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Hamptons Life

Mar 9, 2010 10:54 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Squiretown Restaurant-Bar fills a gap in Hampton Bays

Editor's Note:

Squiretown Restaurant-Bar

26 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays; 723-2626

Dinner Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Bar is open until late.

Reservations suggested, not required.

All major credit cards, except Discover.

Handicapped accessible.

Mar 9, 2010 10:54 AM

Charlie and Craig Bishop, both of Southampton, have slogged away the days since September renovating the interior of their new Hampton Bays establishment, Squiretown Restaurant-Bar.

The brothers transformed what was formerly JT’s Place—and long ago The Coach—into a bright, cheery American bistro. Sunlight filters through the sheer, polka-dotted curtains they hung, and the decorating palette they chose was inspired by an East End sunset, Charlie Bishop explained.

“It was quite the dive pub, with dark ceilings and dark floors,” said Craig, describing the state of JT’s Place when they purchased it from the owner, John Thomas. The brothers opened the restaurant—to the joy of the Hampton Bays community, they said—in late February.

Charlie said that he and his brother had aimed for a warm, comfortable design scheme. The more modern feeling in the establishment, which features vaulted ceilings, is reflected on the menu as well, according to Charlie, who was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and shares the cooking at the restaurant with his brother.

“We’re casual upscale dining,” he said. “We’re not fine dining—we’re not an expensive restaurant. We’re a step up from what you were seeing here before.”
Noting that he last worked at the Coast Grill in Noyac, Charlie explained that the dishes on the restaurant’s menu are “familiar to everyone,” but come with slightly different accompaniments.

Many of the dishes feature seafood, which Mr. Bishop buys locally, especially in the summer. Diners can sample the raw bar, featuring Peconic Pride oysters, spiked bloody mary oyster shooters, clams, and blue claw jumbo lump crabmeat. The raw bar selections range from $3 to $14.

Since Squiretown Bar-Restaurant opened, one of the most popular menu selections has been the lobster orzo, a pasta cooked in a rich lobster broth with chunks of lobster, corn, and basil, according to Charlie, who worked for a time with Mario Batali, the well-known chef who owns Italian restaurants throughout the U.S. and had a show on the Food Network. The lobster orzo, at $27, is one of the more expensive menu items, he said.

Standout appetizers include clam fritters, grilled calamari served with shaved fennel salad, and a baby spinach salad that is topped with pistachios, beets, goat cheese and honey passionfruit vinaigrette dressing. Those selections range in price from $7 to $9.

Another crowd favorite so far is the skirt steak, which Mr. Bishop cooks churrasco style with fried yucca, a Latin American root vegetable, and chimichurri, a green sauce with garlic, parsley and other herbs. The steak is priced at $21.

Squiretown Restaurant-Bar also offers an extensive wine list—with many bottles of Spanish and Italian wine priced in the $30 to $40 range, Charlie said. His brother Craig added that there are also eight beers on tap and that he and his brother are devising a specialty cocktail list.

Both brothers hope that Squiretown Bar-Restaurant becomes a local bar hangout, especially toward the end of the workweek.

“We’re trying to nurture the neighborhood spot aspect,” Charlie said.

Like all of the appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrées, all of Squiretown Bar-Restaurant’s desserts are homemade, Charlie said.

“Elvis Woulda” is one of the most interesting and decadent desserts offered at the new restaurant. It features squares of chocolate cake filled with peanut butter, topped with a dollop of marshmallow fluff, served atop a pool of banana caramel sauce.

Charlie also cooks up a plate of fresh-baked cookies and cheesecake.

The two brothers have dreamed of running their own restaurant for some time, and Charlie is happy he had the chance to open Squiretown Restaurant-Bar.

“Anyone who goes to culinary school would like to have their own restaurant,” Charlie said. “I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so.”

Craig said that he and his brother were looking for a restaurant in what they referred to as the “Gateway to the Hamptons” neighborhood. When they found JT’s Place, they moved on the purchase right away.

Before the streets of Hampton Bays are packed with the club crowd and beachgoers, the brothers hope to open up the restaurant for lunch and to complete additional renovations to the exterior of the building. They currently also offer diners a full take-out menu.

Squiretown Restaurant-Bar is also on opentable.com, a website that allows diners to make reservations online. Reservations for the restaurant are suggested, not required, but the Bishops recommend them if diners want to secure what they consider the best seats in the house, two banquettes in the back.

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The transformation to this place is amazing. It has very bright yet cozy feeling, very enjoyable for a relaxing cocktail at the bar - and the drink prices are more then reasonable.
The food is excellent - a definate step above pub food without leaving you broke. I have enjoiyed several dinners here so far and can't wait for my next visit! I highly reccomend Fresh Tuna salad appetizer and the Skirt Steak - YUM!
By lmahanna (15), Hampton Bays on Mar 11, 10 1:51 PM
I was just here last night and I agree, the transformation is truly remarkable. The ambience is very inviting and relaxing. The food is delicious and innovative, and there's something on the menu for everyone. The staff is also attentive and top-notch. And best yet, the prices are quite reasonable! A very welcome - and needed - addition to Hampton Bays.
By emilyvanides (2), Southampton on Mar 13, 10 12:57 PM
What a pretentious pile of poop! JT's was never a "dive pub" even if it might have had dark floors (like most of the multimillion dollar houses being built on the East End). Until the problems near its demise, JT's had consistently good food and good, friendly service.

Self-proclamations aside, these guys are going to have to work to become "the joy of the Hampton Bays community" and the attitude displayed here doesn't bode well for that, regardless of the enthusiastic posts by hanna ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on Mar 16, 10 12:25 AM
Very snarky, VOS.

Make that two posts for Emily.
By emilyvanides (2), Southampton on Mar 19, 10 4:20 PM
Just ate there. Great food. Was amazed to see, when leaving, two SHPD cops on bikes hiding in the shadows in the parking lot across the street, near Scotto's. It is going to be difficult for local proprietors to create a neighborhood atmosphere when you have these predators everywhere. I guess they have had so much success creating a marshall law atmosphere on Jobs Lane, they decided to expand.
By SHPredatorDept (72), Southampton on Jul 3, 10 11:30 AM