We got the inside beef on Sag Harbor's Bay Burger and now we go behind the scenes at another one of our favorite Hamptons eateries, Amagansett's La Fondita.
Part of the Honest Man Restaurant Group that includes Nick and Toni's (East Hampton and NYC), Rowdy Hall and Townline BBQ, La Fondita dishes up the best casual Mexican food on the East End and, in our humble opinion, ranks up there with anything in the city. While a scaled down version of Fondita shifts over to Townline in winter, the Amagansett location is what we're talking about. We spoke with Director of Operations, Christy Cober, about life at the "little kitchen."
Curbed Hamptons: What happens to the regular La Fondita crew during the winter?
Christy Cober: We move them to our other properties. It's important to us to have continuity from summer to summer so we try our best to keep the staff employed year round.
CH: So the same employees come back every summer?
CC: Our key employees do, the chef de cuisine, his line cooks and our front of the house manager.
CH: How did Fondita hold up last year in the brutal economy?
CC: Business was great last summer. We had a very rainy June so that affected our June business, but the remainder of the season was very busy. Additionally, we started doing off-premise catering out of La Fondita and that was good for our season as well.
CH: When does the Amagansett store open for the new season?
CC: We open for Cinco de Mayo every year.
CH: After the winter break, how long does it take to get the store in shape for summer?
CC: This will be our 10th summer, so it doesn't take us long to get everything up and running. We usually start the process around the end of March and have the chef and manager come in about a week and a half before we open for the season.
CH: Not counting any of your restaurants, what's your favorite place out east?
CC: West Lake Fishing Lodge, Montauk.
CH: What other types of restaurants do we need in the Hamptons?
CC: Personally, I would love to see more ethnic diversity in our restaurant choices - Indian, Chinese, Spanish.
CH: What do you think of Times blogger Bruce Buschel and his fish restaurant concept?
CC: I think having a year-round fish house with a menu supporting local sustainable fishing/fishermen would be a great addition to our restaurant community out here.
CH: How about more Fonditas in the Hamptons? Any thoughts of expansion?
CC: Sure. It would have to be the perfect location and that hasn't crossed our paths yet.
CH: Is there a new restaurant in the works for the Nick & Toni's empire?
CC: Not at the moment. Currently, we are focusing on our 5 properties. This year we have made it a priority to ensure that we're doing the best we can at all of our locations.
CH: Finally, you have Nick & Toni's Cafe on the Upper West Side--what will it take to bring La Fondita to NYC?
CC: A good location and a good rent, as the price points are low. However, you have to take into account that on the East End La Fondita is one of maybe two Mexican eateries, where in New York there are hundreds of Mexican places to eat. Sometimes it's better to be a big fish in a small pond, instead of a small fish in a big pond.
La Fondita, 74 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, 631-267-8800