Lunch in Montauk these days can be anything you want it to be: A vegan wrap in a funky surf shack, tacos and margaritas overlooking the water, a beautiful burger in a rustic but elegant room at a storied spa hotel.
To get an idea of the variety of lunch options that now dot the tip of Long Island, check out the following:
Duryea's Lobster Deck
Duryea's Lobster Deck (65 Tuthill Road): Purchased a couple of years ago by an investor with deep pockets, this old lobster shack (with an adjacent fish market) has been sleekly renovated and given a menu update. Grab a teakwood table overlooking a rocky expanse of Fort Pond Bay. Nautical touches include fishnet and sailcloth canopies to shade you from the midday sun. Orders are still taken by the cashier, but to class things up, the restaurant now serves Champagne and French rosé by the glass or bottle. Most menu items, including a giant lobster Cobb salad, snow crab claw cocktail, and grilled or steamed lobster, clam bake and grilled skirt steak are meant for two to three diners and are served family-style. More info: 631-668-2410, duryealobsters.com
Tillie's (290 Old Montauk Hwy.): Gurney’s Inn has been renovated to the hilt, and that includes its all-day lunch spot, a white-tiled American bistro called Tillie’s. Slide into a stylish wooden banquette with an ocean view and enjoy a large selection of small plates, salads, sandwiches and entrees. Comfort food arrives at the table in many forms: Appetizers include avocado toast and fried calamari. There is a Dagwood turkey club, fish and chips, and a burger with barbecue sauce, bacon, cheddar, onion rings and pickles. If you need even more comfort, order side of French fries or mac and cheese. Lunch served from noon to 3, seven days. More info: 631-668-1729, tilliesrestaurant.com
MTK Lobster House
MTK Lobster House (716 Montauk Hwy., second floor, above Plaza Surf and Sports): Montauk, always synonymous with lobster, is to have a new fast-casual restaurant where you can dine on the big catch and more. Owner Diego Flores formerly was manager of Shagwong Tavern, a longtime landmark in downtown Montauk. Flores said t diners can count on dishes such as a lobster roll, fish and chips, chowders, lobster bisque, crabcakes and a clambake with moderate prices.
Bird on the Roof
Bird on the Roof (47 South Elmwood Ave.): This old-school Montauk eatery is easy to find — look for the A-frame building with the white silhouette of a seagull on the black shingled roof. Bird on the Roof is famous for its brunch dishes — frittatas, pancakes, stuffed French toast, with many specials to satisfy the crowds until its 2 p.m. closing time. The salmon club sandwich on pumpernickel, waffles Benedict, and huevos rancheros with eggs, black beans, cheese and salsa will fill you up for an afternoon of surfing. Generous portions at reasonable prices attract summer crowds. If there’s a line, browse the attached boutique for bohemian threads popular in this beach town these days. More info: 631-668-5833
The Saltbox (99 Edgemere St.): This creative gastropub has been going strong in Montauk since 2015, serving up fusion versions of bar classics, like spicy and sweet chili chicken wings, onion rings with cilantro aioli and a crispy chicken sandwich with kimchee slaw, to a crowd of happy locals and visitors. Summery cocktails like a mango coconut martini and the Lazy Point iced tea (vodka, Aperol, sweet tea and lemon juice) pair well with the festively garnished food. The dining room, with its wainscoted walls, vintage surf prints and fishtail flatware, is a cheerful place. Lunch from noon every day, open at 10 for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. More info: 631-238-5727, montauksaltbox.com
Joni's Kitchen (28 South Etna Ave.): Eat in at this bustling health food restaurant, or take your lunch to the beach, which is just a block and a half away. Turquoise walls, hibiscus decals on the window, and vintage surfboards give the place a cheerful Hawaiian vibe. Wholesome, mostly organic wraps and salads include the Thai Me Up (gingered tofu or chicken, carrots, mushrooms, sprouts, spinach, and spicy peanut sauce in a rice paper wrap), the Curry Up! (curried chicken with pineapple, mango chutney, and greens wrapped in a curry tortilla) and the Zen Rabbit (greens, tomato, avocado, red onion, olives, and goat cheese with optional grilled chicken or fish). If the large menu of fresh fruit smoothies is too complicated, there are fresh-squeezed apple, carrot, orange and watermelon juices, as well as fresh young coconuts with straws for sipping. More info: 631-668-3663, jonismontauk.com
The Hideaway (364 W. Lake Dr.): Use your GPS to find this family-run place, which is indeed hidden away on Diamond Cove Marina and overlooking Lake Montauk. Counter service, picnic tables on the deck, and paper plates contribute to a casual atmosphere. Owner Frieda Reichert hails from Chiapas, and the menu focuses on authentic Mexican dishes like pozole rojo, cactus salad, and a variety of tacos. Her husband Skip is a barbecue pitmaster and contributes St. Louis-style ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket. House-infused tequilas are put to use in a menu of margaritas including habanero-peach and peppercorn-passion fruit. A “flight of hot shots” (one each of jalapeño, habanero and chile de arbol tequilas) is tempting but perhaps better suited to the late-night crowd. More info: 631-668-6592, thehideawaymontauk.com