A new concept establishment, a sort of food court featuring local brands dubbed Hampton Eats, opened yesterday at 74 North Main Street in East Hampton Village, and it promises to have something for everyone.
"We wanted to make it a one-stop shop for the whole family at year-round affordable prices," said Rashid Sulehri, a co-owner. "The vision was to bring together a collection of local Hampton favorites," said Adam Potter, a co-owner and real-estate partner.
Mr. Potter is most famous for his mixed-use affordable housing proposals in Sag Harbor Village and his involvement in Friends of Bay Street, but he's also active in the food scene as owner of Brent's General Store in Amagansett and founder of Sag Harbor Kitchen, which he stepped away from in July. "I enjoy bringing new concepts to fruition and providing opportunities to local operators," he said in the brightly lit, newly renovated space. "The official color is palladium blue, and largo teal." The floors have a faded gray look. "If someone has a great Hamptons product, we want to sell it here," he said.
Currently, most of the brands featured, with the exception of Hampton Coffee and Eli's Bread, are owned by Mr. Sulehri, who began buying local establishments in 2015, starting with Villa Italian Specialties in East Hampton and the Montauk Bake Shoppe. "Our target market is the local community, not the summer crowd, though of course, they're welcome," he said.
The hours are generous. Hampton Eats will be open seven days a week, year-round, from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. A patron steps in and is greeted by a long counter, broken up by different stations representing each brand. In the morning, Mr. Sulehri says he expects the right side of the store to be busy, because that's where Hampton Coffee and the Montauk Bake Shoppe stations are located.
"People don't need to go to Starbucks," he said.
For those who start their day with a burst of health, fresh squeezed orange juice and green juices will be available, "the way they want it," said Mr. Sulehri. Customers can pick and choose from an array of fresh vegetables and fruits for juicing. "We'll pick it up right in front of you, put it in the juicer, and here comes the juice for you." He was also proud to be -- "first in the Hamptons" -- a place for people to find sugar cane juice. "Our Hispanic community will love that. It's very popular in South America."
Mr. Sulehri also owns the only Kosher bakery on the East End, Beach Bakery & Grand Cafe in Westhampton Beach. "This is great news for the Jewish community." Kosher bakery products ordered at Hampton Eats will be made at Beach Bakery, and available to pick up at Hampton Eats the next day.
In the evenings, the left and center of the counter should get more business. Prepared foods from two other establishments owned by Mr. Sulehri, Paul's Pizza in Southampton, and Stuart's Fish Market in Amagansett, will make picking up dinner easy. "The seafood market supplies the fresh seafood, and we prepare it here."
Apart from all the baked goods, like jelly croissants, donuts, and even personalized cakes, a new frozen yogurt brand established by Mr. Sulehri, 3 Mile Yogurt, will provide dessert options, including smoothies, and bubble tea.
With 20 employees, the store will likely have a bustling feel. There will be six tables inside and six outside. Five payment lines could help reduce ring-out wait times. "You come in, go to whatever counter you need, and to any cashier." With his many businesses, he has "north of 150 employees" across the Hamptons. He plans on using staff from each establishment so that the employees of Hampton Eats are familiar with the brands. "You come in, you want a sandwich from Villa, what better than for an employee from Villa to make that sandwich?" he said.
Mr. Sulehri houses a portion of his year-round employees in apartments and homes that he keeps specifically for their use. In the summer when staffing needs grow, he plans to tap the J-1 visa program. "For baking, we have a contract with a baking school in Amsterdam. Their top graduates come every year and join our internship program. They've become an important part of our workforce."
This is the first Hampton Eats. "We're hoping this serves the community well. If everything goes as planned, there will be more to follow," said Mr. Sulehri, who, with Mr. Potter, took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the store last week.
"I was elected on the promise that I would help local businesses and build a vibrant village," said Mayor Jerry Larsen, who was at the ceremony. "The opening of Hampton Eats is just another example of how this village board delivers on its promises. We wish the new owners much success!"