Two letters mean a lot in Montauk. A whole lot, it turns out.
Over the summer, the space that was once Montauk’s iconic Dave’s Grill reopened as TT’s Montauk, a taco, tequila, and raw bar with a breezy, Bohemian feel. Think Marfa meets Montauk: A pink neon sign brightens the small dining room, while other bespoke accents, like terra cotta pots, painted pink, assert a youthful sensibility. Where Dave’s Grill was a little outdated (although who didn’t like the Astroturf in the patio area?), TT’s is restrained cheekiness.
But what happens to a restaurant in Montauk once the season has ended? The end has been the slowest to catch up to the rest of the Hamptons when it comes to year-round dining. A local business owner recently lamented to me the loss of the last Chinese restaurant, which famously boasted, “You hook ‘em, we cook ‘em” as its tagline. That restaurant is now home to a lobster roll takeout joint, and Montauk has a hole where Asian dining once was.
Which is to say: There isn’t necessarily something for everyone in Montauk, at least as far as dining is concerned. When the days get shorter, so, too does the list of restaurants that remain open. TT’s is one of several establishments hoping to tip the scales in favor of year-round diners.
The original concept, which pushed a selection of tacos, a long, curated list of tequilas, and a raw seafood menu, has, therefore, grown with the season. The seasonal name of TT’s is now BB’s, and instead of tacos they serve burgers (as well as other cool-weather items). The list of so-called “smashburgers” is slim. BB’s offers a grass-fed hamburger, grass-fed cheeseburger, grass-fed bacon-cheeseburger, “Viking 5-star” (a double-bacon-cheeseburger, topped with macaroni and cheese and a fried egg), and an impossible burger. The burgers all come with BB’s take on Thousand Island “special sauce,” as well as skinny, skinless, salty fries.
Other chilly weather offerings include Buffalo wings, a bacon-laced macaroni and cheese, a take on the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, steak frites, fish and chips, French onion soup, yucca chips with a French onion and lime dip, a pulled pork sandwich, and a Philadelphia-style cheesesteak. It’s a relatively small menu, but one that will warm the bones of any Montauk diner looking for sustenance in the dead of winter.
Cocktails and drinks remain holdovers from the TT’s days. A frozen piña colada comes in two sizes, so you can pretend it’s summer, even if it isn’t. The list of tequilas is impressive, bolstered by a selection of añejos that will make the most dedicated tequila drinker drool in anticipation. Such fuller-bodied tequilas are best for drinking slowly in cold temperatures, anyway, so BB’s has hit the mark in this regard.
On a recent fall afternoon, I sat on the covered deck, which offers the majority of the restaurant’s seating. I expect that this front area won’t remain open into the coldest months. The décor of TT’s will not be changing, either, and that’s a good thing. The subdued pinks and greens are a reminder of summer, even in inclement weather. If the chill in the air doesn’t feel particularly reminiscent of summer, rest assured that the batik wall hangings, pink potted plants, and neon lights definitely do.
BB’s, like so many things, is not forever. TT’s will return to its original concept in the spring. Until then, they welcome, with open arms, any Montauk local or wayward traveler looking to enjoy the silence and solitude of fall and winter on the East End. After all, tacos are so last season.