Until last August, builder Thomas Wheeler, former deli-owner Robert Zlobec and social worker Reggie Whitmire were just a group of hardworking guys who liked to hang out until the idea to fill a niche in Sag Harbor food culture entered their minds.
Last week, the trio re-opened Sag Harbor’s new prime meat and seafood shop, the newly re-named East End Prime, at 51 Division Street. Originally East End Prime Quality Meats, which opened in October in a smaller location behind their current Division Street address, Wheeler said the partners hope the store will fulfill the need for a year-round business devoted wholly to providing village residents with prime meats and quality seafood.
“The simple fact is the idea came out of what the price of things are out here,” said Wheeler on Tuesday. “We figured if we can offer the same high quality product at a lower price, we would be looking at a good business opportunity.”
East End Prime joins a growing number of food-based businesses on Division Street. This year, Michael and Tracey Cavaniola opened Cavinolia’s Gourmet Kitchen, a gourmet prepared foods shop, next to their immensely popular Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop and wine store Cavaniola’s Cellar. Featuring a rotating chalkboard list of lunch and dinner items including crabcakes, brisket, fresh fish, macaroni and cheese, a variety salads, paninis and prepared to-go foods like salad nicoise and duck confit, Cavaniola’s Gourmet Kitchen made its Sag Harbor debut this summer and is still going strong.
Also new to the Division Street, food landscape is the year-round location of Giuliana Torre’s juice bar, organic food store and general health and wellness retreat, The Juicy Naam, which has developed a devout following over the years while at their 27 Race Lane, East Hampton location during the spring and summer.
The Juicy Naam is located directly behind East End Prime at 51 Division Street and will be open Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wheeler said the opening of both the original and now the new East End Prime location has been a learning experience, but one the builder is anxious to delve into as he now finds himself in the midst of a culinary education. In addition to offering prime meats – the highest quality meats, with abundant marbling or fat content and usually reserved for sale at restaurants and hotels – Wheeler said the store will also offer any organic, grass-fed products to order. An abundance of seafood is also for sale, including sushi grade tuna, swordfish, flounder, wild and farmed salmon, little neck and cherry stone clams, shrimp, mussels, oysters and of course, lobster. As with their meat department, Wheeler said any product not on the store shelves is literally a days order away, as the business intends to receive deliveries from their purveyors daily.
“Duck, pheasant, elk, buffalo, bison, venison – we can get everything,” said Wheeler.
The store will also offer its own homemade marinades and rubs, as well as other food products. Wheeler said he would love to work with other local businesses to showcase other food vendors in Sag Harbor.
Wheeler said it is his hope to have the store’s website, eastendprime.com, up in running in the next few weeks. In addition to offering information on what is available at the store, Wheeler said the website will also offer patrons the ability to place orders online.
“The customers’ will dictate the pace of our store,” said Wheeler. “Bottom line, we are here for them.”
East End Prime is located at 51 Division Street in Sag Harbor and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 725-6328.