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Lobster Grille Inn in Hampton Bays won’t reopen; 78 Foster Restaurant & Bar opens instead

The lobster mac and cheese at 78 Foster

The lobster mac and cheese at 78 Foster Restaurant & Bar in Hampton Bays. Credit: 78 Foster

The longtime home to Back Bar Grille in Hampton Bays recently reopened as 78 Foster Restaurant & Bar, taking the name of the restaurant’s address and bringing an end to the game of musical chairs that started with the closing of the nearby historic Lobster Grille Inn.

After Lobster Grille closed late last year, owner Tim Burke told Newsday in January that he and chef Randy Weiss would be moving the concept to the Back Bar Grille, which he also owned, along the Shinnecock Bay marina.

That deal fell through, Burke said, and Back Bar Grille and the attached Tully’s Seafood market were instead sold to Helene Donnelly, a longtime waitress, who is opening her first restaurant.

The deal means an end to Lobster Grille, the iconic seafood shack that closed to make room for condominiums and a clubhouse, complete with a tennis court. The restaurant, which was built in the 1969 and was bought by Burke in 2012, long served as the first opportunity to satiate that lobster craving when arriving in the Hamptons.

Donnelly has revamped Back Bar, brightening up the space with more lights, and bringing more color to the once black walls to give it more of a summer beachside restaurant feel, said spokeswoman Morgan Dillon. The staff includes a group of waitresses who have dubbed themselves the Magnificent Seven and the Back Bar Babes.

The kitchen is now being helmed by Brian Marbach, who has worked at the Westhampton Country Club and The Inn at Quogue, and Celestino Moranchel Rojas, who worked at Bobby Vans in Bridgehampton and 75 Main in Southampton. The two have kept the pricey seafood-centric menu largely the same, including lobster rolls that come either hot or cold (both $26), and entrees like sesame crusted ahi tuna ($26), crab-crusted sea scallops ($28) and horseradish-crusted salmon ($26).

The attached Tully’s will keep its name and continue to sell seafood to go, as well as to-go fare for those walking to the nearby beach.

78 Foster Restaurant & Bar, 78 Foster Ave., Hampton Bays; 631-594-3967,


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