If your New Year’s resolution was to cook more and eat out less, by this point your resolve may be starting to waver. Luckily, there are plenty of places to dine in and around East Hampton.
For many years, the Marmador was the choice for hungry people of all stripes. Opened in 1931, this simple luncheonette was located in the Edwards Theater building on Main Street until 1965, when a fire devastated both the theater and the restaurant. The Marmador then moved to Newtown Lane but closed in the early 1970s after rent prices soared.
The luncheonette was a family operation, run at different times by Donald P. King (1927-2009) and Alfred Payton (Speed) King (1912-1979).
At its opening, the lunch special cost 55 cents, or about $11 in 2023. By 1958, not much had changed, as seen in a menu from the Marmador from around that time. A hamburger cost 10 cents ($1.06 now), a peanut butter sandwich was 15 cents ($1.59 now), and for the high roller, the Marmador offered a regular chicken sandwich for 35 cents, about $3.72 in 2023.
The menu’s other offerings included a ham and peanut butter sandwich and a number of ice cream sundaes with intriguing names like the Golf Girl, the Sweet Sixteen, and the Skyscraper. For the diner looking to indulge even more, there was the Banana Royale, a 5-cent upgrade from the standard-issue banana split.
Customers could also order the Broadway, a soda fountain concoction that combined chocolate syrup, milk, or cream and seltzer, all topped with coffee ice cream. This was a popular combination at soda fountains all over the country.
Soda fountains of this sort have since fallen out of favor, but for folks looking for a taste of nostalgia, old-fashioned luncheonettes like Sip ’n Soda in Southampton and the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton still serve fountain favorites all year round.
Julia Tyson is a librarian and archivist in the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection.