Tag Archive | "Muse in the Harbor"

Having a Ball at HarborFrost

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Matt Giuffirida and a frosty ice blue rum punch made specially for HarborFrost and the first Frost Ball, to be held at Muse next Friday, February 8.

Matt Giuffirida and a frosty ice blue rum punch made specially for HarborFrost and the first Frost Ball, to be held at Muse next Friday, February 8.

By Emily J. Weitz


When Muse in the Harbor hosted a party in the heart of HarborFrost weekend last year, it was its introduction to Sag Harbor. Chef and owner Matt Giuffrida may have enjoyed several years in Muse’s original Water Mill home, but he always dreamed of opening a restaurant in his favorite East End village – Sag Harbor. A year ago, it finally happened. Perhaps that’s why Giuffrida, now an active member of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce, wanted to be the one to host the inaugural First Frost Ball this year.

The weekend will be filled with wintry festivities, but the party will all kick off around the giant fish tank in the main dining room, with frosty ice blue rum punch cocktails served in goblet-style glasses. Passed hors d’ oeuvres will include tuna lollipops with a wasabi candy on top, vegetable spring rolls, pulled pork in a blanket (Giuffrida’s take on the classic mini hot dog appetizer), and mini sliders. For a restaurant that specializes in creative ways to taste a wider variety from the menu (read: Tuna Ménage a Tois and the Three Little Pigs), passed appetizers are a cinch.

This time of year, the local sourcing that Muse strives for gets a little trickier.

“We got the very last bag of local potatoes from Jimmy Comfort over in Water Mill,” says Giuffrida. “We got produce from him ‘til he ran out. When the bay scallops were in, we were pulling all we could.”

But in the darkest days of winter, only a few local resources remain.

“Our blowfish on the menu is local,” says Giuffrida. “I bought 200 pounds of local blowfish, and we portioned and cryovacc’ed it, so we will have them for the rest of the winter season.”

But primarily, the focus of the restaurant shifts to what people really need in the depths of an East End winter — food that is a little familiar.

“People gravitate towards comfort food in the winter,” says Giuffrida. “You want to walk in to a nice, cozy restaurant and have something that’s gonna warm you up. Our two best sellers right now are the turkey meat loaf, which has craisins and roasted carrots in it, and the braised short ribs.”

They haven’t completed the menu for the Harborfrost Ball and the weekend to follow, but Muse will be open for brunch, lunch, and dinner and will have specials in honor of the festivities.

“HarborFrost was our first day last year,” says Giuffrida, a little bit wistfully. “We didn’t know what to expect, and that kind of set the tone. People were really excited to have us here even though the history of this building was hit or miss. We were received with open arms and it was a good feeling. I guess this is our anniversary.”

The First Frost Ball will kick off Friday evening at 6 p.m. with revelers expected to celebrate until about 10 p.m. Included in the cost of the ticket are an open bar with “local legend Jimmy Mac” serving specialty cocktails, as well as unlimited passed hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, a raffle, and live music.

Tickets are $65 for members of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and $75 for non-members. They can be ordered by visiting http://frostball2013-es2003.eventbrite.com.

The event will support the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce, which joins The Sag Harbor Express in hosting this year’s HarborFrost celebration. The Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce also hosts mixers, dinners, and, of course, the annual Sag HarborFest weekend in September.

HarborFrost is a celebration of Sag Harbor in the bleakest month of February, and Giuffrida wanted to be a part of it.

“We’re staying busy throughout the winter because of the locals,” he says. “Sag Harbor is a tight knit community. What happens in Sag Harbor stays in Sag Harbor. Everybody supports the local businesses and it’s important for us to do the same. On my day off we eat at Il Cappuccino and Sen. Everybody stays open because of it. That local support is a big part of our success.”




New Businesses Burst Forth

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web_New Businesses Open 5-22-12_2565

By Emily J Weitz

In a seasonal town where the rent is ever rocketing skyward, the faces of Who’s Who on Main Street are always changing. This year, we’ve lost some old faithfuls, from Java Nation to Marty’s Barber Shop to the Sag Harbor Cleaners and Vincenzo’s Pizza, but new businesses have already set up shop, looking to create a name of their own on Main Street.

In the big yellow building at the foot of town, where many restaurants have come and gone, Matt Giuffrida has brought his Muse. After his success in Water Mill for the past five years, Giuffrida is planning on becoming a mainstay in Sag Harbor.

“I have an eleven year lease,” says Guiffrida. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Giuffrida installed a giant fish tank in the middle of the restaurant, around which creative dishes and elaborate cocktails are served. Even though he loved his place in Muse, he always wanted to be in Sag Harbor.

“It’s a tight knit community,” says Giuffrida. “And the vibe is different than anywhere else. It’s more relaxed, and everyone seems to be in a better mood.”

For other changes in the culinary landscape, Pepalajefa will step into the space that was once the cleaners. Selling gourmet food and European take-out, this spot will provide many meals to be eaten on the picnic tables at the end of the street.

When the ice cream shop on Main Street closed its doors, it looked like Big Olaf would gain a monopoly on the town’s sweet tooth clientele.  But Yummylicious, a frozen yogurt shop around the bend from Superica, will offer a spectrum of healthier choices.

Marie Eiffel, who started her women’s boutique on Shelter Island a few years back, expanded to open a store in Sag Harbor last year. But because of her rapid success, she spent the winter moving to the Cove, right in the belly of town.

“I am growing tremendously,” she says. “I am growing really fast. I think it’s because of how people feel in the store, and because of word of mouth.”

With her flowing, lightweight dresses and chunky, funky jewelry, Marie Eiffel has become a staple of fashion on The Rock, and is looking to see what she can do here in the Harbor.

Speaking of the Cove, Matta took their presence right into the spotlight, moving storefronts to Main Street. Their recognizable glittery wallpaper and breezy scarves are still the same, though.

This made room for Duck and Weave, a new store owned by Robin Saidman. He specializes in meticulously tailored shirts, made in the garment district in Manhattan from fabrics imported from Japan. He calls his shirts “excruciatingly pleasant to wear.” In his shop, Saidman will host not only a full line of these shirts, but also a visiting shop unto itself. Pachute, a women’s boutique in the city, will be moving in with Saidman to round out the offerings at this little shop in the Cove.

“Basically, I’ll be selling everything except for shirts,” says Sharone Komoroff, Pachute owner. “Women’s dresses, jeans, accessories.”

Across the way from Duck and Weave, construction has been heavily underway. In the old Java Nation location, SagTown will open as a way to satisfy the caffeine fixes of anyone who wanders up that way.

Out of the Cove and down on Bay Street, the Sag Harbor Florist got a new roommate this winter: made, owned by Eleni Prieston, offers artfully constructed crafts and jewelry. Prieston is a jewelry maker herself, so in addition to showcasing her own wares she hopes to offer a haven for makers of all kinds.

“I encourage people to shop with intention,” she says. “It’s recognizing the elements and qualities that make everyday objects meaningful pieces of art.”

Towards the top of town, a little interior design hub is solidifying. With two new high end shops, clients have access to the most decadent furniture and fabrics from all over the world.

JanGeorge offers full design services, exclusive window treatments and lighting, custom made shutters, books, and antiques.

“We combine Italian design with French antiques,” says Netherlands-born co-owner Jan Oostdyk. He and his partner George Rutgers already have a successful shop in Key West.

“We’re excited to be in Sag Harbor,” says Oostdyk. “It has a similar feel. It’s laid back, the people are friendly.”

Across the street, in an immaculately renovated building, Natasha Esch and Matt Coffin have opened Monc XIII. With antique and vintage furniture and accents for the home, Esch describes it as “a store for all things home”.

“We have vintage and antique furniture from the 18th century to mid century,” Esch says, “mixed with a tightly curated selection of accessories and table tops sourced from all over the world.”

With each item in the store hand-picked, there are too many special pieces to mention; but particularly noteworthy are the pair of English oak benches from the 1930s, a chartreuse mid-century leather Chersterfield sofa, Deborah Ehrlich glassware, Frederic Malle candles and perfume guns, and work by French ceramist Gilles Caffier. A line of Coleman coolers and thermoses hand-wrapped and stitched in leather from the company Sol y Luna round out the collection.

While a couple of old businesses have closed, new ones have picked up right where they left off. The Marty’s Barber Shop sign and the barber pole remain, but Marty’s on Main Street closed its doors this year. Two new salons open in town this year to fill Marty’s shoes. One, Salon 66, will be in the same location, with a new swanky mannequin in the window. The other new salon, Scarlet Rose, is opening on Division Street next to Murph’s.

After the Sag Harbor Bike Shop disappeared, the town was in need of all things cycle, and Sag Harbor Cycle has stepped up to the plate, occupying space at 34 Bay Street.

Finally, a new art gallery has opened on Main Street — though owner Robert Hooke is not new to town. He moved from above the Grenning Gallery on Washington Street, but now has opened a space at 150 Main Street. Hooke is a sculptor himself, and while he plans on showcasing his own work, he will also show other artists.

“The gallery is sculpture only,” he says, “which is unusual. And the focus will be contemporary figurative, although I intend to show a few abstract pieces… Collectors will have the opportunity to view the human and animal form with various interpretations and in different mediums.”

From art to exercise to beauty to food, another season brings with it a wealth of new businesses, changing the face of Main Street.