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Sixty-Something: Ocean Beach Hut Lunches In The Hamptons

T.J. Clemente

"I just love watching the ocean from up there," the author says about the Beach Hut. (Photo: TJ Clemente)

I drove up to Atlantic Beach in Amagansett last week and amazingly I was the only car in sight there. It was cold and overcast with very little wind. I couldn't help but look, then walk right up to the boarded-up, closed for the season, Beach Hut that sits high - perhaps 50 yards right off the ocean. I just love watching the ocean from up there. I thought of the summer lunches I will be doing there sooner than later.

When you are sixty-something and retired, you seem "to do lunch" more so than the days when you had office meetings to prepare for, presentations to make, and other such busy office stuff. Back in those days I remember looking up from a busy day and thinking "maybe some lunch now," only to see it was already 5 p.m. Not quite the way it is now where I plot and plan daily what I am going to do for lunch!

In the summer, my routine has me having turkey meatloaf on a roll at The Springs General Store, or a curry-chicken wrap at Damark's in East Hampton, many times to take to my sailboat. Other times however, when I have the time, and it's a week day, I drive right to Atlantic Beach in Amagansett, where I park (I have an annual East Hampton sticker) and climb the steps to the Beach Hut! Susan, the proprietor, who just celebrated her 25th year running the "Beach Hut Snacks and Stuff," at Atlantic Beach always has some really healthy stuff with avocados and so forth, but for me it's basic; it's either a hot dog, mustard relish and one of Susan's famous smoothies, or a lobster roll, that I eat right there hanging on the wooden rail looking at the ocean just yards away.

In the summer, what's not to like more than a snack right off the beach - either wearing sandals, tee-shirt and shorts, or, in some cases, just a wet bathing suit and very sandy wet bare feet?! At the Beach Hut, it's amazing how well behaved the kids are there waiting for their ice cream or other favorite beach snack. It's even more amazing watching them take that first bite or lick of their ice cream on a hot summer's day at the beach. It makes me remember when my children were actually children.

A friend, who is also my lawyer, brought his kids to sail one day this summer, but with the winds unfavorable I brought them to Atlantic Beach. We parked close to the restrooms, deep in the parking lot, away from The Beach Hut. After an hour of swimming and sitting in beach chairs (I keep 4-5 chairs in my car trunk all summer), the kids said they were hungry. Not knowing the beach had the Beach Hut snack bar nearby, I said lets walk this way. I still remember their excitement when they first saw the place, ran up the stairs and the fun they had just reading the lunch menu, posted on the outside wall. With lunch they also had their first ever Beach Hut smoothie!

There are other beaches that have other lunch specials in trucks, in nearby restaurants, or in their own Beach Hut places. Coopers Beach has one in Southampton, whereas Crescent Beach, Shelter Island has the Sunset Beach - Bar-Restaurant- and Hotel a few steps off the beach! In Montauk, they have the Sloppy Tuna right off Nick's Beach or for surfers, at Ditch Plains there is the famous Ditch Witch. Orient Point State Park has a nice snack bar on the beach and, of course, there are the famous snacks bars at Main Beach, East Hampton and, yes, they have lobster rolls and at Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack.

Okay, you get the picture. I am anxiously awaiting the summer season so I can lunch at a Beach Hut!

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