The Springs Tavern in East Hampton will share the memories of yesterday with the joys of today. The historic location has served as a restaurant, bar, live music venue and spot for gathering for more than 80 years.
“We fell in love with the history of the place and know how important it is to the community,” said Dan DeSmet who will open the space April 6 with wife Charlene DeSmet. “[Abstract artist] Jackson Pollock ate and drank here for 10 years until he died in 1956 and [abstract artist] Willem de Kooning was another [frequent] visitor.”
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Pieces of the décor will honor the history of the neighborhood and famed guests. “We are trying to collect photos by Pollock and Kooning as well as images of the Springs, East Hampton and [previous versions of the Tavern] from locals to decorate the place. They aren’t the easiest to track down but so far we have five pieces on the walls that two customers dropped off for us.”
The casual spot will also boast restored hardwood flooring in the dining room with beadboard wainscoting and wood trim. A completely new oak bar surrounded by eight televisions and an eight-speaker sound system will help to cure the craving for an afternoon of sports. There will also be some live music, occasional karaoke and even darts.
The American pub-style menu crafted by Chef Michael Ruggiero, who has previous experience at Nick & Toni’s, Harvest on Fort Pond, Fresno and Montauk Lake Club, will be just as lively. It ranges from burgers, steak frites and fish and chips to small plates, soups and salads. Must-try dishes include the veggie Reuben made with roasted beets, kraut, swiss cheese and Russian dressing on rye bread, as well as the pan roasted chicken breast with herb jus, creamed hash potatoes and spinach. Follow one of those up with the Jackson Pollock plate for dessert prepared with berries, pistachios, nougat, caramelized phyllo, caramel, anglaise and fudge sauces.
The Springs Tavern will welcome those who are able to stick around for a couple of drinks to sample their specialty cocktail menu. DeSmet recommended the D&C Lemonade made with 44 North Huckleberry Vodka, fresh lemonade and blueberries or the Gin Beach with Montauk rum, citrus infused gin with fresh lemon juice and honey syrup. There will also be 22 beers, six on tap.
“It’s more than just selling food and drinks. We are going to provide a social meeting place to continue to build a sense of community around our town. Customers are either going to already know each other from [the neighborhood] or they will [get to know each other] by the end of the meal.”