Born and raised in Hampton Bays, Simone Scotto has seen a lot of changes to “the gateway to the Hamptons” over the years. Through it all, his hometown has remained a tight-knit community where people buy local and “come together to help” anyone in need, says Scotto. That spirit of generosity and goodwill convinced him to raise his own children here.
In fact, the Scotto family is something of a local institution. Simone and his sister, Rachele Scotto-Kull, have owned the popular Scotto’s Pork Store for 21 years (25 W. Montauk Hwy., 631.728.5677). “All the Italian food is freshly made on premises—mozzarella, sausage, bread—using recipes from my dad, who is 85.” In addition, Scotto’s wife, Catherine, owns Hampton Bays School of Dance. 21 W. Montauk Hwy. #A, 631.723.0723
Both businesses are a good fit for the family crowd flocking to Hampton Bays nowadays. “A lot of young families are buying summer homes here,” Scotto affirms. “So our population doubles or triples on the weekend.”
Community isn’t the only draw, of course. “The only ocean access to Montauk and the North Fork is through Hampton Bays. No other part of the Hamptons offers what we do in terms of waterways.”
—By Kathy Passero
Hampton Bays has more coastline and “more waterfront restaurants than any other place in the Hamptons,” says Scotto, “and you can reach most of them by boat or land.” Among his favorite locally owned spots for fresh seafood are the canal-side Cowfish (258 E. Montauk Hwy., 631.594.3868), offering patio seating in warmer months; Oakland’s, with its own marina at the Shinnecock Inlet, an outdoor deck, and live music (364 Dune Rd., 631.728.6900); and the equally scenic Sundays on the Bay for alfresco dining (369 Dune Rd., 631.728.2611). Edgewater Restaurant offers seafood and Italian cuisine that rivals the spectacular water views. 295 Montauk Hwy., 631.723.2323
For “smaller boutique restaurants,” Scotto chooses Canal Cafe on the Shinnecock Canal, an award winner for its lobster roll (44 Newtown Rd., 631.723.2155), and Rumba, which offers Caribbean islands–inspired cuisine, reggae music, and tropical cocktails with an emphasis on rum (43 Canoe Place Rd., 631.594.3544). For baked goods, try Krieg’s Bakery for pastries, breads, and German-influenced treats, many of which have been handed down through four generations of the Krieg family. 39 W. Montauk Hwy., 631.728.6524
Ponquogue is the most popular beach in the Hamptons, drawing more than 100,000 visitors every summer. It’s located on a narrow barrier island connected to the mainland by Ponquogue Bridge, which offers drivers impressive views of Shinnecock Bay and, beyond the barrier island, the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to a $3.35 million revamp, the Ponquogue Beach pavilion is “gorgeous,” says Scotto. Before you hit the beach, “I recommend Skidmore’s Sports and Styles for beach goods—rafts, chairs, umbrellas, swimsuits, flip-flops,” says Scotto. “It’s a mom-and-pop shop that’s been here even longer than I have.” 9 E. Montauk Hwy., 631.728.0066
“In the fall a lot of people go to the North Fork for pumpkin picking and winery tours. We needed something to bring people to the South Fork, so nine years ago I started the nonprofit San Gennaro Feast of the Hamptons,” says Scotto. “When you combine good Italian food, wine, and live music, you’ve got a home run. Last year about 35,000 people came through Hampton Bays in two days,” says Scotto. All proceeds from the festival (Sept. 28–29) go to local charities.
New in Town
Other promising developments include the restoration of the historic Canoe Place Inn. Built in 1750 as a stagecoach stop, it became a vacation haven for the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and FDR. Across the canal, which links the Peconic and Shinnecock Bays to the Atlantic, work is underway on the Hampton Boathouses, luxe townhouses with boat slips and floating docks to be completed in 2020 and priced $1 to $3 million.