It is not an easy feat to distill the story of Bostwick’s, the famous chowder house that now calls East Hampton’s Pantigo Road home. As with all real estate stories on eastern Long Island, this is a long one. And it begins with a teenage friendship between Chris Eggert and Kevin Boles.
Eggert had worked in East Hampton restaurants from a young age, beginning his back-of-the-house career as a dishwasher at Michael’s, which gave him a capable vantagepoint to assess the successes and failures of the dining scene. Boles, on the other hand, came from a restaurant family that owned a number of pubs in New York City. In 1990, while the two worked side-by-side in the kitchen of the now-closed Little Rock Yacht Club in Springs, Eggert suggested that Boles stay for a summer out east. Like so many of us, he stayed forever, forging a partnership with Eggert that has since become legendary among Hamptons restaurant folk.
That restaurant, the Little Rock Yacht Club, upon the departure of its owner, became the first Eggert-Boles endeavor. The pair called it “Bostwick’s,” recalling a favorite fishing spot. Eventually the restaurant relocated to Gann Road, to a waterfront space that has been, for the past six years, home to Bay Kitchen Bar. The name became Bostwick’s Seafood Grill. When the lease on that property expired, in 2010, Bostwick’s moved to the current space on Pantigo, which was previously home to a restaurant called Cherrystone’s, also owned and operated by Eggert and Boles. In the process, the spot changed names, becoming Bostwick’s Chowder House. The new space will assume another addendum to its name. It will be called Bostwick’s on the Harbor.
It’s a funny thing, restaurant space. So much of what we see, particularly out here on the East End, is readily recyclable. In that sense, it is perfectly appropriate that the Gann Road space, longest-standing home of Bostwick’s thus far, will welcome its restaurant back this spring. Bostwick’s Chowder House will continue to serve East Hampton from the Pantigo Road space, while on the water, Springs residents will be able to enjoy a stunning waterfront view and the same comprehensive lobster roll that’s offered at the alternate location.
In those intervening years, the Eggert-Boles team has developed into a successful restaurateur juggernaut, creating, in 2007, Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett, as well as a number of other businesses that have opened over the years. But one of their most successful projects to date has been Bostwick’s Chowder House, which is never without a line, no matter the month (the restaurant is still seasonal).
Next door, the pair also owns a catering business that operates using Bostwick’s as an inspiration. They cater full clambakes, with tiki torches, LED candles, fleece blankets, portable Bluetooth speakers, and bistro lighting all offered for an added personal touch. Menus are customizable, of course, but guests can generally choose from a number of land-and-sea-inspired options, including steamed lobster, local corn-on-the-cob, new potatoes with parsley and butter, barbecued chicken, littleneck clams, shrimp cocktail, and more. The restaurant is capable of catering both small and large events (and even weddings).
So, what’s next for Bostwick’s? Will the return to Gann Road mark a turning point for this Hamptons business? Will they offer a Happy Hour comparable to the one offered by their Bay Kitchen Bar predecessor? That, friends, remains to be seen. In the meantime, we can only hope that the waterfront iteration of this longstanding establishment offers the same accessible, delicious food as it always has, including the addictive lobster roll. And hey, Bostwick’s, if you’re listening: It’s never a bad idea to offer dollar oysters to the locals.