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Story - Food

Oct 28, 2016 1:07 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

After 25 Years, East Hampton's Cafe Max To Close

Cafe Max in East Hampton. KYRIL BROMLEY
Oct 31, 2016 10:50 AM

After 25 years in business, East Hampton’s Cafe Max will close on Sunday, November 20.

Situated on a triangular lot between Montauk Highway and Cove Hollow Road just west of East Hampton Village, the restaurant has just 40 or so seats and is billed as “The UnHampton” for its low-profile and relaxed atmosphere.

Original chef-owner Max Weintraub opened the seafood restaurant in 1991 with his wife, Nancy, who died last year. Prior to Cafe Max, he ran the Maidstone Arms in the 1980s and served as executive chef at the Maidstone Club for 13 years.

The current owner, Sami Krasniqi, worked for the Weintraubs from the opening of Cafe Max until 2006, when he became the owner of the restaurant at Maidstone Arms, which is now The Living Room Restaurant at c/o The Maidstone. Next, he opened Andrra on Three Mile Harbor in 2012, then sold that restaurant and returned to Cafe Max. The Weintraubs were one year into a five-year lease at the time, but Ms. Weintraub’s health was deteriorating. Mr. Krasniqi took the helm in 2013, with Mr. Weintraub in a supporting role that was largely hands-off.

“Max Weintraub is like a father to me. I’m very close friend of his. …” Mr. Krasniqi said. “When they wanted to leave, they did not want anybody else to have it but me, because they understood that I knew that place.”

He called the closure the end of an era. “I had it for four years, and we were up for a lease negotiation and it didn’t really go well,” he said. “We’re just closing up shop.”

He has another business, Sami Krasniqi Incorporated, a construction company that will become his full-time job now.

If he ever does open a new restaurant, it won’t be in East Hampton.

“If I try it again, it would definitely be on the North Fork. I would not try my luck in the Hamptons again,” he said, citing the “enormous” cost of rent, the short busy season and the local regulations. There are only 10 weeks for a restaurant to make money each year, then long periods of struggle, he said.

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Damn, and I was just saying how we need to go there. Now we really have to.
By johnj (1019), Westhampton on Oct 28, 16 4:25 PM
We go to Cafe Max often. I am really disappointed they are closing and just as disappointed at the GREEDY landlord!
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Oct 28, 16 5:14 PM
Just a question for you? Why is it the fault of a greedy landlord? Maybe the owner wasn't able to increase prices to make his biz profitable because patrons would whine and flee. Everyone loves their favorite restaurant until they have to raise prices because of higher costs, of which rent is only one element.
By harbor (411), East Hampton on Oct 31, 16 10:48 AM
Thank you Chef Max and Sammi. 2 warriors in the kitchen known from Antigua to Montauk. Your commitment to quality and consistency will be missed.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Oct 29, 16 7:05 AM
Your commitment to quality and consistency will be missed.

agreed , and thanks for the good times
By Ditch Bum (897), Water Mill on Oct 30, 16 10:36 AM
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