July 18, 2017
By Sylvie Bigar | June 21, 2017 | Lifestyle
The 1770 House is celebrating its 15th anniversary, while Chef Michael Rozzi has been cooking on Main Street for 20 years!
Charm and tradition mingle elegantly in all aspects of the 1770 House, beginning with its front entrance.
As 1770 House, the East Hampton inn and restaurant, celebrates 15 years in its current incarnation, charming mysteries still abound. “We don’t know why it’s called that,” says Richard Barons, senior curator of the East Hampton Historical Society. “The house was most probably built in the 1750s.” Owners Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, who grew up in the area, fell in love with its memories. “It all started as a real estate acquisition,” said Krupinski, a builder who specializes in luxury homes, “but I am a history buff.” So when he uncovered a mysterious bulge in a wall and found a bottle hiding a message dating from 1873 detailing that year’s renovation, he framed both.
Most bottles, however, reside in the cellar, where restaurant manager and wine director Michael Cohen attends to a collection of about 2,500 specimens, representing more than 250 wines. “My heart lives in France and Spain,” he says. “But as I seek new wines, I always think of our regulars.” A certified sommelier, Cohen sees himself as a storyteller. “Tableside, I try to paint a picture.” More than 20 half-bottles (including a 2012 Joseph Phelps Insignia) can be found on the list, adorned since 2007 with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Beyond the famous labels, there are many lesser-known micro-producers from around the world. “It’s all about trust,” says Cohen. “I ask, ‘Do you want to take a trip to Spain tonight?’”
In the kitchen, executive chef Michael Rozzi steers easily between pub fare for the intimate tavern downstairs and new American for the dining room and patio; between Korean BBQ Berkshire ribs, and seared Hudson Valley foie gras with pineapple, vanilla rum, and duck jus. Rozzi’s family has been anchored on the East End for three generations, and his steady relationships with farmers and local fishermen show on his seasonal menu.
No one knows who the lady is in the portrait adorning the staircase that leads to the cozy bedrooms, but it might as well be an ancestor of the true lady of the house, Bonnie Krupinski. “The Smithsonian wanted the 1600s cherrywood paneling in the sitting room,” she says, “but we decided to keep it.”
In this era when casual dining reigns and white tablecloths are often shunned, 1770 House, with its picket fence and garden, feels like a private mansion curated by a dedicated crew. The good news is that an invitation is only a phone call away!
143 Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-1770; 1770house.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUG YOUNG