Reunited, And It Feels So Good

Separated on their 30th, couple are together again
Tony and Patty Sales hold a round-the-clock togetherness record that would be hard to match. Irene Silverman

Last Sept. 14, which happened to be their 30th anniversary, Tony and Patty Sales went to work in different places, he to the Goldberg’s Bagels in Bridgehampton, she to the one in East Hampton. Ms. Sales, who would as soon crack a joke as breathe, told one and all that after two daughters and three decades of marriage, she and Tony had separated.

Their many friends were appalled, until she explained. Their anniversary was the first day they did not work together, she said on Friday, laughing.

The Saleses hold a round-the-clock togetherness record that would be hard to match. It dates from 1984, when Ms. Sales, an East Hampton native who was born Patricia Collins, was hostessing at the old Rocking Wells restaurant off Main Street in East Hampton Village, now the site of John Papas. When the restaurant’s owners bought a new place on Pantigo Road, the Buoy, they took her along. Mr. Sales, who was living in Northport, was hired as manager and chef.

Whether it was love at first sight is their secret, but it took just a year before the chef and the hostess combined forces to buy the former Newtown Cafe in the village (now the Golden Pear), and soon after combined their lives, marrying on Sept. 14, 1985.

“Sept. 14, 1957,” Mr. Sales said wickedly on Friday at the new Goldberg’s on Montauk Highway in Wainscott, where Once Upon a Bagel used to be and where the pair, after about eight months’ parting of the working ways, are back together again. “Oh, stop it!” said his wife, with an affectionate poke.

The Wainscott Goldberg’s is the latest link in an expanding chain owned by Mark Goldberg and Paul Wayne, first cousins who have established something of a bagel lock on the East End, with branches in East Quogue, Southampton, East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Napeague, Montauk, Mattituck, and Riverhead, all of them doing business 365 days a year. Blow-up photos of the cousins and their kids occupy center stage on the walls in Wainscott, along with a big TV set tuned to Channel 12 Long Island (no sound, just the news ticker). The screen is thoughtfully positioned right in the line of sight of people waiting to pay.

“All the comforts of home!” Ms. Sales said, beaming from behind the cash register.

All their married lives, her husband has been the man behind the scenes and she the welcoming face. (As she put it, “He helms the back and I helm the front.”) The other day, he was putting together “one of the specials that I’ve made popular over the years at different places,” roast turkey with cranberry mayo and Granny Smith apples on grilled 12-grain bread. “My Pilgrim sandwich,” he said.

Meanwhile, even at 10:30 in the morning, a relatively in-between time, Ms. Sales was bantering with a steady stream of customers. One man was paying for three sandwiches, for himself and his brothers, he said. “I don’t even like my brothers,” he told her, smiling to show he didn’t mean it.

“You can keep your brothers,” she shot back. “I’ll keep my sisters.”

The Saleses and their two daughters live in the house where she was born. “My sisters all had houses, and after my dad died my mom said, ‘You get the house. I come, too.’ ” Mrs. Collins is gone now, and the mother-in-law apartment where she lived is temporary digs for Molly Sales and her fiancé, Nick Kochanasz, who will be married in October and are building a house in Springs. Molly works at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson as a recreational therapist; the Saleses’ younger daughter, Becca, teaches nursery school at the Neighborhood House in East Hampton. “Molly is engaged, Becca is engaging,” said their irrepressible mother.

In 1991, the Saleses sold the Newtown Cafe and went to work at the South Fork Country Club in Amagansett. He was the head chef there and she the maitre d’ for the next 17 years, their longest stint anywhere so far. After that, they held those same jobs at Indian Wells Tavern, also in Amagansett, and finally, for five years, at the Star Island Grill in Montauk.

Star Island was “12 to 15 hours a day and it was Montauk ‘off the hook.’ It was too much,” Ms. Sales said. “Tony talked to Mark Goldberg.”

“We wanted something more year- round and a little calmer — more humane,” her husband said. “We couldn’t remember the last summer we had nights off.”

Now they have “dinner with the kids, and we all watch ‘Jeopardy,’ ” Ms. Sales said. “We used to talk about work when we had to take it home with us, now we don’t. We discuss wedding plans! Now we have a more normal lifestyle — whatever normal is.”