It’s an iconic North Fork experience…watching a gorgeous sunset over the water while sipping a glass of wine at the Soundview Inn and Restaurant. Locals and visitors alike will be very happy to hear that those evenings are back, along with a fresh new look to the seaside rooms, lively bar and beachy dining space created by founder Jack Levin and his family over the past 70 years.
“It still feels like the Soundview; that’s not going to change,” said new owner Erik Warner of Eagle Point Hotel Partners, an investment firm based in Manhattan. Warner and his business partner, Stephen Chan, have executed many multimillion-dollar projects such as the Arlo hotels in Manhattan and hospitality concerns in the Napa Valley, Maui and other top tourist destinations. The Soundview establishment and 5.5-acre property are run by Eagle Point’s management company, Filament Hospitality.
The rooms are now clad in fragrant cedar shiplap with retro metal lamps and simple, comfortable furnishings. As a single-story inn, all rooms have decks that overlook the sea and stairway access to the private sandy beach. “The cedar and the sea breeze give each room a great smell,” Warner said. “It has this wonderful sense of place.”
The new Halyard Restaurant at the Soundview is relaxed, with wooden tables and captain’s chairs. It’s the kind of place where sandy feet are expected yet the quality of food is high. Galen Zamarra, a James Beard award-winning chef and chef/partner at Mas (Farmhouse) in the West Village in Manhattan, oversees the kitchen. The menu is classic American, with an emphasis on New England style seafood. Warner recently opened another restaurant, Glorietta Trattoria, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Zagat calls Glorietta “the talk of the town,” and lists it as one of its top ten reasons to go to Jackson Hole. “That’s what I’m trying to create on the North Fork, too,” Warner said.
Becoming part of the East End is an exciting opportunity for the new team to forge relationships with local food producers, wineries, and the fishing community. “We’re using as much of the fresh, local fare as possible and we’ve gotten to know a number of local farmers and cheese makers,” said Warner. Back in the day, porgies, blowfish, flounder, fluke, striped bass, bluefish and lobsters were abundant in the North Fork waters and fishermen would bring their haul straight from the boats to the Soundview kitchen. Now, most local finfish comes from the Montauk Harbor boats, so new connections are being made.
“There’s so much going on, it’s just exploding, and we want to be a part of it.”
While Eagle Point Hotel Partners is a large investment company, the Soundview is a pet project for Warner. He constantly explores, looking for those “Aha!” places, he said, and the Soundview just jumped out at him. “I would drive by on my way to Shelter Island, and I’d think, this is the most strange and amazing place!” He stopped in one day and started a conversation that went on for about three years until a deal was made. “I’m very thankful that the Levins chose me as the buyer,” he said. “The Soundview is still in good hands. I really want it to remain a special place that people seek out and enjoy, just as they have been doing for years.”