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Grab your seat for the Wednesday cookouts at the Pridwin, running through Labor Day weekend. (Photo courtesy of Cape Resorts)

Big news on Shelter Island: the long-standing Wednesday-night cookouts on the front lawn of the Pridwin Hotel are back with an abundance of old and new faves. 

Executive chef Todd Ruiz put together a classic East End summer barbecue menu, but with his own elevated spin that’s at once approachable and irresistible — and abundant. Think starters like Old Bay-sprinkled peel-and-eat shrimp, steamed mussels and clams in white wine with tomatoes and parsley, old-fashioned elbow noodle mac salad with ham and peas, crunchy brussels sprout slaw and, of course, juicy seasonal watermelon with a squeeze of lime and mint.

Executive chef Todd Ruiz and his falling-of-the-bone pork shoulder. (Photo credit: Amy Zavatto)

For the main event, expect Ruiz’s trademark open-fire fare: hot dogs and house-ground beef burgers and black bean veggie burgers, pulled pork with a piquant cider-vinegar, onion and Tabasco barbecue sauce, grilled fresh-caught striped bass Argentine-style with chimichurri sauce, dry-rub blackened chicken, corn on the cob (natch!) and — the star of the show if you ask us — Ruiz’s tender-as-the-night smoked brisket with Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce. (Seriously, it’s worth the ferry ride.)

Another new facet to the edible event: a swathe of pretty tables are set on the front lawn, so you can sit and enjoy the waning evening as you chow-down on a most excellent summer supper. 

For anyone who’s from or spent significant time on SI, you’d know that the Wednesday night cookouts were the place to be — the bonus mid-week, super chill, super delicious in-the-know hang that both locals and visitors alike hit-up. It was a tradition started by the Petry family, islanders for decades, back in the early 1960s as a way to give their hotel guests something fun and outdoorsy to do on a summer night, but that also brought in their loyal local fans, too.

“They are special because they have been a staple at the hotel,” says Gregg Petry, whose father, Pridwin founder Dick Petry, and his original business partner, Paul Mobius, started the barbecues as a way to give the head chef a night off. “If people are coming by boat or car, they all enjoy the casualness of the affair. It’s a time to introduce yourself to others as you roam around the front lawn. Kids have the freedom to run around and make new friends.”

Wednesday night Pridwin cookouts run from 5:00 to 8:45 p.m and, if you’re coming from away, there’s a boat shuttle from Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor (their and the Pridwin’s parent company is Cape Resorts based out of New Jersey, who specialize in family-run boutique hotels on the East Coast), as well as docking for personal boats.

The whole feast is $65 a person — which, if you’ve been to any restaurant on the East End these days, you’ll recognize as a pretty decent bargain (yup, there’s dessert included, too). You need to let ‘em know you’re coming, and you can nab that reservation by clicking here.