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At Sip n Soda, Nostalgia Sides Up With Burgers And Friends, Old And New

Originally Posted: April 09, 2008

Mariah Quinn

  |   14 Comments · Print Article

The stools along the counter draw a steady stream of customers in search of burgers, fries, eggcreams, homemade ice cream and talk of the town. Photos by Mariah Quinn

Southampton - When Sip 'n Soda opened its doors on Hampton Road in 1958 eager customers settled onto the runway of lunch stools along the counter, sampling a steady stream of burgers, club sandwiches, and homemade ice cream. Now, 50 years later, though some customers have changed, the counter stools and classic 1950s look remain a calling card of a luncheonette that continues to be a mainstay of village life as change goes on around them.

Mark Parash, who runs Sip 'n Soda with his uncle Jim, is the third
generation Parash to help run the family business.

"We're Greeks and we're stubborn," Mark Parash, who runs the restaurant with his uncle Jim, joked commenting on the familiar decor. "Remember the old adage? If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Sip 'n Soda was founded by Parash's grandparents, William and Nicolleta, and has remained a family business ever since. William Parash's sons, Jim and Paul, later took over the business, joined by Mark, Paul's son, in 1993. "My father was involved until the day he couldn't be," Parash said of his father Paul who died in February of this year at the age of 74. "The opportunity to work with my father and my uncle on a daily basis" made the job worth doing, Parash said. "I learned a lot from them."

"I love it," he added. "No one looks after you like family."

The family's relationship with the East End goes back to the 1920s, when William Parash first opened The Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton. The family also owned the Paradise Sweet Shop on the North Fork. Mark Parash, third generation to the local lineage, isn't certain why his family settled on Long Island. "That's something my father and grandfather couldn't answer," he said, noting it might have been that there were other Greek families settling nearby.

The customers, some of whom are friends from high school and others who knew his grandparents, provide the luncheonette with strong links to the community and to the history of Southampton. The reason Sip 'n Soda has thrived is due in no small part to that "tremendous community support," Parash said. "It's rewarding because it's such a special place." In a restaurant world of up-market eateries and ever changing food fashions, Sip 'n Soda has remained "strictly an old-fashioned luncheonette," he added.

Sip 'n Soda, opened in 1958, has retained its classic luncheonette look.

Mark, now 37, didn't work at Sip 'n Soda when he was younger "I think that's why I'm here now," he joked. "I didn't get burned out." While in elementary school, Parash had permission to walk over to Sip 'n Soda during his lunch break. "I felt like a big shot," he recalled, adding, "There were a lot of laughs."

Now, as he works the proprietor's side of the counter, Parash is quick to give plaudits to the staff, "the first line of defense" during the "controlled chaos" that arrives with the summer months. "We have a really great staff. It's one of the reasons we've been successful," he said.

During summer months Sip 'n Soda stays open late to fill the demand for ice cream.

Longevity is key, as one waitress has been waiting tables at the restaurant for seven years, another for three, and Parash's high school friend Scott Jarzombeck has worked at the restaurant for twenty. On a rainy day in the summer, when the restaurant is crammed with customers, Parash said he looks at his staff and thinks "they're being troopers."

The long hours spent in Sip 'n Soda afford Parash the opportunity to stay in touch with his past while staying fresh on events and happenings, small and large, that occur in Southampton. From some of the older customers, "I get told stories about my grandparents," Parash said.

Over the lunch counter, a dish of gossip and political sides are traded, and, on slower days, he and a regular patron share the crossword. In fact, he knows so many people from his years at the restaurant that on a recent trip to Mexico, "I bumped into a gentleman I knew from here," Parash said. "It's a small world."

Although the pace may be quick at Sip 'n Soda, it remains, as Parash put it, "a throwback," adapting to changing times without foregoing an eggcream for customers looking for a taste of nostalgia. "There's a comfort in that," Parash assured.

According to Parash, breakfast is more popular in the summer, while lunch service draws bigger crowds during winter months.

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Guest (Fred Rakity) from NYC says::
I gave some comments before, however I have been there recently and to see Jimmy made me realize how lucky I was to know him and of course have the best memories. I went to Southampton College and played basketball for SC. We didn't have a gym on campus in those days...65-69 so we practiced and played all our at Southampton High School. Every day before practice we went to Sip N Soda. We developed great friendships with Jimmy and Paul. We were very lucky guys. Mark, keep it going pal.
Mar 26, 2017 3:36 pm

Guest (Fred Rakity) from NY NY says::
Stole as many doughnuts as i possibly could from Jim and Paul. Everytime i go back to visit Jim and Mark i leave an extra 5 bucks to pay them back.When i went to the college Jim and Paul were the kindest. Paul cooked and Jimmy watched the money.
Feb 20, 2015 4:47 pm

Guest (Nikki) from Brooklyn, NY says::
My boyfriend and I visited there yesterday, I loved the classic feel and decor of the place. The Lime Rickeys were awesome! Definitely a great place to catch a bite after a long day at the beach. Being a Southern girl, now living in the City, I love visiting places like Southampton, to get away from the city. We will definitely come back just for another Lime Rickey at Sip n' Soda.
Aug 13, 2012 4:13 pm

Guest (Dara and Matt) from Mastic says::
we visisted your place today...it was about to close but we were able to get a shake...and i must say was very good!!! We will be back again to try out the food!!!
Dec 14, 2011 6:39 pm

Guest (richard gutierrez) from canada says::
hi jim- sorry to hear about paul- nice to see you keep going!!! and going!!!!!! nice to know there is great ice cream in the world- take care richard gutierrez
Sep 18, 2009 2:04 pm

Guest (Jordan Jarzombek!!!) from spring tx says::
omg, no way. im going to be working there this summer!!! i can not wait!!! love you uncle scott:) x0x0 jordan:)
May 28, 2009 4:40 pm

Guest (Geraldine and Liam Mannion) from Offaly Ireland says::
Jul 8, 2008 4:34 pm

Guest (Margot R.Horn) from Southampton, New York says::
Hi Mark, I am sooo happy you are enjoying your father's favorite spot! I remember 1964 and Bob Keene etc. when I first discovered Southampton being an immigrant from New York City and Rye, NY.
Apr 30, 2008 12:00 am

Guest (joan profera benoit joanne younghans paolillo) from sip 'n soda says::
having lived in southampton in the summers in the 50's and 60's we enjoyed many a happy time at sip'n soda. we are reminising as we read through your web site. thanks for taking us down memory lane. our best to BEA and Jim PARASH. JOAN AND JOANNE
Apr 19, 2008 7:25 pm

Guest (Faith Popcorn) from Wainscott says::
Closer to me, there is the Fabulous Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton. Like Sip'n Soda, it is an icon of a softer, gentler past. These places should be protected at all cost at they provide the Cocoons we so desperately need.
Apr 14, 2008 2:02 pm

Guest (Jim New in Town) from East Quogue says::
Even though it's been here fifty years, and sounds great, I can't go there if I don't have an address. How could you write such a laudatory article and not give their exact location so people like me can go there ????
Apr 12, 2008 12:00 am

Guest (News Editor) from Southampton, NY says::
Absolutely. It's located at 40 Hampton Road, a right turn from Main Street at light heading east. Enjoy!
Apr 12, 2008 12:00 am

Guest (dedecatcove) from southampton says::
My children are third generation lovers of Sip 'n Soda. It embodies the "beach" and village before it became "The Hamptons." And the banana ice cream is... the best! Thank you Mark for continuing the wonderful food and ambiance.
Apr 11, 2008 12:00 am

Guest (Mairead O'Chong) from Bridgewater, NJ says::
Love Jimmy Parash and his wonderful family! Have had the pleasure of having the best ice cream in the world at Sip n Soda - Did you know that Mr. Parash really thinks he is Irish????? Love Mairead
Apr 10, 2008 12:18 pm


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