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Page at 63 Main Wins Reprieve Against Sag Harbor Village

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Page re open for web

The tables and diners were back in front of Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor on Thursday evening.

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

Less than two weeks after the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees revoked the license of Page at 63 Main to have outdoor dining on Main Street, the restaurant has won a reprieve.

On Thursday, the restaurant obtained an injunction in New York State Supreme Court, restraining the village from enforcing its ruling, which was made at a July 18 meeting.

By Thursday evening’s dinner hour, the tables—and diners—had returned to the sidewalk.

Tom Horn, a Sag Harbor attorney who represented the restaurant before Justice Denise Malia in Riverhead, in a press release said he believed the court would be inclined to allow the restaurant to keep it seating through the summer season, reducing the financial impact of the village’s ruling.

“It was a good day for fairness today,” Mr. Horn said. “What the village was doing was hurting Page and for no reason other than to try and show that [the village] had the ability to hurt them. To be granted a judgment like this you have to have an extraordinary case. And we did. We had the facts, truth and law on our side and the court awarded what was fair.”

“We are delighted that we will be able to restore our seating and rehire the individuals who unfortunately had to be laid off as a result of this irresponsible revocation of our license. By ruling in our favor it is apparent that the court feels the village has overstepped its bounds” said Joe Traina, one of the restaurant’s owners in a press release.

The village revoked the license after charging that the restaurant had failed to get a building permit for a renovation project, overstepped the planning board’s approvals for that project, and had fire code violations in a wooden Dumpster enclosure.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride declined to comment on the ruling, referring calls to village attorney Denise Schoen, who prosecuted the case for the village.

On Friday afternoon, Ms. Schoen disagreed with Mr. Horn’s take on the way the court was leaning. The judge “was fine with letting them stay open on a temporary basis while we try to work things out,” Ms. Schoen said.

But the village attorney said it would be difficult for the court to ignore the wording of the dining license, which, she said, allows the village to revoke it for “any or no reason at all.”

The parties will return to court on August 12.

 

Village Revokes Page Outdoor Dining License

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Staff members clear tables and chairs from in front of Page at 63 Main after the Sag Harbor Village Board revoked the restaurant's outdoor dining license on Friday. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Staff members clear tables and chairs from in front of Page at 63 Main after the Sag Harbor Village Board revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license on Friday. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

After a month of behind-the-scenes wrangling over unapproved renovations made at Page at 63 Main, the Sag Harbor Village Board pounced on Friday, July 18, revoking the restaurant’s license for outdoor dining on Main Street.

The village took the action even after one of the restaurant’s attorneys, Dennis Downes said losing the option to offer outdoor dining would cost the restaurant between $7,500 and $10,000 a day and even jeopardize its ability to stay in business.

In an 11th hour bid to appease the village, Mr. Downes said Page’s owners had offered to immediately shut down their Back Page café, behind the main restaurant, until zoning and fire code violations there were rectified and a site-plan issued for the property.

Mr. Downes conceded that mistakes had been made, but said the restaurant had been held up during the planning process and had to do the work before approvals were in hand to be ready for the summer season.

“Without those seats, there is a lot of money being lost,” he said of the outdoor dining. “It could be the difference between being able to stay alive in the winter where there are less people out here.”

But the board would not be swayed. “We’re here talking because when there was a suspension… the right thing would have been to remove the tables and chairs and let’s get to the bottom of this,” Mayor Brian Gilbride said.

He referred to an action taken by building inspector Tim Platt, who had cited the business for doing the renovation work with neither a site plan approval nor a building permit and had ordered it to suspend its outdoor dining service until the charges were sorted out. Instead, he said, the restaurant’s owners “thumbed their nose” at the village.

The board’s action clearly got the restaurant owners’ attention. A few minutes after it revoked the license, and Page’s owners and managers left the Municipal Building grumbling among themselves, waiters and busboys were scurrying about, clearing the tables and chairs from in front of the restaurant before the evening’s dinner rush.

On Tuesday, Mr. Downes, and Tom Horn, another attorney for the restaurant, were in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court for an initial appearance on the restaurant’s behalf. Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni said she would have to recuse herself from hearing the case because of a relationship with one of the restaurant’s owners and adjourned the case until August.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Mr. Horn, who said he had only had time to quickly review the charges against the restaurant, nonetheless expressed confidence it would prevail in court. “I think the charges are technically flawed and actually flawed,” Mr. Horn said, “and I say that based on my 11 years’ experience as a fire marshal.” Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Horn was a fire marshal for East Hampton Town.

The restaurant’s saga took another turn on Tuesday night when Mr. Downes, and Gerard Wawryk, one of its owners, appeared before the Planning Board, trying to straighten out the confusion over the restaurant’s renovation project, which was undertaken this spring.

The key issues revolved around changes to the proposed site plan for the dining area now known as the Back Page Café. At a June 26 village board meeting, then-planning board chairman Neil Slevin said the restaurant had done work that planners had not intended.

That included moving without permission the location of an enclosure that would allow it to keep its dumpsters refrigerated as well as the replacement of a grass waiting area with a bluestone patio.

One of the village’s attorneys, Denise Schoen, said that the wooden Dumpster building, which had been placed next to a fence beside Murph’s Backstreet Tavern and connected to the electric service, posed a fire hazard, a charge the restaurant’s owners denied.

Ms. Schoen added that the Back Page had originally been presented as a waiting area, where restaurant patrons could enjoy a drink or hors d’oeuvres while waiting for a table inside, but had, in fact, been turned into an outdoor expansion of the restaurant.

Mr. Downes has said the planning board approved the changes when it accepted a new survey of the site last winter, but board members said it was an oversight.

Despite the disagreement, planning board members were amenable to tweaking the site plan for the Back Page and said they would okay the bluestone patio even though it would exceed the allowable lot coverage because it was served by sufficient drainage.

But planners said they would not allow the dumpster enclosure to remain in its current location because it effectively eliminated the restaurant’s driveway and prevented delivery trucks from backing in off the street, forcing them to instead block one lane of traffic on Division Street.

On Tuesday, Mr. Wawryk offered to remove the dumpster building and replace it with two smaller enclosures that would be set back on either side of the driveway farther from Division Street to provide space for delivery trucks.

Planners said they would send a memo supporting the changes to the village Zoning Board of Appeals, which has held off on a decision on the restaurant’s application for variances, pending a resolution of the site plan issues.

At last week’s special meeting, when the board informed Page’s owners that it was considering revoking the restaurant’s outdoor dining privilege, Mr. Downes tried at first to argue that it was “a was “a valuable property right” that the village could not revoke without “due process.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. called those charges “ludicrous,” adding that the village only charged $100 for a license and said if outdoor seats were as valuable as Mr. Downes said they were, the village should be charging more. “It’s a privilege to use public property for a private use,” Mr. Thiele said.

Sag Harbor Village Board Revokes Page at 63 Main Outdoor Dining License

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Waiters remove chairs from Page at 63 Main Friday afternoon after the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license. 

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees on Friday, July 18, revoked the outdoor dining license of Page at 63 Main restaurant. The village board took the action, Mayor Brian Gilbride said, primarily because of ongoing code compliance issues with the restaurant’s new Back Page café, which opened earlier this year.

It did so after attorney Dennis Downes—who told the board the outdoor dining on Main Street earned the restaurant between $7,500 and $10,000 a day—said its owners would shut down the Back Page café immediately until zoning code violations were resolved and a site plan was issued if the village would allow it to keep its outdoor dining license.

Minutes after the village issued its order, at about 5 p.m., waiters were busy removing the tables and chairs that had graced the front of the restaurant next door to the Municipal Building.

The restaurant found itself in hot water when village officials said it made improvements to the property without first obtaining building permits. Village officials also said the restaurant created an outdoor dining area with a slate patio, when the village Planning Board had intended for it to be used simply as a waiting area for patrons who wanted to dine in the main restaurant.

Village officials also said a refrigerated Dumpster enclosure that was built behind the Back Page posed a fire hazard because it was wired for electricity, a charge the restaurant’s representatives denied.

The village also charged that Page did not remove the same number of seats from inside the restaurant as it offered outside, as it had agreed to do when applying for the license.

Last week, the village building inspector suspended the Main Street dining license, pending the restaurant’s appearance next week in village Justice Court. In the meantime, said Mayor Gilbride, the restaurant’s owners “thumbed their nose” at the village.

“We’re here talking because when there was a suspension… the right thing would have been to remove the tables and chairs and let’s get to the bottom of this,” the mayor said.

Mr. Downes sought to prevent the village board from taking action, saying the outdoor dining right was “a valuable property right” that the village could not revoke without “due process.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. called those charges “ludicrous,” adding that the village only charged $100 for a license and said if outdoor seats were as valuable as Mr. Downes said they were, the village should be charging more. “It’s a privilege to use public property for a private use,” Mr. Thiele said.

Mr. Downes conceded that mistake had been made, but said the restaurant had been held up during the planning process and had to do the work to be ready for the summer season.

“Without those seats, there is a lot of money being lost,” said Mr. Downes of the outdoor dining. “It could be the difference between being able to stay alive in the winter where there are less people out here.”

Sag Harbor Wants To Revoke Page’s Outdoor Dining License

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 18, to discuss revoking the outdoor dining license it issued to the restaurant Page at 63 Main Street because of a number of alleged fire code and zoning code violations at the establishment.

“That license has been suspended by the building inspector,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride, “and he has thumbed his nose at the village and continued to serve alcohol and food outside, which is a violation,” referring to Gerard Wawryk, one of the business’s owners.

“They have been written up on multiple charges of fire code violations,” said assistant village attorney Denise Schoen.

Village attorney Fred. W. Thiele Jr. said if the restaurant did not answer the charges in a timely fashion in village Justice Court, the village could seek a restraining order against the business in state Supreme Court.

“In my experience as a town attorney and village attorney health or safety violations are more likely to get relief” than simple code violations, he said.

Mr. Wawryk was not available for comment on Wednesday.

Ms. Schoen said a Dumpster that is enclosed in a refrigerated wooden structure and abuts a fence next to Murph’s Tavern on Division Street is a fire hazard.

In addition, she said the restaurant had undertaken improvements to the rear of its property to open up the Back Page café without obtaining a building permit.

She also said that the original idea for the Back Page was to provide a “waiting area” with tables and some food service for restaurant patrons waiting to be served. But the outdoor dining area that has been constructed “is not the intended use” that the Planning Board approved.

On Tuesday night, even as a notice announcing the village action against his restaurant was posted on the front door of the Municipal Building, Mr. Wawryk sat in the audience, waiting for the village Zoning Board of Appeals to make a decision on Page’s application to obtain a variance for the placement of the Dumpster.

But after hearing that the Planning Board had not intended for it to be placed in that location, the ZBA took the unusual step of reopening its hearing on the matter and would ask the planning board for its opinion.

Page Opens New Market Café

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Diners who are in the mood for Page at 63 Main, but would rather take out or have a more casual dining experience, will be happy to learn that the restaurant has opened a new market café, the Back Page.

Located on 63 Division Street, behind the main restaurant, the Back Page can be entered through a side entrance or through Page’s atrium room.

The new space seats 18 at two large picnic tables under market umbrellas and banquette seating along the perimeter.

The menu, which was created by chef Erma Orofino, offers breakfast, lunch, dinners, and late night meals, which include pancakes, fresh salads, paninis, tacos, burgers and more. There are vegan and organic options available and the restaurant incorporates produce from its very own on-site aquaponic garden. There are a variety of beverages available, including draft beers, wine on tap, housemade sangria, fruit and vegetable juices, coffee from Java Nation and tea from Harold and Sons.

The new market café will be open daily, with breakfast from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. A late night menu is also available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

For more information, call (631) 919-5085 or visit www.page63main.com.

Local is Always Better, Says Carpenter of New Gig at Page at 63 Main

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Well known East End chef James Carpenter will lead the kitchen at Page at 63 Main

Well known East End chef James Carpenter will lead the kitchen at Page at 63 Main.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Workers are still building a rooftop garden to grow fresh salad greens and vegetables and completing a back terrace serving area at Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, and the restaurant’s new chef, James Carpenter, who arrived just two weeks ago after his most recent stint at East Hampton Point, is busy himself, pulling together a new menu in time for the coming summer season.

The restaurant, once known as Spinnakers and now co-owned by Gerry Wawryk and Joe Traina, is undergoing a rebirth to a more sustainable, and health-conscious approach under Mr. Carpenter’s discerning eye. “I’m making the menu to be a little more seafood driven,” said Mr. Carpenter, who also has a reputation as a practitioner of slow food cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients.  So it is out with “the goopy, deep fried dishes,” and in with the freshest of ingredients, like those that will be grown on the roof and are already sprouting from a series of “aquaponic” gardens set up in a back dining room.

Mr. Carpenter, who came to the East End to open Savannah’s restaurant in Southampton Village, in the 1990s and was the longtime chef at Della Femina in East Hampton, said he joined Page because he was intrigued by the owners’ plans to develop the aquaponic gardens, which are fed with water that passes through fish tanks to provide the growing greens with a ready source of organic fertilizer.

“You can go to King Kullen and pick up a bag of mesclun mix and it tastes like water,” Mr. Carpenter said. “But if you try our salads, you’ll say, ‘This is the most flavorful salad I’ve ever had.’”

Besides the restaurant grown greens, Mr. Carpenter said the bounty of eastern Long Island’s farm fields and waters makes it easy to focus on locally grown ingredients.

So diners can expect fresh tomatoes and sweet corn from Balsam Farms in Amagansett, mushrooms and vegetables from Dave Falkowski’s Opened Minded Organics in Bridgehampton, and other fresh produce from the Green Thumb in Water Mill and Satur Farms in Cutchogue, as well as cheeses from the Ludlows’ Mecox Bay Dairy in Water Mill and Howard Pickerell’s “Peconic Pride” oysters, which are raised in Noyac.

Diners can expect to see such items as Carta de Musica, which literally means music paper in Italian, but is an appetizer of provencale mussel salad, tuna tartare and house grown salad greens on crispy flatbread. Among the main courses will be Mushroom Bolognese, made with Mr. Falkowski’s mushrooms as well as homemade fettuccine, sofrito and Grana Padano parmesan cheese. While the menu will have basics like cheeseburgers and steaks, Mr. Carpenter said it will include items like Organic Quinoa Linguine, which meets the vegan standards of the East End Wellness Challenge.

Mr. Carpenter, who was raised in Carmel, New York, left home to enter the U.S. Navy after high school, where he was trained as a chef and was soon traveling the world over on board the U.S.S. Midway, the last of the fleet’s diesel powered aircraft carriers. “It offered a great opportunity to taste foods from so many different cultures,” Mr. Carpenter said of his navy days.

After leaving Savannah, Mr. Carpenter served  an eight-year stint at Della Femina and also brought his skills to the Living Room @ c/o the Maidstone, whose owners were from Stockholm and who wanted to focus solely on Swedish cuisine, an approach he did not want to take. He also worked for a couple of years at the American Hotel and most recently at Ben Krupinski’s Cittanuova, 1770 House and East Hampton Point.

At all his stops, he said he focuses on bringing as much locally grown food to the table as possible. “It’s always better if it’s grown 5 miles away,” he said.

Page at 63 Main is located at 63 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit page63main.com or call 725-1810. 

Aquaponic Farming, Rooftop Garden Proposed for Sag Harbor’s Page at 63 Main

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By Tessa Raebeck

Hoping to join the growing farm-to-table food movement on the East End, Page at 63 Main has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming and a rooftop garden to enable the restaurant to grow its vegetables on site.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics and aquaculture in a symbiotic environment. Through hydroponics, plants are cultivated in water and aquatic animals (in this case fish) are raised through aquaculture. Aquaponics allows the water from the aquaculture system — filled with nutrients from fish by-products — to be then fed into the hydroponic system to fuel the growing plants.

Attorney Dennis Downes represented Gerard Wawryk, one of the owners of the Main Street, Sag Harbor restaurant, at a Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting Tuesday.

The building currently has a footprint of 3,860 square feet, an area the project would not alter. The building’s front portion is two stories, the middle section has a one-story frame and masonry structure and the rear section has two stories. The restaurant occupies the building’s ground floor and the second floor houses a residential apartment.

Although the footprint would not be changed, the proposal would add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not currently meet the full footprint) which would be added over the one story middle portion of the building and serve as a seeding area. A partial 481 square foot third floor over the rear potion of the building would serve as a greenhouse and the second story roof would house a garden.

“There is no change in parking or change in sewer,” Downes said Tuesday, adding that water in the tanks would not be going into the sewer as board members had previously wondered.

The plan was first introduced to the planning board in a work session November 26. At Tuesday’s meeting, Downes asked the board to adopt a resolution to send a 30-day letter for lead agency status and to allow the demolition of a gable roof.

Downes said renovations to the kitchen, which did not require approval, are underway and the applicants want to “put a solid roof on top of it that they can then incorporate it into a new building at a later date.”

The board adopted the resolution for lead agency status and entertained a motion to send a memo to building inspector Tim Platt allowing the demolition of the gable roof.

Planning board member Greg Ferraris asked Downes for documentation from an expert verifying the plan, in fact, has no effect to waste management and Downes replied he would have the sewer flow verified.

Sag Harbor Planning Board Reviews Proposal for Aquaponic Farm at Page at 63 Main

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The farm-to-table movement has flourished on the East End for decades, many restaurants boasting kitchen gardens to supply fresh, seasonal produce to diner’s plates. For Gerard Wawryk, an owner of Page at 63 Main, while a traditional kitchen garden is out of reach for the Main Street, Sag Harbor space, he has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming on the second and third floor of the restaurant building.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics — cultivating plants in water — with aquaculture — raising aquatic animals, in this case fish — in a symbiotic environment where the water from the aquaculture system is fed into the hydroponic system. Nitrates and nitrites created by fish by-products serve as a nutrient for the growing plants.

According to attorney Dennis Downes, representing Wawryk at a Sag Harbor Planning Board work session on Tuesday, November 26, this concept is something Wawryk has been exploring since 2006. It is only now, said Downes, that Wawryk finds himself in the financial position to move forward with the plan, which he has been developing with the help of the Town of Southampton’s Sustainability Committee.

As a result of the project, the footprint of the building will not change, but will remain at 3,860 square feet. The proposal aims to add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not meet the full footprint of the building) for a seeding area and construct a 481 square foot greenhouse on the rear portion of the third floor. The second story of the building will also serve as a roof garden for the restaurant.

The number of seats in the restaurant is not increasing, nor is the existing apartment, noted Downes, meaning the project does not need additional parking or wastewater treatment to move forward.

“The vegetables that will be grown will be used on the site,” added Downes. “This is not where he is going to be growing vegetables and selling them on the open market.”

Because the project will push the building size over 4,000 square-feet it will have to be reviewed under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) as a type one action, meaning the planning board will have to assess whether or not the project carries the potential to cause a significant adverse environmental impact.

The Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, added Downes, is in favor of the project and has hopes other restaurants will be able to look at sustainable food systems like aquaponics to cultivate produce.

According to Terry Chappel, a consultant working on the project, the aquaponic system is closed loop, and is considered a low-density system or one that uses a minimal amount of fish to produce the nitrites and nitrates needed for the vegetables.

“We are essentially using the fish to start a biological cycle, a nitrification cycle, and it’s a very sustainable way of doing this because we are not having to import salt based chemicals from Morocco, which is normally the case,” he said.

“It’s very easy, low labor, simple and clean,” added Chappel.

The restaurant, he added, will be limited in what it can grow in the aquaponic system and will focus primarily on leafy greens. Seasonal beds are planned for the second floor and more conventional vegetables like tomatoes will also be grown in season.

“From a use perspective, nothing jumps out at me other than what if any are the implications of providing additional space of this size,” said planning board chairman Neil Slevin. “That is what we should probably think about.”

Board member Larry Perrine, the CEO and a partner at Channing Daughters Winery, asked how often the system would need to be flushed and what kind of additional wastewater would that produce.

Chappel said once the biology in the system working properly, it would maintain itself, but if something did occur the system would need to be flushed which would create wastewater.

Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant Richard Warren suggested the board be furnished with pictures of an existing system to better understand how it works.

Restaurant Opens a New Chapter

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Page Restaurant managers Matt and Becky Kehoe, with Chef Humberto Guallpa.

Page Restaurant managers Matt and Becky Kehoe, with Chef Humberto Guallpa.



by Emily J. Weitz

Right in the heart of Main Street, Page has been feeling out its clientele since it opened last year. But with a new management team, complete with new chef and redesigned menu, it looks like they’ve hit a whole new stride.

Matthew and Rebecca Kehoe are a brother and sister team with roots on the East End and experience in the city. The third member of their team, Humberto Guallpa, is a chef born in Ecuador and educated in the kitchens of Manhattan.

“Becky and I work in tandem in the front of the house,” says Matthew, “and Humberto is the man behind the food. He is a young, accomplished, great chef.”

The Kehoes come from the food business, as their father owns a seafood distribution company on Long Island. Through many years of working in the business, they’ve gotten to know some major names in the restaurant industry. For example, it was Mario Batali who introduced Matthew to Humberto in the first place.

“[Batali] had worked with Humberto back in the day, before the fame and glory,” recalls Matthew, “and he told me [Guallpa] was a genius. He gave me his number, and Humberto and I started going to restaurants together, eating food, speaking about food, talking about ideas. We planned to do something together for some time.”

Page was introduced as an idea by a friend of Matthew’s who knew owner Gerry Wawyrk was looking to give the place a face lift. And while the wide open ambience and the inviting outdoor tables remain the same, the menu is a healthy balance of familiar and fresh.

“Our chef comes from Babbo and Aquavit and all these amazing New York restaurants,” says Matthew. “His wealth of knowledge is what makes it onto our menu. And I lived in North Sea as a kid, and knowing this part of the world and what people like to eat, it’s a combination of everyone expressing themselves.”

Because of the Kehoes’ familiarity with the place, they already have deep roots in the community.

“When I was 11 I worked for Tate King and North Sea Farms,” says Matthew, “so now we do business with them. My father supplies lots of local seafood, and we deal with Gosman’s. We get produce from Balsam and Satur Farms.”

Recently, he brought Humberto to North Sea Farms.

“I was out in the field,” says Humberto, “and I saw all these edible flowers. It’s really exciting to actually be out in the fields picking my own stuff.”

Humberto came to New York when he was 16 to start in the restaurant business. He went from line cook to chef de portis to head chef over the course of 16 years, and has worked with some of the most well-respected chefs in the business. He is used to cooking innovative cuisine, and considers some of what seems to fit into the palettes of the East End to be more “home cooking.”

“The food is simpler than the way I’m used to,” says Humberto. “But something like the seared tuna ceviche really keeps my style of cooking, technique wise. I thought really hard on that one. As well as the grilled Montauk fluke. It’s very simple, but all the flavors are together in one dish. That’s my favorite way.”

Another favorite of the new items on the menu, according to Humberto, is the tuna tartare.

“I’ve done that ten different ways,” he says, “but it always comes to be one of my favorites. Here it is avocado, olive oil, ginger, and pumpernickel crisp. Everything I do here in the restaurant. I never buy anything prepared.”

Along with the revamped menu, this new management team hopes to infuse the place with a whole new energy. They’ve gotten the pizza oven, previously unused, fired up again. They plan to make the most of their music license with lots of live music, adding to the weekly Sag Harbor music circuit with the Jam Session with Claes Brondal on Tuesdays. They’re opening the space up to karaoke and Bingo, and are receptive to new ideas to please their clientele.

“Food is fun,” says Matthew. “It’s creative. Restaurants are very creative. I find food and wine and restaurants very sexy.”

But this new management team is careful not to go too over the top with the flash and fancy. Local roots are important to them, and an understanding of the East End is key.

“An old Hollywood director said ‘I treat actors like stars and stars like actors’,” says Matthew. “That’s our vision. We want everyone to feel comfortable here.”


Fresh and Creative Local Fare

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By Annette Hinkle

There’s a new restaurant in Sag Harbor and diners might be surprised to find it occupying a familiar spot. Page at 63 Main is housed in the brick building where Blue Sky formerly operated, and before that, Spinnakers. But this new incarnation bears little resemblance to what came before, and Page at 63 Main has quietly opened to early positive buzz by offering a menu full of exotic flavors and local ingredients— and it even includes dishes vegetarians will love.

The sign for the restaurant arrived just last week, and while there is white table cloth dining in the main space, in the back of the building, Page at 63 Main will offer a market complete with juice bar and casual café selling pre-packaged menu items. That portion of the business is scheduled to open this week.

“This has been my plan — to take this restaurant to this level,” notes Gerry Wawyrk, owner of Page at 63 Main. “I’ve always thought about doing the market in the far back. Then we came up with the concept of natural, local, healthy and organic — and are just combining all those ingredients. Then I just had to find someone compatible who I could live with and could live with me.”

That someone is chef Jessie Flores — the man behind the food, who for nearly 10 years worked as a sous chef at the recently closed Della Femina restaurant in East Hampton. For Flores, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, stepping into the kitchen at Page at 63 Main has given him the opportunity and freedom to create a menu all his own.

“When I was approached they asked me, ‘What kind of food would you cook if you had your own restaurant?’” recalls Flores. “I said Hamptons comfort — but using all my local farmers, my local fishermen and everything organic as much as I can. I should be a part of the community – and serve simple food, but done well, and not hide it with sauces.”

When asked about his culinary style, Flores responds, “It’s a little bit of everything. I have a Spanish background, but I love Asian food and I was trained in French cooking. I’m not trying to set a new category, but it’s just the way I cook.”

As an example, Flores notes that he makes ravioli but, loves chorizo, so it’s not unreasonable to expect to see the two ingredients used in combination. Everything the restaurant serves, he notes, is made from scratch including the fresh pasta, his own red wine sauce, and even the breads. To accommodate vegans, Flores also has recipes like soba noodles with a medley of complex flavors.

“It’s well thought out,” he says. “It’s not just spinach and green beans, it also has local carrots, sexy mushrooms of a higher quality and chestnuts.”

When asked what his signature dish is, Flores points to the steamed bun appetizer on the menu — a variation on the Chinese staple, which is currently all the rage in Manhattan.

“I use shitake mushrooms — it’s also vegan – and I make it myself with green curry and soy glaze,” he says. “I think it’s become my signature dish. When I first made it, in the back of my head I thought, ‘This is awesome.’”

As far as a signature entrée, Flores has found that diners love his seared monk fish steak with chanterelle and oyster mushrooms, a bit of miso paste, white wine and a bit of butter.

“It’s a one pan dish, but very tasty,” says Flores who has just come up with a new dish that will be hitting the menu soon — a base of hijiki seaweed mixed with black and red quinoa —a healthy variation on cole slaw — served with seared tuna or scallops on top.

“This weekend I’m going to pair it with some soft shell crabs,” notes Flores. “For lunch it’s flavorful, delicious and fresh.”

Carnivores need not worry, however, Page at 63 Main still has plenty for them — including hangar steak and pork belly.

“There’s something for everyone in this restaurant,” promises Flores. “Including the steak and potatoes guy who wants onion rings and garlic mashed potatoes.”

Diners on the go will appreciate the market and café which not only offer freshly made juices, but pre-packaged items like wraps and salads. The café will also serve a light breakfast like eggs and pastries. There will also be a small green grocer component stocked with fresh produce grown by local farmers. Though the idea is good food to go, café tables will be provided for those who want to linger a bit longer.

“It will be made fresh every day, prepackaged so you can grab it from the cooler,” says Flores. “Eventually once we’d like to offer organic chips, wraps, juices, pastries and little sweets and a ‘picnic to go,’ an eco-friendly picnic sack with our label on it. We’ll set you up for a party of two or three, fill it for you. You buy it and bring it back every time you want to do a picnic.”

For Jared Wawyrk who manages the front of the house, Page at 63 Main is a welcome evolution of his family’s business. Jared is Gerry’s son and a recent graduate of Arizona State University. The name of the business comes from Jared’s mother (and Gerry’s wife), Susan, whose maiden name was Page and is descended from an old Sag Harbor whaling family. He feels he has come back to his hometown to be a part of taking the business to a new level — one that embraces natural and organic ingredients.

“You have to realize it’s the trend in food these days,” notes Jared. “I’m happy about it. I just see that the food is creative and it has to stay innovative. We want to stay sustainable along with the East End. I feel there’s room for our type of food in Sag Harbor. I’m really glad I can be part of this and offer quality service to match what’s in the kitchen.”

Page at 63 Main is open for lunch and dinner beginning at 11:30 a.m. The market will open at 8 a.m., and serve breakfast until 11 a.m. Sandwiches and juices will continue to be offered until closing at 5 p.m. 725-1810.