Rita Cantina has opened in Springs, serving up modern Mexican dishes along with an extensive tequila-focused bar program. Owner and chef Eric Miller, known for his restaurants like Bay Kitchen Bar, brings his passion for Mexican cuisine and the East End with the help of partners, Adam Miller, who is behind the innovative bar program, and Marc Miller, who handles operations. The team at Rita Cantina welcomes both locals and visitors alike for cuisine that showcases a bounty of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
“We are thrilled to be opening Rita Cantina,” Eric Miller said. “We look forward to sharing our interpretation of modern Mexican cuisine with the Springs community, celebrating the fresh ingredients and local purveyors we’ve worked closely with over the years. Rita Cantina will be a place for everyone, where guests can enjoy a taco or two, or a full spread of high-end dishes and killer cocktails.”
Rita Cantina’s menu celebrates Mexican cuisine through a local lens, utilizing all the ingredients that swim, graze and grow in Gardiner’s Bay and the surrounding area. Miller’s more than three decades of fine dining experience established him as a pioneering proponent of the slow food, dock-to-dish, and farm-to-table movements and an advocate of local fishmongers, diggers, producers, and farmers. At Rita Cantina, he applies his passion for grilling and slow cooking to new flavor profiles in modern Mexican cuisine. The menu features a range of ceviches, tacos, quesadillas, slow-cooked Birria, and large plates made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients from beloved East End purveyors like Satur Farms, Multi Aquaculture System, and Gosman’s Dock, along with many independent local fishers who Chef Eric has had relationships with for over a decade.
Smaller plates include tuna ceviche tostada with avocado and charred pineapple agua chili, local littleneck clams with chorizo, serrano and Tecate, and seafood ceviche with fluke, scallop, squid, shrimp, habanero and pomegranate. Meat and fish-based tacos include Niman Ranch short ribs Birria braised in adobo sauce and consommé, and local fluke served battered with pickled cabbage slaw and crema. Large plates include Crescent Farms duck carnitas with butter lettuce wraps filled with guacamole and salsa and whole fish roasted on cedar with citrus.
From the bar, guests can enjoy a lineup of cocktails focusing on various tequilas, agaves, and mezcals. The cocktail menu is categorized by bottled, signature, frozen and margarita and Mojitos.
Rita Cantina’s bottled cocktails include timeless recipes with an updated twist, meant to stay fresh and taken to-go. Highlights from this section include the Oaxaca Old Fashioned with tequila, mezcal, agave, and orange bitters; the Mezcal Negroni with mezcal, Campari, and sweet vermouth; and the Tequila Forever Margarita with tequila, Rockey’s Agave, pepper blend, and acid.
The space at Rita Cantina was designed and built by Adam Miller, who drew inspiration from Oaxacan textiles and pottery. The indoor dining room features a bar with 10 seats in addition to 65 seats at dining tables. The interior is warm and inviting, boasting Oaxacan fabrics, brightly colored patterns and four booths. The bar and dining room lead out to a back patio with indigenous plants, Adirondack chairs and picnic tables. At the center of the outdoor patio is a bonfire where guests can enjoy s’mores and drinks after finishing their meals.
Rita Cantina also offers to-go bundles containing everything needed for a beach picnic. Signature picnic bags with margaritas, tacos and more are available, as well as “Bonfire Bags” containing Mexican chocolate, house-made graham crackers and marshmallows, and house-made drinks.
Rita Cantina is at 28 Maidstone Park Road, East Hampton. The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to close, Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m. features $1 oysters and $10 margaritas or glass of wine. Reservations can be made at 631-329-3663 or ritacantinahamptons.com.