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May 19, 2016 12:54 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Smorgasburg Food Expo Chances Looking Dim In Westhampton Beach

The Westhampton Beach Village Board discusses the pending Smorgasburg application BY ERIN MCKINLEY
May 25, 2016 9:20 AM

Plans to bring a scaled-back version of Smorgasburg, the popular Brooklyn food expo, to Westhampton Beach this summer are most likely going to be 86’d after several local restaurant owners mashed the idea at last week’s Village Board work session.

The board took no action at a meeting last Wednesday night, May 18, on a proposal to allow the expo’s vendors to utilize village property. Village Trustee Brian Tymann, who has been trying to drum up support for the expo over the past few weeks, pointed out to his fellow board members just before the matter was tabled that inaction on their part would likely kill the idea. He explained that officials at Smorgasburg had previously informed him that they would pull their application if the board delayed making a decision, since they need at least a month to prepare if they hope to meet the proposed start date of Friday, June 24.

But by the end of last week’s work session, board members said they were not ready to take a vote. Mayor Maria Moore said she wanted more information on the proposed refrigeration and electricity requirements for the event, which would have been held every Friday through the summer through the first week of September. She added that a vote could happen at the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Thursday, June 2.

Officials from Smorgasburg did not return calls this week seeking comment and, as of earlier this week, their application had not yet been pulled.

Smorgasburg is a weekly event held on weekends in Brooklyn from April through November. The Brooklyn version features 100 vendors and attracts roughly 10,000 visitors. The proposal for Westhampton Beach was considerably smaller with 20 Smorgasburg vendors and two local vendors setting up shop in the parking lot near Glovers Lane, close to the office for the Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce. The vendors would set up tables and offer a variety of unique foods not typically offered in the village; they would not be permitted to park their vehicles on the expo grounds.

The main argument raised by opponents, who mostly included restaurant owners, was that the Brooklyn-based company would be taking money away from local businesses without taking on any of the operating expenses associated with working in the Hamptons, like paying rent and taxes. Several owners also balked at the private company’s unwillingness to negotiate with them, noting that they had no interest in moving the festival to the offseason, when foot traffic typically slows down.

“What I wanted to express to the trustees is that this is a very dangerous experiment because the local businesses on Main Street rely on a very short season not just to make money, but to survive,” said Olga Bethan, owner of Mambo Kitchen on Main Street, which recently reopened for the season and also has a shop in Hawaii. “We are sustaining our livelihoods here, we are hiring a lot of local kids and paying taxes, and trying to make sure that the money that comes here, stays here.”

Other restaurant owners were more pointed with their unhappiness with the proposal, which was pitched as a way to attract more foot traffic to the village’s downtown business district, which also features an assortment of retail and ice cream shops.

“You are acquiescing to carpetbaggers,” said Craig Smith, owner of Goldberg’s bagel shop and deli on Main Street. “These are people with no stake in the town. If it doesn’t work, they are not coming back.”

Erin Finley, the owner of Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine on Mill Road, added: “We are happy to have it go to another Hamptons.”

Mr. Tymann said he was disappointed that plans for the food expo are not likely to go through, saying he thinks that an event like Smorgasburg would greatly benefit all of Westhampton Beach businesses, including local restaurants, by attracting more people to the village.

At last week’s work session, several individuals suggested creating a similar food expo using local vendors. While he said the suggestion was interesting, Mr. Tymann said he does not think many people would be attracted to such an event when they can already visit the main restaurant or shop.

“The way I feel about doing it ourselves is that we had a great opportunity with an established brand,” he said. “Some people in the village area live in a bit of a bubble, but the outside sources I have talked to say why travel to Westhampton because it is so dead, but they would come here if they had something like Smorgasburg.

“So,” he continued, “the long answer is I am always interested in other ideas.”

Hampton Jitney Pilot Program

Discussions regarding plans to bring a pair of Hampton Jitney bus stops to Westhampton Beach—one for eastbound and another for westbound traffic—continued last week with company CEO Geoff Lynch and Vice President Andrew Lynch saying that they are willing to consider a trial run of their proposal.

The private bus company wants to offer two stops on Mill Road, near the Village Green, so it can eliminate its current stop at the Casa Basso restaurant on Montauk Highway in Westhampton. Geoff Lynch explained that the agreement for that stop was supposed to be in place for only one year. Now, three years later, his company wants to offer a pick-up and drop-off point in the village. Hampton Jitney is also considering offering another stop at the new Hampton Business District at the Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton.

The idea was first discussed last month, with several village residents raising concerns about parking, safety and noise associated with idling buses and rowdy customers. Though fewer people echoed those concerns at last week’s meeting, both company representatives said their buses would not be idling and are environmentally friendly.

“We understand that there are other options and proposals, but our service in all of the villages and hamlets we operate in, with the exception of Riverhead, we are essentially through the center of town,” Geoff Lynch said. “We realize that in Westhampton Beach the geography is a little different, but there are other towns that are similar where we are going off of Montauk Highway, or Route 25 on the North Fork, to come through town. We are a curbside operator.”

Both Mr. Lynches said a trial period could be a option, though they would request 30 days notice if the village goes that route and ultimately decides to nix the idea.

Village officials said they are open to the idea of a trial run with the two Hampton Jitney stops, noting that they are considering designating 10 parking spots on Main Street, near the Seafield Center, for those riders who would need overnight parking.

Board members are expected to revisit the proposal at their next meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m., at Village Hall.

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What a joke, WHB is dead and you would think the stores would do anything to get people walking around town- Good try Brian Tymann
By farmlocal (83), Southampton on May 19, 16 1:11 PM
Since before the days of Mayor Bob Morgan, Westhampton Beach merchants have always been parochial, selfish and short-sighted, killing or stalling to death any remotely interesting event or effort to breath life in to this sorry village. And they scratch their heads and wounder aloud why the village has been on life support for near 30 years.
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on May 19, 16 2:22 PM
2 members liked this comment
In Simon We Trust
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on May 19, 16 2:31 PM
please read my comment below
By simonjorna (4), westhampton beach on May 20, 16 9:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did anyone think of offering the local food establishments free space at this event? It probably would have more than made up for any losses they were afraid of and introduced new people to their menus
Such a shame
There was a time when shopping and socializing on main street was the thing to do. There was fashion, art, gourmet shops and entertainment. Now there is nothing. Most of the trendy stores are gone, way too many real estate offices and very little people watching.
By ADAMSG (53), EAST QUOGUE on May 19, 16 3:07 PM
I was planning to post but ADAMSG said it all, I 100% agree. I would also like to add that Trustee Tymann seems to be the only board member who can actually see how this is a good thing for the village and it's business, so I would like to thank him. It was a postive thing that these greedy few businesses destroyed for all of us that actually wanted it. Brunetti does a great job for us locals by increasing haircuts and prices in the summer months. Needles to say I won't be going there or a few of ...more
By hamptons34 (30), Westhampton on May 19, 16 3:35 PM
Moore is owned by a residents who's she afraid of. Cant step out of the shadow. Nice to see Brian is not afraid to speak up. My prediction is he will be the next Mayor.
By realistic (472), westhampton on May 19, 16 6:40 PM
What a missed opportunity. Great job Village Board in making WHB the "Fly-Over" town of the Hamptons.
By redtroubadour (1), East Moriches on May 19, 16 9:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
Nice try Brian. I hope you are applauded for trying rather than scorned for not succeeding

A better Village would be one where on a rainy day it is the choice town to go to.
By Hambone (514), New York on May 19, 16 9:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
I've lived in WHB. At one time it was ok. You could actually spend a Saturday night at the Dodger, head over to Snapper Creek, Ottomanellis and then go to Casey's. Actually see people. It's shut down at 6pm now. Not saying it's all about the nightlife but there is nothing now. I thought Teller was bad. Moore is just insignificant. She'll be nothing but a fading memory. No leadership at all.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on May 19, 16 10:09 PM
Looking forward to another Season on Mai
All the stores on Main St are rented.
Looking forward to a New Supermarket , new stores, come down and support your local merchants, restaurants,coffee shops, bagel stores, ice cream stores, pizzarias,bars and cafes
Eat , Shop and Drink Local !
Happy Summer 16 !
See you on Main !
By Shock (48), on May 19, 16 10:34 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wow! What a disappointment! I was really looking forward to this. I've been to the event in Brooklyn and it's incredible!! All I have to say is that that owners on Main Street clearly don't understand basic economics if they fought this. So many people would come out for this event from all over Long Island. The foot traffic from this even alone would have increase their daily revenues ten fold as well as increase their long term earning potential as more people would be exposed to our tiny Main ...more
By Beachbum226 (1), Westhamton Beach on May 20, 16 6:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
This is a terrible disappointment and missed opportunity. Cheers for all of the forward thinking people who supported this.
By bgernandt (1), speonk on May 20, 16 7:09 AM
As a long time resident was quoted as saying many, many times " It's a damn shame". This is an opportunity to take our business elsewhere for ice cream, bakery and pizza. Wouldn't the owners be Shocked.
By tenn tom (259), remsenburg on May 20, 16 7:52 AM
What a disaster for the lovely WHB. Most ofthe food establishments who pushed to stop this awesome market have terrible food and others just are small minded with no thoughts of bringing WHB to the current sad sad sad
By Oh Really (3), Westhampton beach on May 20, 16 8:01 AM
Simon from BEACH BAKERY here...
I believe in free enterprise. FAIR competition, Equal opportunity.
Smorgasburg would have received an A1 location for free. Not pay any rent, except a 100 dollar permit fee. The would also have received the whole new Glovers Lane park as their almost "private" Garden with benches and all.
Water from the village, electricity from the chamber or the village, not pay any taxes, provide no sewage, would use the chamber bathrooms and portable toilets. And ...more
By simonjorna (4), westhampton beach on May 20, 16 8:02 AM
2 members liked this comment
The cost to the merchants would have been...nothing.

It would be the same cost that you spend for marketing every year...nothing.

It would expose your business to hundreds more weekly who could return in the off season instead of...nothing.

Products would be priced competitively, instead of what you have done in that regard...nothing.

Do you see where we're going here? No doubt you see...nothing!
By VOS (1241), WHB on May 20, 16 2:34 PM
Simon and shock we will as visitors to WHB weekly never step into your establishments again. Open your eyes to the village as a whole not just yourselves. You would have benefitted from 500 new visitors every Friday. bad bad bad
By Oh Really (3), Westhampton beach on May 20, 16 8:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
if Smorgasboard were hip they would have shot for Amagansett or Montauk. So WHB probably dodged a bullet with this one.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on May 20, 16 10:01 AM
dodged a bullet ?? they will go elsewhere and we are screwed we have NO options for bringing in new people to this village HOW SAD
By pgg6259 (5), westhampton beach on May 20, 16 11:14 AM
Dee from DeeAngelo's here - shame on all your anonymous commenters who refuse to put names to these despicable statements about hardworking, industrious people who put their blood, sweat, tears and hard work into trying to run Main Street businesses in the Village of Westhampton Beach. They are to be applauded - they employ local people, pay the taxes that support our schools, our library and all the amenities that you all enjoy and DONATE to the hundreds of charitable causes in our area. Embrace ...more
By foodandshelter (4), on May 20, 16 10:17 AM
WoW Dee.. thank you!!!!
By simonjorna (4), westhampton beach on May 20, 16 9:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Alright, that kinda made sense...Can't help wonder why Westhampton "feels" dead but that made sense...
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on May 20, 16 11:15 PM
Street food..garbage all over the streets..what is this romance with street food?
By holding forth (2), remsenburg on May 20, 16 11:13 AM
Thanks Dee well said
To clarify some truth here as well
The Village was trying to negotiate a deal, to come up with a slight compromise, it came back as NON NEGOTIABLE , so there its no ones fault of the village or the local businesses here. The village was willing to give it a go, on the villages terms , not good enough so we move on !
I have never heard of someone being non negotiable, in business . I am sure something good will come from this
By Shock (48), on May 20, 16 11:16 AM
Thanks Dee well said
To clarify some truth here as well
The Village was trying to negotiate a deal, to come up with a slight compromise, it came back as NON NEGOTIABLE , so there is not fault of the village or the local businesses here. The village was willing to give it a go, on the villages terms , not good enough so we move on !
I have never heard of someone being non negotiable, in business . New ideas are great keep them coming !!
By Shock (48), on May 20, 16 11:21 AM
I'll be sure to come in and negotiate the same prices I can get for clothes, food, drinks, ice cream and baked goods 6 miles north, east and west of here. This is the real reason the thousands of people a week that drive right through the village everyday during the summer to Cupsogue don't stop. They don't want pay the rediculous prices charged for these things when they go elsewhere and in most occasions be on the water paying reasonable prices. John Scotts and Beach Hut get it around here. The ...more
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on May 20, 16 12:32 PM
Not to mention that everybody leaves this town to buy gas at a $1+ less a gallon everywhere I mentioned above gives them excuses to go north, east and west of here. Perhaps you business owners should speak with owners at the two gas stations and get them to charge a more competitive price so it gives people one less ( but very important) reason to leave town.
By Hollywood (86), Westhampton Beach on May 20, 16 1:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you to all the great customers we do have, both local, snowbirds and summer! Your patronage is what keeps us going and it is our privilege and pleasure to do so. Our suppliers, purveyors and employees thank you, as well!

Looking forward to a great summer in a beautiful Village - enjoy!
By foodandshelter (4), on May 20, 16 11:37 AM
DeeAngelo's? What/where the heck is that????
By getalife (61), Southampton on May 20, 16 2:09 PM
across the Post office, next to Ride Aid. One of the many Mom and Pop places in town who make the village so beautiful with her outdoor seating and nice planters.
By simonjorna (4), westhampton beach on May 20, 16 9:53 PM
1 member liked this comment
...go crazy

By Slobbafin (1), Westhampton on May 20, 16 2:20 PM
To celebrate the killing of Smorgasburg, the responsible merchants of Westhampton Beach will instead have weekly Friday night "Head in the Sand Specials." There will be no improved service, no reduced prices, no promotions and no publicity. In other words, business as usual. Those merchants will be too busy mining that "gold in the streets" to see that the motherlode is gone, but they will have accomplished their goal.

So, come on out for "Head in the Sand" Fridays and see the empty ...more
By VOS (1241), WHB on May 20, 16 2:44 PM
3 members liked this comment
I'd rather go to riverheadvtheyverkcomr new ideas and opportunities and have great food
By Oh Really (3), Westhampton beach on May 21, 16 8:45 AM
As a long time homeowner , very very excited to hear that our town was invited to host smorgasbord - I am very very disappointed that this tremendous opportunity was denied to the residents by whom - who would make this insane decision. Certainly not retailers who can only benefit , the local government must surely have been behind it....as they represent the best interests of the people? Baffled and angry. Can we do anything about this or should I move to Southampton who likely will benefit from ...more
By Lovewesthampton (1), Westhampton on May 21, 16 2:03 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'm amazed at all these people who think the local retailers should accept this proposal during the summer months when this is THEIR SEASON to make up for all the slow months the rest of the year. Yeah, Smorgasburg is a fun idea, but how about off season when it's slow out here, not during the time when the town is already busy. Simon made excellent points about parking. Besides affecting the local merchants businesses, where would everyone park. It would be an enormous disaster. Kudos to those ...more
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on May 22, 16 7:32 AM
Main St 's in general are becoming Dinosaurs. We are lucky to have a vibrant Main St in Westhampton Beach. In the summer our Main St comes alive with outdoor movies on Monday Night , Kids on The Green on Tuesdays, Thursday Night Concerts ,A Marina that welcomes Boaters to stay and visit our village , A StandUp Paddle Board Business thanks to the Mayors forward thinking of utilizing our waterways to allow a new business to set up shop there, Outdoor Music and outdoor dining throughout our village. ...more
By Shock (48), on May 22, 16 10:03 AM
Specialty quality foodie events during the high season organized by a non resident venue vendor sounds fun and enterprising but in reality is not supporting locals concerns. For those of us who fought long and hard to build, get pemits, and open interlopers from up west or even farther out east would certainly reduce local business income. I agree most of the food offered in WHB is no where close to what one can choose from gourmet Napa Valley but quite frankly the beachy casual summer crowd is ...more
By B. DiPietro (4), Baru on Jun 2, 16 2:44 AM
We would like the Smorgasborg in Hampton Bays. Can you come here? please?
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Jun 2, 16 7:27 AM
Wow what POS you local business owners are and pathetic when it comes to economics. My family which has a footprint of about 15 people will all be boycotting Simons bakery. How short sighted can you be? This town has fallen so far
By Richardseltzer (1), Westhampton on Jun 15, 16 8:20 AM