Josh Guberman, and Michael
Wudyka of The Guberman Group.
Josh Guberman, Morgan
Shara, and Michael Wudyka
raise glasses of cranberry
juice to toast their
commitment to Remote
Culatello with burrata.
Ambroeus in Southampton.
A rainy lunchtime in Southampton becomes a lot brighter when friends meet to enjoy the cuisine of SantAmbroeus’s chef Fabio Gutierrez. Josh Guberman, who spent 25 years developing luxury properties in NYC before expanding his business presence to East Hampton, and Morgan Shara, The Guberman Group’s creative director, take a corner booth. The health-conscious duo orders small plates to share, while awaiting their friend and colleague Michael Wudyka, the company’s director of Hamptons development.
Guberman began the business that would become the Core Development Group, constructing and managing multiple properties around NYC, before expanding to the Hamptons, founding The Guberman Group in 2011 and growing his portfolio to include Core and brands like Crush Wines. Today, the company consists of endeavors that include multimillion-dollar properties that represent the diverse interests of a man whose driving force is to create quality construction projects and build the community.
When did you realize the Hamptons is a special place?
JOSH GUBERMAN: When I started going to Quogue with my best friend and his family when I was 10…. The town was pretty much the way that it is today: one long main street with a general store; around the corner was a soda shop where you could get egg creams, a milk shake, or a burger. MORGAN SHARA: When I was first married I [traveled] all over Europe—Israel, Turkey, Greece—and my mantra was, “I want to see the world, not the Hamptons.” It is so different than what I experience here now, which is being with my family and enjoying a different take on being in this incredible place. [The Hamptons] is now about community for me. I think my time abroad was about seeking out something deeper and more meaningful. Interestingly enough, I discovered those things here at home.
How has the expansion of Core Development into The Guberman Group allowed you to grow?
JG: It’s really about joining the group and allowing u s to curate the best that exists—art, design, and charity. Through Guberman Group Gives [the philanthropic branch of the business] we have a strong commitment to Remote Area Medical (RAM), which specializes in dental and optical Appalachia. We funded half their buses last year to take 800 people [and take care of] everything from cutting lenses for their glasses to dental challenges. It has been an important organization for Michael [Wudyka], who introduced me to a lot of local and regional causes.
What about SantAmbroeus makes this a regular stop in a town renowned for great chefs and great food?
JG: We’ve been doing a paleo eating program, which is essentially no processed sugar, no dairy— except for this amazing burrata—and no carbohydrates. The food here is such a wonderful platform for that. The variety of salads is exceptional, with the seafood salad being an all-time favorite. It is a European-style meal where you are getting all of your protein for the day. That’s how we experience SantAmbroeus, and that’s why we keep coming back. MS: Not to mention the service here is wonderful, and the family and staff always make us feel welcome. It is such a key place in the community and makes our little group feel at home as we come here to share amazing food in a warm atmosphere.
[A rain splattered, smiling Michael Wudyka joins the party.]
Hello Michael, what were you doing before you arrived?
MICHAEL WUDYKA: We have three projects going on right now, with a lot of moving parts all at one time. Between the million e-mails and phone calls, it is a little bit of a blur. I’ve got to be sure this train keeps moving. MS: When we started doing these projects in the Hamptons, we realized that we needed someone who knows the market and the people, has a background in construction and business, and could essentially act as a “mayor” of the Hamptons for us. Michael became an amazing addition to the team; he oversees everything that goes on at all of the properties every day. MW: I’ve been out here for 15 years running my hotel [The Enclave Inn in Bridgehampton] and a studio. I was born and raised in the construction business in Detroit and was familiar with construction and real estate in the Hamptons, so I came with a good understanding of the market. It is nice to bring a wealth of knowledge because it allows us to do our projects the right way. Josh has a philosophy that it doesn’t matter what you see, it’s what’s underneath that counts. It is very interesting to have the ability to do it the right way every time.
What are your favorite aspects of the Hamptons?
MS: The drum circles on Sagg Main Beach is one of our favorite weekday activities because the weekend is over and the crowd has died down. We take a picnic and get caught up in the amazing energy that goes on. JG: For me Montauk Point is the tip of the whole deal. It is so special to me because of the rustic nature of old Montauk. As soon as I pass Amagansett and Gurney’s [Inn], I start to feel it. My dear friend Brian Leaver’s brother Rusty runs Deep Hollow Ranch, which is exceptional. Cooper Beach is my heart. I am from the village, so a walk or a run on the beach or even to just park my car for a few minutes and enjoy the ocean is really important to me. Besides SantAmbroeus, we frequent 75 Main and Barrister’s Restaurant, also The American Hotel in Sag Harbor. MW: When you live here year-round, you get your favorite alcoves to which you take a sandwich, sit in your car at the beach, and watch the ocean. I have to see the ocean every day, even if it’s just a quick drive-by.
With your commitment to one another and the community, what is next for your team?
MS: Having the business take off in the Hamptons has given us motivation to do more. We want to bring RAM out here to serve people in the community who are struggling. I am much less interested in the $10,000-a-table events and much more interested in being hands-on and helping our neighbors. MW: There is a lot of uniqueness that each of us brings to the table. Our different views, upbringings, philosophies, and different ways of doing things work because of our ability to communicate with one another and not just in the product that we create, but the love that we share among ourselves and with friends. When you walk through the door, you are family, and you’re stuck with us.