Rich Silver has been in the financial world his entire life, and the only time he has stepped into a restaurant was to eat.
David Loewenberg has barely ever been out of a restaurant.
But the two have one thing in common: Both will be running new restaurants in the Hamptons this summer.
And they will hardly be alone.
Some 20 new eateries will be opening on the East End as the economy improves.
Silver, the Wall Streeter, opened Andrra, a high-end seafood and chops place in East Hampton, a few weeks ago. After working for various banks and financial companies in Manhattan, Silver started a hedge fund a decade ago. So why open a restaurant?
"I ask myself that every night," Silver said with a laugh. A few years ago he moved out to the Hamptons and built a house. He became good friends with builder Noti Krasniqi. Krasniqi's brother, Sami Krasniqi, was a chef at the famous Maidstone Arms Inn in East Hampton. They all became friends. A restaurant sounded like a good idea, Silver said. The brothers are Albanian. Andrra means "the dream" in their language, Silver said.
Loewenberg began washing dishes and waiting tables at age 16 in Manhattan. He is now owner or part-owner of five restaurants, including The Bell & Anchor, a seafood house in Sag Harbor that opened Thursday night. Among his others are the Beacon, also in Sag Harbor.
Did he need another? "You have to keep things exciting," Loewenberg said. "I'm a caregiver. I like hosting." Some of his eateries are seasonal, Loewenberg said. He wants to keep The Bell & Anchor open year-round.
People have been traveling out East more in the past year or so but are looking to spend less, said R. Moke McGowan, president of the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. Big spenders are always on the prowl for new places, McGowan said, but in tougher times they have become "fickle."
"Newness is always good, but how can you maintain that newness? That's the question."
For a preview of the 20 new restaurants opening on the East End this season, see Thursday's Food section.