Summers spent on the Greek island Mykonos, a famous travel destination known for its picturesque beaches and party atmosphere, always lingered in the back of restaurateur James Mallios’ mind. In 2015, he brought the team from his Manhattan restaurant Amali (opened in 2011) on a trip with him and they also fell in love with the island. Two years later, they are gearing up for Calissa, a restaurant inspired by Mykonos opening in the Hamptons Memorial Day Weekend.
A coastal theme will occupy the space with a bohemian lounge area, light wood and a 25-foot open air bar serving cocktails meant to remind tastebuds of summertime. A standout includes The Altair made with vodka, strawberry, basil and crushed melon.
“It reminds me of sitting on the beach and drinking during the summertime,” said executive chef Dominic Rice. “It’s nice and light and it doesn’t overwhelm you with sweetness.”
The social aspect of Mykonos is reflected in the dining experience. “Our dishes are meant to be for a social atmosphere, [which is why] dishes will be set up for a lot more sharing,” said Rice, formerly of Narcissa and Jean Georges. “There’s a section on the menu that starts for two people and goes up from there.”
The offerings will focus on seafood and vegetables. And much of the produce will come from Long Island farms and fishermen. A grill and rotisserie will also be the “heart of the restaurant” and bring rich flavors into the mix.
There’s lamb that’s aged for 40 days, lobster bucatini (confit fennel, tomato mint, bomba calabrese) and an up to 15-pound salt-baked red snapper (dill, olive oil, lemon) that’s ideal for bigger parties. Two popular Greek dips—kafteri (feta, xinotiro cheese, calabrian chilies) and melitzana (blistered eggplant, honey, mint)—are perfect to smother over bread for an appetizer.
Another must-try dish is an Amali favorite: grilled octopus with celery, Kalamata olives, charred red peppers and oregano and mint vinaigrette.
“[The dishes] are cooked in a style that’s conducive to eating them by a beach,” chef Rice said. “They are light, tasty and have a lot of impact.”