A Roundup of the Hamptons’ Best Diners
As food trends come and go in the American restaurant scene, there’s one that has stayed absolutely put, from the days of Norman Rockwell paintings to the Brooklyn late-night food scene: the diner. In the Hamptons, whether you’re going out for a pre- beach breakfast, family brunch, early dinner or late-night snack, we’ve compiled the top diners that will leave you filled with the sweetest stacks, cheesiest eggs and greasiest platters.
Mr. John’s Pancake House (721 Montauk Hwy., Montauk)
A true pancake house isn’t exactly the tidiest spot. It’s a sticky place with excessive portions, where everything gets all mixed up, runny yolks and pork grease joining forces with saccharine syrup and whipped cream to seep through hot stacks of buttery carbs. Nevertheless, pancake houses are right on point with the Marie Kondo philosophy that the things that should be kept in life are those that spark joy. And that’s why they’re still as popular now in our health-conscious day and age as they have been for decades past.
Sometimes, green juices and muesli need to go out the window in lieu of pancakes, waffles, crèpes and French toast in all their forms, be it fruit-covered, ice cream– smothered, chocolate- or coconut-laced. In Montauk, Mr. John’s Pancake House is the place to go when such cravings call, the line that sometimes extends down the block attesting to its better-than-average quality and portions that often require take-home boxes for a second day of bliss.
John Papas (18 Park Pl., East Hampton)
Slightly more upscale (but only slightly), John Papas has been serving the East Hampton crowd since 1992 with American diner fare with a Mediterranean twist. Beloved by families, surfers, tourists and celebrities alike – Alec Baldwin has been a regular here – John Papas offers everything from fresh fruit to egg platters to Gyro strips fried up as a side like bacon all day long, the latter a nod to the owner’s Greek heritage (the Pantheon omelet with mushrooms, tomato, feta and olives is another great and inspired choice).
Separate lunch and dinner menus are vast expanses of comfort foods from both sides of the Atlantic, from pita pizzas to hot pastrami sandwiches to fried chicken to souvlaki with homemade tzatziki. No matter what you’re after for a greasy Sunday feast, John Papas will deliver with flying colors.
Cutchogue Diner (27850 Main Rd, Cutchogue)
The ultra-retro digs are Instagram gold, the service couldn’t be warmer, and the food is some of the most consistent diner fare in the East End. All it takes is one meal at Cutchogue Diner, and you’ll likely vow
to make it a staple in your dining circuit each time you come to the Hamptons. Set in an old railroad car from 1941, this greasy spoon joint dishes up breakfast with no surprises until 3 p.m. daily: breakfast sandwiches, eggs with homefries and toast, pancakes and waffles, fresh fruit salad, and three-egg omelets. What is unique about Cutchogue Diner, though, is that despite its early close time, it still offers classic diner dinners too: bacon cheeseburgers, homemade soups, tuna melts, roast turkey with dressing, and meatloaf all manage to be as appealing as the morning fare, and can be taken to-go for a diner dinner too.
Eckhart’s Luncheonette (162 Mill Rd., Westhampton)
Even more historic is Eckart’s Luncheonette, which has been filling its tables with locals since 1911 – often regulars, seated at the same table they’ve occupied for decades. At 108 years of age, Eckart’s began as a bar, then transformed into a luncheonette during the 1920s Prohibition years and has stayed as such ever since. A watering hole for the East End’s businessmen and civil service, Eckart’s is as much a place of gossip-sharing and over- the-table deal-making as it is a breakfast spot, and its fare is very much what-you-order is what-you-get: the eggs benedict comes as two buns with eggs, hollandaise and nothing else; chocolate chip pancakes are unadorned. In other words, pile on the sides if you’re hungry, and don’t expect to be blown away by the nourishment. Rather, come to dwell in a taste of the Hamptons past in a way that can be found few places more than Eckart’s.
Silver Lining Diner (32 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill)
Follow the gleaming rays shooting up into the Southampton sky, and you’ll find yourself at the newest diner in the East End: Silver Lining Diner. A newfangled approach to the classic American diner that opened this year, Silver Lining makes no apologies for romanticizing the 1950s sock-hop days of cherry-topped milkshakes shared through two straw, salty fries and chicken tenders, and icing-bedecked cupcakes served on raised platters. Run
by the team behind the ultra-successful Bay Kitchen Bar, Silver Lining took over the space formerly occupied by Princess Diner and breathed in new life to all of the corners, from the leather banquettes the color of sunshine to the signature cocktails on-par with any bar.
Classics like club sandwiches and banana cream pie are nods to the past, while fresh seafood pastas and veggie bowls topped with poached eggs also make this hot spot a worthy dinner restaurant too. Perhaps its most modern offering as compared to its brethren, though, is the fact that it’s open until midnight, meaning a late-night slice of red velvet cake is never out of the question.