By Dawn Watson
Everybody knows that restaurants are a risky business. But when they’re done right, the gamble and hard work pay off and the rewards are sweet. Or savory, depending.
Sag Harbor-based entrepreneurs Michael Gluckman and Shane Dyckman are no strangers to the (sometimes sour, salty and bitter) vagaries of food business ownership. Between the two, they have almost a dozen restaurant proprietorship experiences — most recently Madison and Main in Sag Harbor for Mr. Gluckman and SagTown Coffee in the village and in Montauk for Mr. Dyckman.
With the opening of The Service Station in East Hampton this May, the enterprising duo say they are in for the long haul with their shared venture.
Housed in the former Winston’s and Nichol’s space on Montauk Highway, the “light and airy local- and family-friendly” eatery will serve comfort and casual American fare, says Mr. Gluckman, who adds that the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, year-round. Named for a former use of the property, which was a gas station in the 1920s, the concept will be “a hometown spot by the roadside, where you can fill up on good food,” he reports.
Chef Matthew Chappele, who was previously in the kitchen at East Hampton Grill, is currently fine-tuning the menu, says Mr. Gluckman, who also used to own the neighboring former Beachhouse as well as other East Hampton-based eateries The Boathouse, The Lodge and Bamboo.
Offerings, which will feature locally sourced ingredients from local farmers and Mecox Bay Dairy whenever possible, will include: “mouthwatering sandwiches,” such as a brie-topped cheeseburger; reinvented comfort food, like a truffled mac and cheese; lots of seafood, including classic baked clam casserole, soft-shell crabs, tuna tartare and oysters Rockefeller; and “large, fresh salads,” he continues.
Other American fare-type items that will appear on the menu, according to Mr. Gluckman, include slow-roasted baby back ribs, all-natural rotisserie chicken and rock shrimp tacos.
And in addition to the heavier stuff, The Service Station will also offer a few Wellness Foundation-approved dishes as well as a selection of vegetarian and gluten-free items.
The prices will be affordable, say the partners. Diners can expect to get in and out for “under $20” for lunch, with entrees topping off around $15. There will also be a healthy selection of $25 and under mains for dinner, they report. And there will be all kinds of wines by the glass priced at $8.
“Look for moderately priced family-friendly fare and large portions,” says Mr. Gluckman. “Simple and fresh, reasonable prices. What everybody likes.”
The 1,200-square-foot restaurant will be able to accommodate a decent-sized crowd, with 60 seats inside and 24 on the outdoor patio, plus a cozy copper-topped bar with seating for a handful. The décor will be reminiscent of a Prohibition-style tavern and Roaring ’20s-era filling station, reports Mr. Dyckman, who also owns the Flying Point Surf School. Expect to see a very classic, clean early-American look framed by off-white walls and black trim and wide-plank rustic maple floors. Right now he and his partner are mid-renovation and on the lookout for vintage automobile-themed memorabilia, Bridgehampton Raceway keepsakes, “relics of an era gone by,” such as Model T and old Studebaker collectibles.
Like the food, the atmosphere at The Service Station will be one of comfort and inclusion, say the enterprising partners.
“The key to succeeding is to be here every day, year-round, for the community,” says Mr. Dyckman. “This spot has always been a locals’ staple and we intend to honor that. We’re local guys. We want to be the place not just where you go in the summertime, but also when we’re in the middle of a snowstorm.”
“We want it to be the place where you come to watch or celebrate the game, or after town hall meetings,” Mr. Gluckman adds. “We’re here to serve.”