Elbow East, the longtime Southold restaurant across from Kenney’s Beach, has been sold to the owners of 668 The Gig Shack in Montauk.
The deal, brokered by Jeanmarie Bay of Town & Country Real Estate, comes as Elbow East owner Billy Berliner plans to retire.
“The Shack,” as it’s commonly referred to, is a popular beachy restaurant owned by the Gardell family in Montauk. Chef Gray Gardell-Gross serves up a seafood-focused menu that includes tuna tartare tacos, fish “Montacos” and East End staples like a lobster roll.
The property was listed at $1.495 million, but Bay did not disclose the final price. The deal is expected to close next week.
Berliner first started working at Elbow East in 1988 and has owned it since 1999.
“I’m 69 years old and it was time for me,” he said. “I’m spending more time in Florida than I am here, and you’ve gotta be here to run the business. It’s bittersweet, but I’m ready.”
Elbow East will close after this Sunday’s Super Bowl festivities, but the turnaround will be fast. Arden Gardell, who runs the Montauk business with his parents and two brothers, said they’re aiming to open the new restaurant in May.
“We’re here for the long haul,” Gardell said. “We want to create something we think will become an iconic location for the residents, summer tourists and passers-by, all at the same time.”
The menu will be a mix of The Shack’s offerings, some dishes from the current Elbow East and unique items, but Gardell said everything — including a new name — is an evolving concept as they prepare for the summer season.
“There’s so much we don’t know yet,” said Gardell, who recently moved to Greenport with fiancé Reina Miller, daughter Hazel and Black Labrador Bella. “We’re taking it one step at a time, trying to figure out what the new generation is going to look like. We hope everyone who sees us takes a moment to introduce themselves and say hi and come by when we get the doors open.”