4th but I’m not thinking about Star Wars.  (MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!) NO!   My eyes and stomach are focused on Cinco de Mayo.   Why?   Because Mexican food is my desert island pick and there’s some muy bueno news for me to taco-bout.    So, let’s say goodbye to chili weather and warm up with the thought that some new places to eat, drink and be merry will soon be coming to the east end.  

Two appetizing moves worth mentioning are —Sotto Sopra in Amagansett is becoming il Buco al Mare, while Rita Cantina is setting up shop in the former home of Bel Mar Ristorante and, more famously before that, Michael’s, the vaunted Springs restaurant that called it quits in 2019. 

Rita Cantina 

Mexican Makeover at Michael’s

Created as a modern and coastal Mexican concept by brothers and business partners Marc Miller and chef Eric Miller, and located at 28 Maidstone Park Road in Springs, Rita Cantina will celebrate Mexican food using locally sourced fare, including all the ingredients that “swim, graze and grow” in Gardiners Bay and the surrounding area. Like any great Mexican establishment, they’ll also offer an extensive, tequila-focused bar program. Unfortunately, we won’t get to sample those tequila specialties for Cinco de Mayo on Wednesday, but they’re perfecting the space and aiming to open by Memorial Day, so there’s plenty of time to plan a visit. 

The Millers have close to four decades of experience working in fine dining. Eric helped pioneer dock-to-dish and farm-to-table dining in the Hamptons, while Marc, who is handling front-of-house operations, owned and operated East Hampton’s Bay Kitchen Bar from 2014–2018. Keeping things in the family, Eric’s son and business partner Adam Miller lays claim to what promises to be an inventive bar program. 

iBuco al Mare 

I don’t have a ton of info on this one, but I recently learned that after 12 years at 231 Main Street in Amagansett, chef Josh Savi’s Tuscan spot, Sotto Sopra has closed. In its place comes il Buco al Mare, a local extension of the il Buco Family, including the original il Buco, Donna Lennard and Alberto Avalle’s beloved Mediterranean restaurant and rustic antique shop—well known in NYC for its quality and atmosphere on the still-cobblestone Bond Street in NoHo—and il Buco Alimentari & Vineria on Great Jones. 

So long Sotta… Bienviendo Buco… Il Buco!

For those who will miss the Italian fare at Sotto Sopra, don’t fret: il Buco is “part Italian, part Spanish, part invention” and dedicated to sourcing excellent prime ingredients locally and in Avalle’s native Italy, where he now resides full-time. According to an online posting seeking staff for the new Hamptons operation, “il Buco al Mare will share in the convivial spirit, exquisitely sourced ingredients, and immaculate wine lists that guests have come to expect in Manhattan and combine it with sea-side appeal and relaxed vibes of the Hamptons.” 

Who’s excited to do some eating this summer? 


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