Silver's now has Ryan Wellins at the helm
Although this is no longer the official website for Silver's in South Hampton, the new owners of the domain kept the site's 2013 -2016 archived content as well as outside reviews from several years for the inadvertent visitor who ends up here looking for information about Silver's.
The restaurant is now open with Ryan Wellins at the helm and is still serving lunch daily from 11:00 Am to 3:00 PM.
15 Main St
Phone: (631) 283-6443
Silver's Restaurant Is Going To Stay In The Family After All
Oct 2, 2018 Publication: The Southampton Press
At 31, Ryan Wellins is going to take the helm of his family's restaurant at Silver's in Southampton Village. JD ALLEN"
UPDATED: Oct 2, 2018 12:42 PM By JD Allen
It looks like Silver’s in Southampton Village won’t be going anywhere anytime soon after all.
The restaurant, and the 1905 two-story building housing it, was on the market for a month after Garrett Wellins, the third generation owner of the luncheonette on Main Street, announced in September that he wanted to retire.
But now, Silver’s is not for sale—and his son, Ryan Wellins, will be at the helm in coming months.
“After you make a big move and decision, like I did, to put the restaurant on the market, the family starts talking,” said the elder Mr. Wellins. “My son Ryan had expressed great interest in continuing the business. Out of respect and deference to his long dedication and help, I officially took it off the market—and I am going to groom him to do this thing here.
“It stays. We stay,” he continued.
Silver’s has been on Main Street in one way, shape or form since 1923. The original location was next door, where the Village Cheese Shop stands today, as a cigar shop run by Max and Mollie Silver. Their daughter Bess Silver married the son of a Southampton tailor, Daniel Wellins.
Garrett Wellins spent much of his childhood helping out around his grandparents’ shop, which had eventually branched out into a general store of sorts—complete with candy, newspapers, paperback novels and magazines, Pringle of Scotland sweaters, British woolens, military surplus fatigues, pea coats, Levi’s, electronics and smoking accouterments.
As a father, Mr. Wellins kept his son largely out of the family business—encouraging him to make his own future. Circumstances changed while he was a student at Southampton High School. To help his son make some money—and keep him out of trouble, too—Mr. Wellins had his son help close Silver’s every day.
After high school, the younger Mr. Wellins studied for two years at Suffolk County Community College, but remained working in the restaurant, picking up new skills. He didn’t take any formal culinary classes, but he said he can now prepare everything on the menu.
“I have become proficient in the kitchen, in running the kitchen,” the 31-year-old said.
So when his father, who is nearing 65 years old, announced last month that he wanted to retire, the younger Mr. Wellins started thinking about how much the restaurant meant to him.
“After my Dad indicated his desire to retire and put the property on Main Street for sale, I had time to think, and I convinced my Dad to continue the restaurant operation with the intent of taking over operations from my Dad once he has prepared me for the transition,” he said.
Day-in and day-out, the father-son duo has run Silver’s as a team for the last few years. The younger Mr. Wellins goes to Schmidt’s Market & Produce in North Sea most mornings with a shopping list, and then his father prepares the stocks and the vegetables at the restaurant. One will work the hot foods and the other the cold foods during the lunch service.
“There are no secret ingredients, just high-quality ingredients,” the younger Mr. Wellins said. “That’s what makes everything taste so good. And I have a good eye for picking out fresh ingredients. … I don’t know if I will change anything, but I will try to do the best of my ability to do what we do right.”
After 95 Years, Silver's Restaurant May Be Changing Out Of Family Hands
August, 2018 12:42 PM
By JD Allen
Garrett Wellins started working at the family business in Southampton Village in 1962, when he was 8 years old.
Silver’s on Main Street wasn’t always the lunch-only destination it is today. It was originally Silver’s Cigar Store, and it was run by his grandparents Max and Mollie Silver.
Now, as Mr. Wellins approaches 65, he has put Silver’s restaurant, and the 1905 two-story building housing it, on the market.
“I am going to be here until it changes hands,” Mr. Wellins said. “I will be open six days a week in September. I’ll cut back in October, November and as we approach the holidays. But I’ll be here—until I am not.
“I have stewarded the care of this place for many years, and I would like to think I have done a good job at maintaining it and giving it the love that it deserves, because it has given me so much and my family.”
When Silver’s opened in 1923, Max and Mollie Silver had just moved to town after operating a cigar store in New Jersey. The original location of the cigar shop was next door, where the Village Cheese Shop stands today.
Children would come into the shop to ask Max Silver for help with their mathematics homework—Mr. Silver moonlighted as an engineer at Agawam Aircraft, making components for the Grumman Navy fighter planes during World War II.
The Wellins family were tailors in Southampton, and soon enough their daughter Bess Silver and Daniel Wellins were married and made a family of their own.
As a child, Garrett Wellins did menial jobs, like sweeping the floor and taking out the trash. All around was the hustle and bustle of a stationery and cigar store—complete with all of the candy, newspapers, paperback novels and magazines, as well as all of the accoutrements of smoking.
He does not remember ever stealing sweets from behind the counter. “My father had a keen eye on me—and, frankly, I never had to take anything,” Mr. Wellins said.
What he remembers clear as day: Sitting on his grandfather’s lap as Max fed him cookies.
The first time Mr. Wellins was brought to the family store, he was 5 years old. The village, in many ways, had a different character to it than the crowd it attracts now, he recalled. Southampton Village was enjoying somewhat of a renaissance. Many of the restaurants in the area began catering to a dining-out experience, especially at the Post House and Herb McCarthy’s Bowden Square. Boutique shops were on the rise, but Saks Fifth Avenue was still the shop of choice. Celebrities were seen walking up and down Main Street.
“A lot of interesting people—the summer colony was sure full of characters. The local people were very Runyonesque. My grandmother came from Russia, and at that time we had a lot of Polish gardeners come in to get their newspaper, and it would be fascinating for me to hear them converse in Russian and Polish,” he recalled. “The hustle and bustle of the business transaction, and the activity level of people coming in on a regular basis and seeing the same faces—it was just fascinating.
“I said to myself at that time, ‘I like this.’ Also, I got to see Gary Cooper buy a pack of cigarettes. That was kind of neat.”
Hard times forced the Wellinses to re-brand the cigar shop to generate business, including selling Pringle of Scotland sweaters, British woolens, military surplus fatigues, pea coats, Levi’s and, later, electronics.
Silver’s didn’t enter the restaurant business until 1966—and, as Mr. Wellins puts it, he “loved contributing to the family farm.” It soon moved into its current space, where Landon’s had been, in the 1970s.
He worked alongside his father, who taught him “all of the marvelous lessons of life, the value of work and to be well-studied.” After high school, he went to Southampton College to study medicine, but chemistry “just wasn’t his thing.”
And, truly, he didn’t want to leave Silver’s.
“A lot of the kids I went to school with would come in here for lunch,” Mr. Wellins said. “So, every day was like a party. It was a wonderful social event.”
Although Silver’s has kept its old-timey charm—with high ceilings and stained glass, skylights and transom windows—Mr. Wellins has aged. The days start feeling longer. Waking up early in the morning to get to the market to pick out fresh vegetables, fruit and meats, the seasoned chef enters the restaurant with his arms full.
Then he begins cleaning and preparing the produce, cooking and holding down the restaurant during the lunch-hour rush. Serving up European and American cuisine, including $60 lobster salad, to seating 48 inside and 32 outside doesn’t happen on its own.
“I am not a young man anymore. I am on the precipice of 65, and this is really a tough job. And I like it—I thrive in it. I have my oldest son, Ryan, working with me, and I couldn’t have stayed in it this long if it wasn’t for his help. My other son, Patrick, was a key figure here, too.”
He contacted Brown Harris Stevens to put the restaurant and the 3,884-square-foot building on the market, asking $5.8 million. The second floor houses office space for three tenants, though it’s unclear what will happen to that space in the transition.
Mr. Wellins said he expects to run Silver’s at least through the end of the year. It could be longer, but Silver’s will eventually be out of the family’s hands.
“I brought my son Ryan into this when he was 17 years old, because he was in high school, and high school kids do silly things,” Mr. Wellins said. “It was my way of keeping a tab on him and giving him a skill and a way to make money. I don’t think he really wants it, as he has expressed. There is a 95-year history over three generations not including my sons’ help. … It’s time to move on.”
At 31, Ryan Wellins said the thought of Silver’s selling is making him figure out what the next step is. “I feel like I might miss it,” he said. “It will be one of those things I look back on and remember how much it mattered.”
After the restaurant is sold, and with a heavy heart, Mr. Wellins and his son have been toying with the idea of branding some of Silver’s products and distributing them on the side.
“Ideally, I would like to spend more time with my wife, Anna Marie, without being on schedule or having to grind it out,” Mr. Wellins said. “I have had people come up to me distraught that we are leaving. It is very humbling and nice to know you’ll be missed, but I haven’t gone anywhere yet. I am not gone, until I am gone.”
He added, “The life of this—the life of anything—is a very big book. We haven’t got to the last chapter yet.”
European bistro treats & American grub
$$$ THE ZAGAT REVIEW
It’s always such a treat“ to dine at this Southampton ”legend“, chef-owner Garrett Wellins’ ”traditional“ midday haunt where the ”welcoming“ crew has been serving up ”amazing“ lobster rolls, soups and possibly ”the best BLTs“ ever since 1923; tabs are on the ”expensive“ side given the ”casual“, ”lunch-only“ setup – still, the masses who ”keep going back“ vow it only ”gets better with time."
TRIP ADVISOR REVIEWS
Cresskill, New Jersey, USA
Date of visit: June 2019
WOW $30 FOR HAM & CHEESE SANDWICH
Nice local restaurant that is way over priced. We stopped in for lunch and got sticker shock, hoping for a large portion we were extremely disappointed.
New York City, New York
Reviewed April 20, 2019 via mobile
Food was really natural and the servers were really friendly, Coffee has the Italy touch of Milan Thanks for the time
Date of visit: April 2019
Southampton, New York
Reviewed December 1, 2018
Get there fast!!
This restaurant has been a staple of the Hamptons for decades. The absolute best lunch in Southampton. Lobster rolls and french onion soup(the best in the Hamptons). But, go soon, the business/building is for sale - original owners retiring. Not open for dinner.
Date of visit: September 2018
***** Judy Dante
Cliffside Park, New Jersey
Reviewed August 25, 2017
Pricey but Worth It!
We have eaten lunch at Silvers on and off for the last 37 years on our way to Montauk. The food is wonderful. Always the best and freshest ingredients. The BLT sandwich is amazing and so are their soups. Garrett the owner/chef is very friendly and always stops by to say hello. You can eat outside if you like to people watch. My mouth is watering as I wrote this.
Date of visit: August 2017
***** Kathleen G
Southampton, New York
Reviewed August 8, 2017
Normally packed, pricey, pretentious in terms of clientele can't go there in a swim suit with a coverup. Excellent service fantastic wine list, variable options for gluten free and cheese lovers.
Date of visit: June 2017
New York City, New York
Reviewed August 1, 2017
We finally tried Silver’s. Reviewers rave about the clam chowder and BLT, so we ordered those two items. Arrived on a Saturday around noon and it was not yet full. Had a nice table in front (good for people watching) and the staff seemed friendly but not overly so. First, an airy sliced Italian bread arrived in a bowl of EVOO. Tasty - butter and salt were added, so of course.
Clam chowder was good – it was a chilly day and the chowder was nice and warm, homemade with large chunky veggies, like mom would make. Nice amounts of chopped up clams in a red broth. Very flavorful, well-seasoned and pleasant looking with some clams in their shells.
BLT was very large – generous chunky tomatoes, lots of mayo, lettuce and bacon on grilled Tuscan bread. Again, it was good. I make a very similar BLT at home despite the menu stating “Not what you make at home” – but I’m glad we tried it.
Silver’s is a somewhat curious place. Its dated décor and bad artwork made it very interesting to us. The food is good – not fabulous ‘gourmet’ by any means, but it’s solid home cooking – very overpriced (the lobster roll sandwich is more than twice the price of any place in the Hamptons), but I’m glad we finally made it there.
Date of visit: July 2017
New York, NY
4.0 star rating 7/15/2018
One of the best places to eat in Southampton. The food is always fantastic and the atmosphere is polished and tasteful. Could knock the prices down a touch though as they're a little off the chain. Otherwise, a perfect place to eat, with lovely garlic bread.
5.0 star rating 8/4/2018
I would give Silvers 10 stars if I could.
We live in town and had a SPECTACULAR lunch for the first time today.
We shared the red fish chowder. It was loaded with clams, perfectly cooked celery, potatoes, onion, and carrots for a culinarily delight!!!! WOW.
We read the reviews on how everyone said their BLT was the best they ever had. Well, we ordered it and it did not disappoint. OMG a huge sandwich with farm fresh tomatoes, bread that was toasted to perfection. I would highly recommend!!! The BLT WAS THE BEST BY FAR of ANY BLT ever!!!
My husband and are are foodies and would tell anyone to go to Silver's with what we say is a money back guarantee from us!!!!
Run don't walk there for this gem of a restaurant!!!
5.0 star rating 2/24/2018
We had BLT and Lobster Bisque for lunch and both were awesome. Friendly and professional staff.
5.0 star rating 12/23/2017
The chicken soup is absolutely to DIE for. It's quite pricey but can easily feed three. The Roman and BLT sandwiches were also stellar and huge - one is plenty for two people. Don't miss this super classy, old family establishment!
Laguna Niguel, CA
5.0 star rating 6/23/2015
Can't say enough about this favorite,
this community is so lucky to have this place we came here for years today we return
there today it was Potato Leak and Lobster Bisque are incredible chunks of lobster flavor is savory.
There bread omg isn't this the best
West Palm Beach, FL
5.0 star rating 6/24/2017
This is the ultimate Hamptons' lunch spot. This proudly family run - yes, you will meet the owner and the next generation coming up through the ranks - restaurant serves only the best quality produce prepared fresh every day. The menu is a staple the regulars (like me) love: I don't need to see it, I know when I crave the Kobe burger or the pear salad, when I want a BLT that needs to be put in all bold letters, or when "just" a fine soup will hit the spot. A fine dining lunch experience without the need for a suit and tie.
5.0 star rating 5/28/2017
dont listen to their 3.5 rating. menu is not huge but they have variety. The BLT is amazing!!!
Water Mill, NY
3.0 star rating 8/25/2015
Really delicious food. Old school family owned. All in the plus category but let's cut to the chase. The prices are OBSCENE!!!
Even for Los Angeles, NYC, Tokyo for Gods sake a $ 48.00 lobster roll.
SILVER'S--BEST PLACE TO BRUNCH IN SOUTHAMPTON VILLAGE, NEW YORK!
BY PAULA HATHAWAY
May 13, 2013
SILVER'S--BEST PLACE TO BRUNCH IN SOUTHAMPTON VILLAGE, NEW YORK!...
When the Wellins family bought Silver's, the soda shop, cigar, and news stand on Main Street in Southampton Village, New York in 1923 there was a real opportunity to take advantage of the void of good places to go for a great bowl of soup, a good magazine and a good cigar!
There were the days in the '70s when the magazine racks were full of newspapers, Life, Time, Newsweek, Vogue, Seventeen and many, many more not so well known magazines of the day. The proprietor, Mr. Wellins would stand guard over the news paper stand as he tapped his cane on the floor and ordered: "Are you going to buy that?" when someone reached for and opened one of the magazines. In other words he did not want the person to stand there, read it and then put it back...He was a character; one who was irascible and "mean" and downright overly protective of his magazines and cigars. But it made for an adventure when one went there for their famous Russian Borscht!
Old Mr. Wellins is no longer alive--he passed away about 20 years ago and his Grandson, Garrett Wellins has been running the little shop since. He transformed it into a Bistro--threw out the cigars and the magazines and expanded the seating area for brunch and lunch as he trained to become a chef of the first order.
Now, the brilliance of the decision to open the shop in the 20's can only be topped by the talent that Garrett has shown in his taking over this little shop. He transformed it from a mediocre magazine store to a top notch cafe; one that is now THE place to go for the most delicious brunch or lunch in Southampton Village, New York.
SILVER'S REMAINS AS IT WAS IN THE 20'S
The front of Silver's remains as it was from the very beginning; the original leaded windows still stand out from all the other storefronts in the Village. You can read the menu, written in chalk on the window panes for all to see...Then step inside to step back in time and enjoy the best Bistro fare on the Eastern End of Long Island!
A real treat is to meet your friends there for a delicious brunch at 12:00 and be at the beach by 1:30 to relax the day away in the white sands of Little Plains Beach or drive to Cooper's Beach on Meadow Lane--rated the number one beach in America!
You may even pick up a half dozen of Silvers best, out-of-this-world lobster rolls wrapped in waxed paper; take a bottle of a crisp white wine or rose' and enjoy the most wonderful picnic brunch while at the beach!!!
MY PERSONAL PICK OF THE BEST THINGS ON THE MENU:
- Silver's Borscht: The original family recipe of Russian Cabbage Borscht, a soup that is unforgettable in it's color of a very deep red-orange, and swimming with the tasty beets, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and dill in chicken broth.....Served with the BEST grilled, Tuscan bread that is surrounded by a thick and chewy crust, dribbled with an extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled lightly with an array of herbs and a crunch of sea salt. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
- Silver's Roman Sandwich: A thick sliced, crusty Tuscan sandwich, filled with prosciutto, sliced tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella and saturated with balsamic vinaigrette that makes you only want more!
- Silvers BLT: A grilled tuscan bread sandwich with bacon lettuce, tomato and light mayo that is so thick you need two people to eat the whole thing.
- Silvers Lobster Roll: Lots of sweet, succulent lobster with just a little mayo and celery on a soft, crusty baguette
- Silver's charcoal grilled sirloin burger served on a soft and crusty brioche roll with fresh sliced tomatos, baby lettuce and onion.
- Other specialty items include a good selection of caviar served on toast points and served with Champagne.
If you do decide to go to Silver's for brunch on a weekend sojourn, please say "Hi" to Garrett; he is always there!