If you never got out to the Hamptons or the North Fork this summer, or were just too afraid of the crowds to check out any new East End eateries, now’s your chance. Gone are the days when restaurants shuttered their doors for the season on Tumbleweed Tuesday. Many places will remain open to cater to the growing number of fall and winter weekenders and year-round residents. A bonus: The food and service at these places is often better during the off season, after the kitchen has had some time to work out any kinks, and the servers are serving at a less hectic pace. Not all restaurants will remain open seven days a week, so check on days and hours of service before heading out.
Bruce & Son
Bruce & Son (208 Main St., Greenport): Since it opened as Bruce’s Cheese Emporium in 1974, this Main Street fixture has gradually transitioned from a specialty market to the daytime cafe Bruce & Son, whose chef is founder Bruce Bollman’s son, Scott. Last year, Scott and his wife, Kassata, did a gut renovation, jettisoning the last remnants of retail, and have re-established the business as a modern breakfast-brunch-lunch spot that uses as much local produce as possible. Dishes include avocado toast with dill, pecorino and poached eggs; steel-cut oatmeal with fruit and local bee pollen; lemon-ricotta pancakes; pressed sandwiches; short rib banh mi; and shrimp burgers. Soups, salads, sandwiches and egg dishes between $8 and $14. On Saturday nights, Bruce & Son hosts a restaurant pop-up helmed by North Fork chef and snail rancher Taylor Knap. Called PAWPAW, it features food that is “farmed, fished, and foraged on Long Island.” The menu changes weekly. There are two seatings for the $60 prix fixe, at 5:30 and 8:30, and reservations are required. More info: 631-477-0023, bruceandsongreenport.com
Avocado toast on multigrain bread, purslane, pecorino, two poached eggs and salmon served at Bruce & Son in Greenport.
The Halyard (58775 Rte. 48, Greenport): The renovation of the Sound View motel in Greenport encompassed a complete restaurant re-do as well. Dazzling water views on two sides might distract you from the prettiness of the bright white dining room, accented with mid-century modern and nautical furniture and fixtures. Sound View has imported James Beard Award-winning chef Galen Zamarra to design a seafood-heavy menu with a nostalgic nod to the 1950s-era motel’s past. You’ll find deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail and fried clams on the appetizer side, and whole steamed lobster, a bucket of fried chicken and the Halyard burger (double patty, fried onions, Cheddar, bacon) on the mains side. A strong local wine program and specialty cocktails (also served in the retro piano bar adjacent to the restaurant) bring some fun and sophistication. $7 to $23 appetizers, $21-$45 mains. More info: 631-477-0666, thehalyardgreenport.com
The fried chicken bucket at The Haylard in Greenport.
Main Road Biscuit Company
Main Road Biscuit Company (1601 Main Rd., Jamesport): Open since January, this country chic spot has definitely found its groove, serving homey, interesting egg dishes, sandwiches, salads and baked goods all day and at dinner on Fridays. Extra-large, fluffy biscuits are accompanied by house-made honey butter and marmalade. The Main Road Bennie is an elevated eggs Benedict, with two perfectly poached eggs from Goodale Farms in Aquebogue, house-cured salmon, classic hollandaise and that yummy biscuit. When 11:30 a.m. rolls around, breakfast is still available, but lunch is also served. Marissa’s mac-and-cheese comes to the table bubbling hot in a generously sized cast-iron skillet. Topped with, you guessed it, toasted biscuit crumbs, the macaroni is coated in a winning combination of creamy Cheddar and Gruyère. The tender kale Caesar salad has tasty biscuit croutons and a generous shower of Parmesan shavings. Prices range from $9 for a bowl of granola to $24 for chicken under a brick. More info: 631-779-3463, mainroadbiscuitco.com
The Main Road Bennie is eggs Benedict with two poached local Goodale farms eggs, house-cured salmon, and hollandaise over a biscuit, at Main Road Biscuit Company in Jamesport.
Il Giardino (739 Main Rd., Aquebogue): The vintage white farm house, complete with red shutters, a front porch and a white picket fence lets you know you are entering North Fork farm country. Il Giardino has a menu of well-executed Italian classics, including shrimp fra diavolo, chicken alla cacciatore and veal parmigiana. But as its name suggests, its kitchen excels at vegetable dishes, and especially vegetable pastas. Paccheri, akin to oversize rigatoni, are boosted by zucchini, arugula and tangy goat cheese. White beans and escarole give orecchiette a rustic, hearty flavor. Lighter and to the point is the local spinach fettuccine with olive oil and garlic. Bucatini is entangled with stemmy broccoli rabe. Appetizers range from $9 to $18, pastas from $19 to $27, meat and seafood mains from $22 to $48 (for a 2-pound lobster). More info: 631-779-3900, ilgiardinoaquebogue.com
Sicilian orecchiette with white beans and escarole is served at Il Giardino in Aquebogue.
Olive Branch Café
Olive Branch Café (120 Front St., Greenport): This Turkish eatery-market in Greenport has opened in the little U-shaped shopping center across the street from Mitchell Park on Front Street. Michelle and Yusuf Alptekin worked for more than a year to put the venture together, taking over three storefronts: one for the kitchen, one for a takeout market and one for a dining room. The menu is ambitious, too, blending traditional Turkish recipes with European and American influences. There’s hummus, babaganoush and stuffed grape leaves. Quinoa fills in for bulgur in an Anatolian bat soup (think Ottoman gazpacho), and kale stars in one of the tarators, a yogurt-based appetizer. In addition to grilled kebabs are Mediterranean chicken burritos and lamb bourguignonne. Dinner starters are $8 to $13, mains from $24 to $33. Sandwiches and salads range from $12 to $16. More info: 631-333-2444
A combination appetizer platter with a variety of 7 dips, served with sliced beets, grape leaves and smoked salmon at the Olive Branch Café in Greenport.
Springs Tavern (15 Fort Pond Blvd., East Hampton): Formerly the tavern of choice for abstract expressionists and other thirsty locals, this spot has been cleaned up and offers casual American (and international) bar food along with karaoke, sports on TV and the occasional live music act. Chef Michael Ruggiero is an East End veteran, having cooked at Fresno, Nick and Toni’s and Harvest on Fort Pond. Appetizers include nachos, fried calamari and pulled pork sliders. A wedge salad is sprinkled with house-made pancetta, while the spinach salad is topped with a pickled egg. Entrees include pub favorites such as fish and chips and steak frites. Beginning in the fall, Springs Tavern will have live music and karaoke starting at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Another off-season special: Paint and Sip on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. For $25 you get painting supplies, instructions from a painting teacher, one drink, and appetizers. Small plates, soups, and salads from $8 to $15. Burgers, sandwiches and entrees are $11 to $36. Karaoke late night, more live music on Friday nights. More info: 631-527-7800, thespringstavern.com
Fish and chips with smoky tartar sauce at Springs Tavern in East Hampton.
Cove Hollow Tavern
Cove Hollow Tavern (85 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton): Fans of the mushroom Bolognese at Shelter Island’s Vine Street Café no longer have to take a ferry to enjoy that dish. Owners Lisa and Terry Harwood opened this new restaurant in the old Café Max location in June, with a few holdovers from Vine Street’s menu. The stylish barn-like restaurant overlooks a horse farm and is at the corner of Cove Hollow Road, which leads straight to the beach. Says Terry Harwood, “We consider ourselves a ‘surf and earth’ restaurant.” On the surf side are lobster sliders, grilled halibut and seared diver scallops. On the turf side are a harissa lamb burger, East Tennessee-style baby back ribs, and hanger and strip steaks. Eight beers on tap contribute to the lively bar scene. Appetizers range from $12-$23. Mains, $22-$45. More info: 631-527-7131, covehollowtavern.com
Local peach gazpacho, served at Cove Hollow Tavern in East Hampton.
Lulu Kitchen & Bar
Lulu Kitchen & Bar (126 Main St., Sag Harbor): This glamorously renovated Main Street restaurant with its comfortable banquettes and open kitchen has quickly become a popular gathering place. The kitchen’s roaring wood-fired grill often perfumes the air around town. Lulu’s bistro-casual menu focuses on local seafood and vegetables. Creamy Montauk pearl oysters come with a pitch-perfect mignonette. A spectacular whole grilled cauliflower has become a signature item. Other grilled items, including octopus and whole grilled branzino, also shine. Even the mac-and-cheese is wood-fired, with smoked Gouda. Surf and turf here means grilled lobster alongside baby-back ribs. There are plans for an off-season prix fixe, happy hour, and bar menu specials. Soups and salads will set you back about $12 to $28. Pizzas are $18 to $23. Entrees, $23-$48. More info: 631-725-0900, lulusagharbor.com
The grilled heirloom cauliflower with spicy Long Island grapes, toasted sesame, tahini, white balsamic vinaigrette, and mint oil is a signature offering at Lulu Kitchen & Bar in Sag Harbor.
Bistro Été (755 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill): Bistro Été has gone from pop-up to permanent, settling down in the Mill Center on Montauk Highway in Water Mill and planning on a year-round presence. Chef Arie Pavlou describes his menu as coastal French, with forays into Greece and Sicily. Classic escargot and foie gras are served alongside eggplant with saffron and pomegranate seeds. Lamb shank confit and braised short ribs will please meat eaters. But the menu is also vegetarian friendly, with mains that include vegetable risotto served in an acorn squash. Pavlou is also in charge of the cocktail menu, utilizing flavorful ingredients to create drinks such as his truffle martini. Appetizers here are priced between $10 and $26. Main dishes range from $28 to $48. For the off-season there will be a $30 prix fixe with no time restriction every night, on Friday and Saturday served at the bar only. Happy hour is from 5-7 p.m., with drink specials and tapas. More info: 631-500-9085, bistroete.com
House-made Pellegrino pappardelle at Bistro Été in Water Mill.
Elaia Estiatorio (95 School St., Bridgehampton): This airy, light-filled place will continue to serve rustic Greek classics throughout the year. The food is very simple and beautifully prepared. Lemon, sea salt, olives, feta and oregano predominate. Traditional spreads such as tzatziki, taramosalata and skordalia have distinct and delicious personalities. Calamari coated in semolina flour is crisp and greaseless and served with a cinnamon-scented tomato sauce. Slow-cooked leg of lamb and a grilled whole fish of the day satisfy larger appetites. A nice selection of Greek wines complements the food. Owner Sofia Crokos promises new seasonal items and winter specials as the weather changes. Appetizers, salads and spreads from $12 to $27. Main dishes from $26 to $55 (for a 20-ounce grilled rib eye). More info: 631-613-6469, elaiaestiatorio.com
Feta saganaki, sesame enctusted pan-fried feta with tomato marmalade, at Elaia Estiatorio in Bridgehampton.