New Name, New Feel For Highway Restaurant - 27 East

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / 1389021

New Name, New Feel For Highway Restaurant

icon 3 Photos

author on Mar 3, 2015

It is not unusual for the airy, light-filled restaurant at 290 Montauk Highway in East Hampton to be ignored by drivers passing by who are too eager to get to the beach, too rushed to beat Manhattan-bound traffic, or too busy rubbernecking the old military tank sitting beside it, pointing its large gun toward the road.

Next month, the building’s new tenants—they are leasing from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 550, which owns it—say there is reason to pay attention. And it’s not just the restaurant’s new sign, or name.

The days of the Highway Diner & Bar, as the space was most recently known—save for a Japanese pop-up last summer—are officially over. It is now home to the Highway Restaurant & Bar.

“Some people say this is a cursed site. For whatever reason, nothing’s lasted,” the restaurant’s general manager, Adam Lancashire, said, rattling off four of the space’s former lives before his team arrived in November. “But we will. We’re not, ‘Okay, it didn’t work,’ six months down the line. ‘Let’s close it.’ We’ll make it work. The only way to prove that is to do it.”

The 108-seat, contemporary-American eatery shut down on February 16, temporarily closing its doors for an extensive renovation that Mr. Lancashire says will transform the space into a more intimate location by April 1, at the latest.

“We’re going to soften it up, make it feel like a restaurant you can come to with your friends for a drink on Friday night,” he said, “but also, if you want to bring your boyfriend on a Saturday night for a nice dinner, you can do that, too. It’s not going to feel like a diner anymore.”

Aesthetic additions will include a two-way fireplace separating the bar from the dining room, new tables and booths, fabric wall coverings, light fixtures and oversized curtains, though the most extensive improvements will take place behind the scenes—with the kitchen, air conditioning and heating systems.

“We’re obviously a business that needs to justify everything, so our budget is what we think is appropriate and what we think we’ll be able to get back and make sense of,” Mr. Lancashire said, “with one eye on the future.”

Come spring, a vegetable garden will be planted in front of the restaurant to support its menu governed by seasonal produce and fish from the East End. The menu expansion is still in the discussion phase, Mr. Lancashire said, “but we will always, always, always use what is locally sourced and locally produced. It’s local all the way.”

Head chefs Justin Finney and Seth Seligman aren’t doing away with the menu’s staple Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, John’s Eggplant Parmigiana, or handmade pasta, but they are planning to expand the restaurant’s take-out options. Mr. Lancashire will revisit the wine list, he said; half will be dominated by French wines, his personal favorite, with 30 percent dedicated to local selections and 20 percent international.

“There’s no point in doing things by half measures,” he said. “We want to try to have the best food, the best wine. We want to try to have the most competitive prices. And we want to be successful. It’s simple, good, honest food—just elevated. Our intention is to reopen a restaurant that is here for the community and to show, with time and integrity, that we’re going to be here for the long haul.”

For more information about The Highway Restaurant & Bar, visit

You May Also Like:

East End Restaurants Slash Staff, Close After Move To Takeout Only ‘Eradicates’ Sales

At 75 Main, Zach Erdem, is used to a business rush — he evolved his ... 7 Apr 2020 by Alec Giufurta

Swirl: A Pantry, To Raise the Spirits

If you find yourself in times of trouble, as we all have, of late, consider ... 1 Apr 2020 by Hannah Selinger

Comfort Food in a Time of Discomfort

“Comfort food” has taken on a new and intense meaning in this anxious time of ... 24 Mar 2020 by Lauren Chattman

Enjoy Dishes With Versatile And Delicious Coconut

Coconut is a drupaceous fruit with a hard, dark brown hairy husk encasing sweet creamy ... 12 Mar 2020 by Janeen Sarlin

Foodstuffs: St. Patrick’s Day, Rum And Renovation

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Rowdy Hall Fun fact: St. Patrick’s Day is also known ... 11 Mar 2020 by Staff Writer

Union Burger Bar Relocates Into Union Cantina Space

Union Burger Bar at 40 Bowden Square in Southampton Village just expanded, and in the ... 10 Mar 2020 by Greg Wehner

The Seasonal Chef: Garlic For Good Flavor And Good Health

For centuries it was believed that garlic had medicinal properties, but Western medical experts considered ... 8 Mar 2020 by Janeen Sarlin

Penelope Bourbon Is Montauk Inspired

Penelope Bourbon is not a Long Island bourbon. But it is a bourbon with Long ... 7 Mar 2020 by Hannah Selinger

Honest Plate Offers Clean Meals At An Affordable Price

In January, Water Mill resident Ashley Heather, founder of the co-working space The Spur, which ... 5 Mar 2020 by Hannah Selinger

Foodstuffs: Two Forks And A Cork, Greenport Music And An Artist Dinner

Two Forks and a Cork On Saturday, March 7, from 6 to 8 p.m., the ... 3 Mar 2020 by Staff Writer

Welcome to our new website!

To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.

We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.

Start the Tour
Landscape view not supported