Cyril’s Fish House in Montauk — a popular Montauk eatery and bar that has become an unofficial signal to vacationers that they’ve arrived in the hamlet — has announced its closure less than two weeks before the summer season, the owner’s attorney said Monday.
Earlier this month a jury of six East Hampton Town residents found Clan-Fritz Inc., the operators of Cyril’s, guilty of 45 of 47 misdemeanors relating to an illegal expansion.
John Powers, a Deer Park attorney who represents owner Cyril Fitzsimons, said in a telephone interview Monday that his client found the terms of the town’s settlement too extreme.
“It was too significant for us to bear,” he said, referring to his client and Clan-Fritz. “Hesitantly and with a heavy heart, Cyril and the management team decided not to open up this season.”
Landlords Michael Dioguardi, Robert Dioguardi and Debra Lakind avoided a trial by entering into a stipulation of settlement with the town, which imposes “strict limits” on the use of the property, and agreed to a $60,000 fine, according to a news release issued May 9 by East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.
Terms of the settlement require that seating be limited to 26 interior seats and 36 exterior seats, Cantwell said.
In addition, no more than 150 people can be present on the property at one time, and all food and beverage consumption and service had to be in designated areas either within the building or within a limited patio area. Those and other changes were required to be implemented within 30 days.
“We wouldn’t be able to do anything like that in time [for the summer season],” Powers said. Other changes were the removal of an outdoor bar that Cantwell said attracted patrons and resulted in them standing on the shoulder of Montauk Highway.
The restaurant, which opened in the 1980s, has over the years faced many violations. Its website displays the message “Cyril’s Has Closed. Huge Yard Sale May 28th. Everything must go.”
According to Cantwell, Clan-Fritz refused to enter into the settlement and invoked its right to a jury trial, despite the fact that operations at the property were bound by the stipulation of settlement.
“It’s his [Fitzsimons’] choice,” Cantwell said in response to news of the closure. “We never looked for it to close as a business, we only asked the business to comply with the local rules and regulations consistently. Obviously the town and others have had issues with Cyril’s operators for a number of years.”
Powers noted that developments in the most recent case reflect a crackdown officials launched last year to quell disruptive summer visitors.
“What the town is known for and what the town wants” are two different things, he said. “It’s known to be a summer vacation destination, and now they can’t control it and it’s supposed to be the fault of the businesses.”