By Emily J. Weitz
Everybody wants to know what’s to become of the iconic little market on the corner of Division and Henry streets in Sag Harbor. Since the 1930s, this building has provided the community with an easy, casual spot to grab meals or linger over the paper. Chef Paul Del Favero and his wife Susana Plaza Del Favero want to keep that heritage alive with Harbor Market, offering a revitalized menu that takes into account the local, seasonal, and health-conscious demands of the community.
Mr. Del Favero is no stranger to the East End. After training at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and working in both France and New York City, he landed a job as the head chef at Nick and Toni’s in East Hampton in the early 1990s and worked at the South Fork culinary institution for seven years. He then went on to several other endeavors out here—including serving as the executive chef at The Maidstone Arms—before his friend Bobby Flay offered him a position in his new restaurant in Las Vegas. The couple, with their two young sons in tow, moved to Las Vegas, where Mr. Del Favero settled into a whole different pace of life and business.
“It was a whole new world for me,” said Mr. Del Favero. “We had a staff of 45 in kitchen and 70 in the dining room. We got rave reviews, I got a Michelin star there, and learned a lot.”
The Del Favero family originally thought their stay in Las Vegas would be three to five years, and they ended up there for nine. But as their children got older, the family realized they missed the small town life.
“We missed that local, small town feeling,” said Ms. Plaza Del Favero. “This will literally be a mom and pop market. We are excited to make it small and make it ours, and to be a part of the neighborhood and community.”
The Del Faveros know that Espresso was a treasured part of the Sag Harbor community, and they hope to maintain the clientele who have loved it, while also casting a wider net. The menu will change, of course, but the idea of offering food that you can take home to your family will not. They still plan to serve the breakfast crowd, with coffee and egg sandwiches starting at 7 a.m. They still plan to reach the after-school crowd, and the moms and dads picking up dinner for later.
But there will be some changes. They’re installing a wood-burning oven, in which they plan to do a lot of roasted vegetables and proteins.
“We want to serve healthy food,” said Mr. Del Favero, “and to keep vegetarians in mind. We want to sell fresh produce and dairy, and as much local produce as we can when it’s in season.”
In that sense, Harbor Market really intends to be a market, with lots of sundries on its shelves. They are growing their list of local farmers, and hope to offer not just local produce, but products like farm fresh eggs.
“We want to fill our shelves with local products,” said Mr. Del Favero. “And we want to offer food that is not processed. No GMOs, healthy meats, organic vegetables – we want to offer better quality that is eco-friendly.”
Of course, healthier foods come with a higher price tag, and the Del Faveros want to be mindful of keeping prices reasonable.
“We want to give people a bargain,” said Mr. Del Favero. “This is restaurant quality food that you can take home.”
Variety is a key part of the menu, with items influenced by Mr. Del Favero’s classical French training, his wife’s Spanish heritage, and the American, Italian, Mexican, and Southwest flavors he’s drawn on in his past restaurant endeavors.
The family is excited to be part of the community, hoping one day to live in the house attached to the restaurant, and maybe to send their kids to Sag Harbor schools.
“Sag Harbor is such a tight little community,” said Ms. Plaza Del Favero, “and we want to be a part of it. People were so concerned about us missing the last summer season, but that’s not what we’re about. We are not a pop-up summer business. We want to be a year round local neighborhood market.”
They’re looking at a few more months of renovations, so the couple is estimating a soft opening sometime in January or February.
“We’ll probably open on a Tuesday in February during a snowstorm,” said Ms. Plaza Del Favero.
Now that’s local.