When the beloved Jamesport Manor restaurant reopens in a few months, there will be some big changes. While the building will retain its palatial, rustic beauty, a renovated interior will complement an updated menu and more casual feel.
Chris Kar, who took over the restaurant from father Matt last February, wants Jamesport Manor to have a more welcoming and open vibe when it reopens. To accomplish that, the dining room is being completely renovated, along with a menu that features more casual, contemporary fare.
“I’m going to bring a new chapter to the life of the property, but also keep it rustic,” Kar said. “The food is going to be relatively the same if you visited in the last 12 months. It’s going to be seasonal but casual … you’re not going to feel like you need to wear a sports jacket or only come in on special occasions.”
The casual menu will also make running the kitchen more palatable. Kar said the restaurant’s previous fine dining menu, which was the focus when his family took over Jamesport Manor in 2007, is just not realistic with the smaller staff he’s working with today.
Kar said that the changes are vital to the future success of Jamesport Manor and to reflect the change and growth in the North Fork population.
“It’s been overwhelming since 2020,” he said, referring to people who have moved to the North Fork full-time from the city. “We’ve seen younger people coming in, overall, than some of the older-time locals from the past.”
Outdoor dining will also be a focus.
“We have this beautiful view of the horse farm across the street,” he said. “Between that and the [land] around us, you’re eating outside in this pristine countryside.”
From 2016 to 2020, Kar took a break from working with his family and traveled to Colorado, Florida and Bridgehampton, all places he learned from. In Colorado, Kar worked for Vail Resorts’ Game Creek Club and Beano’s Cabin and got a sense of what it was like to work in another seasonal community, albeit one whose winter season is a lot colder.
When Kar returned to the East End in 2020, he worked under Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant Executive Chef Brian Szostak, and eventually landed back at Jamesport Manor, letting his father focus exclusively on the catering side of the business.
“I learned from all these other people,” he said. “Coming back here, I feel better about executing some of these changes, because I haven’t just experienced Jamesport Manor.”
While Kar said the restaurant will have a new name, he wasn’t quite ready to reveal that. Stay tuned!