Sign up for our Newsletter

Welcome to July with Southforker. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

There’s no messing around now; it’s July, people. We are in high summer! The tomatoes are popping, the berries are bursting, the barbecues are firing, the taps are flowing, the shakers are shaking. It’s all happening, right here, right now. And it’s making us hungry. And thirsty. 

There’s so much deliciousness everywhere on the South Fork, it’s almost hard to get your arms around it all (or, perhaps, make room for it in your stomach). It’s bounty time, and we’ve got a mighty, meaty issue of Southforker for you to dive into.

Tomato king (and pizza pro of Brooklyn’s Fornino) chef Michael Ayoub. (Phot credit: Doug Young)

My staff reporter Emily Toy has taken to ribbing me about my love of tomatoes. I mean,
I agree; I’m a little cuckoo about the summer fruit. Tomato sandwiches, tomato pie, tomato salad, tomato jam, canning tomatoes all day, every day, until the final fruit is plucked from the vines. For most of my life, my dad had the most prolific, lovely vegetable garden, and he’d load me up with its  bounty. But when I saw Michael Ayoub’s tomato jungle in Southampton, I knew I’d seen tomato mecca. The New York pizza chef and owner of Brooklyn’s Fornino restaurants started coming out to the Hamptons as a kid, and since he bought his own home here years ago, has created such a deeply thoughtful (one might even say obsessive) tomato garden. Chock full of dozens of varieties and hundreds and hundreds of pounds of ripened fruit each season, it really seemed deserving of its own story (p. 36).

While our heads were spinning from all the new restaurant openings and old restaurant revamps this season, giving a nod to the mainstays is something we really like doing in these pages. When we learned it was Sen’s 30th anniversary, we were kind of gobsmacked. How has this Sag Harbor institution of sushi and sake been around for over for three decades already? The fact that it still feels fresh is a testament to the restaurant’s attention to detail and quality. Toy sat down with brother owners Tora and Jesse Matsuoka and learned how their dad and Sen co-founder, Kazutomo, taught them the Japanese tradition of respecting each and every job at every level, and how hospitality is not something you can ever take for granted or ease up on. It’s where they find their drive, inspiration and, we’re pretty certain, the thing that will keep Sen going for another few decades, too. 

Brothers Jesse and Tora Matsuoka and the next gen of Sen. (Photo credit: David Benthal)

Another highlight of summer on the South Fork: getting out on the water. And if you happen to have a boat (or, better yet, a friend with one), then you know the best part is it gives you traffic-free access not just to the Hamptons, but Shelter Island and the North Fork, too. Check out our ultimate dock and dine recs (and rules for tying up!) on p. 25. And if summer to you is all about those seaside vibes, our story on Westhampton Beach Brewery (p. 64), where every day’s a beach day (or the delicious cocktail recipe from Montauk’s Scarpetta at Gurneys on p. 118), will whet your whistle for good times with good sips. Also on p. 80, you’ll appreciate those sips even more when you read contributor Charity Robey’s take on life on the East End during Prohibition and the rumrunners who secreted spirits ashore. 

Southforker editor-in-chief Amy Zavatto. (Photo credit: Doug Young)

We somehow managed to get the coveted window booth at Sam’s in East Hampton (pro tip: arrive very early!) for some pie-and-pasta feasting and have some faves for you to check out on p. 22. You’ll also find that we rounded up local chef-made hot sauces that’ll have you tossing that Tabasco to the side, nabbed Marvelous Mary Schoenlein’s classic blueberry muffin recipe and even got to chat with one of our favorite winemakers, Christopher Tracy of Channing Daughters, about what he loves to do, eat, drink and experience on the South Fork.

There’s a lot that the Hamptons brings to the table. And like you, we’re hungry for all of it. I hope you have fun filling your cup and your belly with everything we packed into this, our first Food & Drink issue. To your health, friends! See you at the dinner table …

Amy Zavatto

Editor-in-Chief, Southforker