Hamptonites rejoice for new Round Swamp Farm store
For some Hamptonites, this is the most exciting thing to happen in Montauk since word that the Surf Lodge spent $1.4 million on new toilets — Round Swamp Farm is opening a third outpost.
The cute, rustic, family-owned and -operated market, which serves the 1 percent of the 1 Percent, will open in Montauk in June, adding to the shop in Bridgehampton and the original in East Hampton.
The new outpost gives us one more place to happily drop $25 on Guacamole Salad (not to be confused with regular guacamole), $11 on a small (20 chips-ish) bag of hand-crafted Round Swamp Farm Tortilla Chips, the most expensive (but most fabulous) tomatoes on the planet, or any number of restaurant-quality premade dishes.
Better yet, Picnic Chicken, which ceased being sold at Round Swamp a couple of years ago, reappeared on Memorial Day weekend. Phew. The demise of this best-eaten-cold-on-the-beach $25 fried chicken once caused near riots in East Hampton.
If you can navigate the hungry, hysterical haves and have-mores melting down when Lisa’s Assorted Berry Muffins are sold out, or the sea of Porsches, Range Rovers and Bentleys (oh, my!) battling for space in Round Swamp’s tiny parking lot off Three Mile Harbor, it’s well worth the stress and cost. Every piece of produce and every bite of food sold there is pure deliciousness.
But if you walk in the door, assume you’ll drop $100 minimum, no matter what few items you intend to buy. Basically, it’s a tax for entering. And when you get to the register, you won’t quite know what you’re paying for because most items don’t have prices on them. (Some have microscopic price tags, and there are some price lists — small type — posted slightly out of eye range.)
That means with only five items in your basket you’ll get to the register and think: What made this so expensive? Was it the $22 bag of Bikini Crunch mixed nuts? The $15 container of six fried wontons? Or the $30 Tri-Berry Pie?
You’ll be too ashamed to ask because Sarah Jessica Parker is behind you in line with an overflowing basket of joy.
Forget Nick & Toni’s or Serafina. People are so obsessed with the food at Round Swamp, legend has it that at the end of one summer, a customer bought 100 packages of Lisa’s Cinnamon Rolls (four in a dish) to take back to the city for the off season. But then she panicked that her stash wouldn’t last, so she had them put 100 more on the Jitney the next day. (Where does one store that many rolls in a New York City apartment?)
For those in the know and on the ball, there is a frequent-flier punch card that gives a 25 percent discount after a number of $50 purchases (making the food only slightly, not insanely, expensive). I got my card when they opened in May this year, but they told me they’ve already run out.
Most importantly: Round Swamp in East Hampton closes at noon on Sundays. Everybody always forgets and freaks out. It also usually shuts down for 10 days or so on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend before closing for winter the week of Thanksgiving.
In the Hamptons, that’s power.
Stephanie Krikorian is a celebrity ghostwriter and author of the forthcoming book “Zen Bender: A Decade-Long Enthusiastic Quest to Fix Everything (That Was Never Broken),” out on Aug. 15.
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