P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y T K ; I L L U S T R A T I O N B Y T K
The lobster roll at Silver's is served with a mound of tail meat atop an EliZabar brioche bun.
: The lemon tart is a favorite sweet treat at Silver's.
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SOME THINGS NEVERCHANGE
You might think that Silver’s vintage 1911 NCR cash register isan heirloom dating back to the store’s original inception. Notso. Wellins bought the antique several years back, thinking itwould add a touch of nostalgia to the restaurant. Themaximum the till can ring up is $69.95, which should beenough to keep the price of that lobster roll in check.
sometimes have a rude awakening. The lethal combination of the New York City newspaper strike (1962),the New York City transit strike (1966), and the relocation of the local post office caused what Wellins refers to as a “mercantile vacuum” on MainStreet, and his father was forced to rethink the business model or close upshop. He spent his last $5,000 to purchase a secondhand soda fountain andSilver’s was—once again—reborn. “It was a modest menu, my dad had noformal training,” recalls Wellins, “but he was eager to survive and looking to create something unique.” The historic building, which dates backmore than 100 years, reveals black and white linoleum floors, a bar made froma thick slab of marble, finely polishedbrass fixtures, and cream-colored wallsthat hold not Norman Rockwells, but original paintings by Wellins’s mother,Bess Silver. Trained as a dancer, Wellins’smom “always had some kind of art thing going,” he says. “She was a draftsman dur-ing World War II and eventually studiedat the Corcoran College of Art & Designin Washington, DC.” The paintings of dancers and nearby estates (which can bepurchased for the right price) add anotherlayer of local flavor to the restaurant, but it is the fresh, European-inspired menu that keeps customers coming back.“I did most of the grunt work when we went into the food business,” says Wellinsof his culinary training. “I worked with a
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lot of good chefs and did some catering. I got interested in French pâtis-serie. The menu evolved simply, but we put a European spin on it. Myfamily is of Russian heritage, so we have borscht on the menu. When wearrived in Southampton we were some of the few ‘Red Sea’ pedestrians” (a reference from Monty Python’s
Life of Brian
). The menu relies on fresh, simply prepared ingredients, and the pricepoint doesn’t shy away from the fact that Silver’suses only the best. Carb-free din-ers beware: an irresistible chunkof warm, toasty bread will arrive,drenched in fruity olive oil andspiked with garlic and fresh pars-ley. You will not be able to resist it and with good cause. It’s theperfect accompaniment to creamyBurrata, basil, and tomato. Thisalone could be lunch, but then you’dbe missing out on the restaurant’ssignature seafood dishes. The lobsterroll may carry a hefty price tag, but the heaping mound of tail meat on anEli Zabar brioche bun ($40), lightlydressed with mayonnaise and chopped
Silver's menu has evolved frommodest beginnings to moresophisticated lunch offerings.