In a profile of East Hampton standby John Papas Café this week, the Press unveils owner John Papas's storied history on East End restaurant scene. Papas opened the Main Street diner in 1992 after a decade running the kitchen of fellow local favorites Estia's and Estia's Little Kitchen. Before that, he was a dishwasher at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton, a job he took as a result of his limited English skills after moving to the states from Greece. But Papas's current success in East Hampton, and at his latest seasonal Montauk outpost, seems to be the lack of change in the menu and décor of the restaurants. When asked why updates to the green booths and lamps have never been made, Papas tells the paper, "...If Alec Baldwin loves it the way it is, that’s the way it’s going to be". Customer loyalty at its finest. As for why the diner usually closes at the early hour of 9pm, he explains "my customers are mostly local people who come here early and then go to bed".
Photo courtesy Hampton Dining
· Dining Out: John Papas Café [EH Press]