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Jan 5, 2009 10:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Well-known Quogue establishment closes its doors

Jan 5, 2009 10:14 AM

The Inn Spot on Quogue Street, an eatery specializing in breakfast and brunch and the only business of its kind in Quogue, closed its doors for good on Sunday after nearly 10 years of serving its patrons omelettes made from local eggs, specialty house blend coffee, and prized corned beef hash.

The breakfast spot, which had been open since 1999, had a mostly successful run since then, according to the establishment’s owners and chefs, Colette Connor, originally from Ireland, and Pam Wolfert, who hails from Hampton Bays. The business partners, who also own Inn Spot on the Bay in Hampton Bays, said they are shuttering their Quogue restaurant for several reasons, among them what they describe as the village’s unsupportive attitude toward businesses.

More importantly, Ms. Wolfert and Ms. Connor said they were unable to renew their lease, noting that the owners of the 48 Quogue Street building—the trust of William E. Murray—opted not to offer another lease as the building is now up for sale. Without a tenant, the building is more attractive to potential buyers, Ms. Wolfert explained. “We explored all our options to stay,” Ms. Connor added.

The owners of the building could not be immediately reached for comment.

“It’s a culmination of things,” Ms. Connor said about their decision to close The Inn Spot. “We have a great spot, it’s in our hometown, and we have a fabulous clientele. But Quogue has never made it easy for us.”

The luncheonette, located at 48 Quogue Street, is adjacent to the Weathervane and across the street from the Inn at Quogue, both of which are owned by Westhampton Beach developer Rocco Lettieri. Ms. Wolfert and Ms. Connor noted that a decline in the number of guests visiting the Inn at Quogue, which Mr. Lettieri wants to redevelop as a private home, also contributed to their decision to close the breakfast eatery, though the had discussed possibly buying the building.

Ms. Connor pointed out that the restaurant, which served breakfast and brunch on weekends, also struggled to turn a profit because village officials never permitted them to serve dinner. She noted that, about eight years ago, she and Ms. Wolfert went before the Quogue Village Zoning Board of Appeals seeking permission to extend the hours that the Inn Spot could serve food. “They absolutely would not entertain us,” Ms. Connor said of the zoning board. “It’s hard to be profitable without dinner.”

According to village documents, The Inn Spot could be open only until 6:30 p.m. each day in the winter, and until 8:30 p.m. in the summer. Ms. Connor said those restrictive hours made it hard to keep the business profitable.

“Who eats dinner before 8 p.m. in the summer?” Ms. Connor said. “We work so hard. It’s crazy to work with these kind of restrictions.”

The same documents note that The Inn Spot’s zoning does not permit the operation of a restaurant. Ms. Connor and Ms. Wolfert were able to serve breakfast and lunch thanks to a special exception variance awarded to the building in 1995, according to village documents.

T. David Mullen, the chairman of Quogue’s Zoning Board of Appeals, did not return calls this week seeking comment.

Though they closed their business, Ms. Connor and Ms. Wolfert, both of whom live in the village, said their legendary breakfasts and brunches will now be served at The Inn Spot on the Bay, located on Lighthouse Road in Hampton Bays. That establishment, which also serves dinner cooked by Ms. Connor and boasts 13 hotel rooms, has been open since 2004.

Ms. Wolfert, who handled the cooking at The Inn Spot, will continue serving breakfast and lunch at the Hampton Bays restaurant. Ms. Connor, who has always cooked the dinner at The Inn Spot on the Bay, will continue to do so. Both Ms. Connor and Ms. Wolfert are self-taught cooks.

Several Quogue residents, including Sir Harry Evans, a longtime customer of The Inn Spot, this week lamented the zoning board’s decision not to allow the restaurant to serve dinner.

“It is the greatest of pities that the Village of Quogue, for some mysterious reason, has refused to allow The Inn Spot to serve dinners—a provision many would welcome and which would have made The Inn Spot viable,” Mr. Evans wrote in an e-mail on Monday. “Nobody wants Quogue to be another Westhampton, but nobody that we know either wants it to become a ghost village, or, worse, a place of super-mansions and offices.”

Clare Bisceglia, the executive director of the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, lives within walking distance to The Inn Spot. She noted that she was “devastated” to learn that the popular restaurant was closing its doors.

Ms. Bisceglia said she plans on traveling to Hampton Bays for her weekend breakfasts, though “it’s not the same as when it’s right there in Quogue, and you can walk.”

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Quogue residents don't want that in their village. Don't worry. The new Hess station is coming soon to Montauk Highway. :-)
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Jan 7, 09 11:25 AM
Sorry to see the Inn Spot go. I remember when it was Afinito's - a luncheonette and "variety" store....and even before that when it was Perry's Drug Store complete with a soda fountain. It has always been a place where Quogue people went to trade gossip and enjoy each other's company.
By Bob Murray (3), Westhampton on Jan 7, 09 7:25 PM
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Jan 7, 09 9:23 PM
quogue gets what it deserves, a mini-madoff as mayor and finances built on giving out bogus parking and traffic tickets. congrats on your shiny new courthouse, the closing of the last quaint business in town, and the deliberate destruction of anything resembling old time east end long island. if you don't like it, send mr. and mrs. motz off to charm school at your next election.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 10, 09 8:29 AM
Wow, davidf ! You don't understand much about Quogue. do you?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jan 11, 09 12:34 PM
i love quogue & i'm sorry to see this quaint little nook leave it's setting:(
By mfoley (5), West Hampton Beach on Jan 13, 09 2:20 PM
Quogue is a nice place. But you have to admit.........Mayor Mini-Madoff Motz......

That is pretty funny!
By G (342), Southampton on Jan 13, 09 3:34 PM
The best poached eggs and corn beef hash that I have ever had! I often think of Collette and Pamela and wish that I could still enjoy their comapny as well as their food. I know that you will be terribly missed. East Hampton may be the prettiest village on the East End, but Quogue is certainly the silliest. The Inn Spot on the Bay will continue to thrive!
By Mainefriends (14), Bethel Maine on Jan 18, 09 5:21 PM