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Hamptons Life

Sep 4, 2018 11:20 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Starr Boggs Restaurant Is On The Market

Starr Boggs restaurant in Westhampton Beach is up for sale. JD ALLEN
Sep 4, 2018 11:33 AM

The long summer days at the Westhampton Beach restaurant has taken its toll on Starr Boggs.

Since June, the chef has been up at the crack of dawn at the fish market picking out “only the best” from the day’s catch. Then, Mr. Boggs is in the kitchen of his namesake restaurant cleaning vegetables, steeping all sorts of stock and getting ready for the dinnertime rush—all day long. By the time the doors open at 5:30 p.m., six days a week—and 6 p.m. on Mondays to allow for extra time to prepare for the famous lobster bake—80 staff have food prepared and tables set in expectation for the 350 heads reserved each night.

At 67, Mr. Boggs is looking to retire, and he has put his restaurant on the market.

“I have been cooking for nearly 50 years,” Mr. Boggs said. “I think it’s time.”

While the restaurant has stood at its current location at 6 Parlato Drive for the last 15 summers, it’s actually Mr. Boggs’s 38th year serving the South Fork.

“I have had some great customers that I have had now for 38 years,” he said. “I have done christenings for children who now work for me as adults.”

In 1981, the intrepid chef flew in from Palm Beach, Florida, and landed his first gig on the South Fork at The Inn in Quogue, before opening his own establishment in the Dune Deck Hotel on Dune Road, and eventually moving to a larger location on the eastern end of Main Street where condos stand today.

“This restaurant was my last ride,” he said sitting anxiously at the bar. “It’s not a fire sale either. I have enjoyed it. I probably have the best staff that I have ever had right now. Everything goes along just fine—just a few health issues have popped up recently and I just feel like it’s time. If it doesn’t sell right away, I am preparing to go on.”

Back at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, the 6-foot-4 Virginian wanted to be a football player, playing defense until a knee injury took him out of the game for good. Now, he walks with a cane—but it’s never stopped him from getting around until now.

“I have had some health issues for the last few years. I am arthritic from my college football days and the 12 to 15 hours in the kitchen for all of those years—I am banged up,” Mr. Boggs said. “The restaurant business is a tough business, and I hope someone else can continue on here. It’s a great location.”

Fifteen years ago, Mr. Boggs completely gutted and renovated Jackie Parlato-Bennett’s old home. She was the wife of Southampton Town Trustee William Bennett who died in January. A few restaurants had been in the space before: The Red Fox and Westhampton Grill.

“It was pretty beat up. I added the whole kitchen space line. It is in good shape and I maintain it,” he said.

The restaurant has operated only seasonally—late April to late October—for the last 10 years. But Mr. Boggs has been known to keep it open through Thanksgiving, and even New Year’s on occasion. “I love to work with the seasons. We are lucky to live out here with great produce, seafood and duck.”

With any luck, he said the end of October could be the end of his dinner service for good.

Some favorites on the menu have included the Long Island duck liver mousse, grilled Shinnecock calamari, smoked Irish salmon, pan-seared mahi-mahi, and a roasted rack of lamb glazed with fennel pollen and honey.

The Monday night lobster bake is a production. Out back, a buffet is set up with a range of appetizers, and salad, lobster and steak, and all of the fixings, are served to guests at their tables. It’s limited to serve 200 people a night.

“The trick to any restaurant is to give a shit,” Mr. Boggs said. “There is nothing wrong with getting into a routine, but to really focus on purchasing the best and doing as little to the food as possible. You have to keep the integrity of the food.”

The restaurant seats 150 in a screened-in porch and spacious alfresco-style dining room setting. The upstairs includes an office and apartment. Altogether, it’s on the market for $4 million.

“I love Westhampton. I love the area,” Mr. Boggs said. “My house is around the corner. I am probably going stick around part of the year.”

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