When it is time for a celebratory breakfast I love to go to somewhere close, somewhere easy to get to and dependable. While I worked at a “free” weekly paper that was then located in Bridgehampton that place was always the Candy Kitchen.
Opened in 1925, the Candy Kitchen Ice Cream Parlor and Eatery in Bridgehampton has been a place to go for a coffee, read the paper/phone while having breakfast, lunch, or just a snack. Others come in the afternoon for some of their famous homemade ice cream. Serving the local Bridgehampton community, the Candy Kitchen has stood up to good times and bad times over and over again and remained the same hub on the corner to all.
I love the white Formica counter tops and swivel stools at the counter, seats that have been occupied by the local regulars over the years along with the likes of Howard Hughes, Truman Capote, Bette Davis, and so many other personalities of yesteryear. Yes they all stopped in for a coffee since legendary founder George Starvropoulos opened its doors to the Bridgehampton community.
During the roaring twenties patrons could have a coffee and read about the exploits of President Calvin Coolidge in the morning papers. Those headlines over the years have covered a national depression, a World War, the years of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Clinton, the Bushes, Obama and now Trump.
For over the last 40 years the keeper of the flame at the historic Candy Kitchen has been present owner Gus Laggis, who seems to know everybody as if they all went to grade school together. His nod of hello or acknowledgement is a ritual that makes small town America so special still to this day.
Waitresses are in their teens, all wearing their blue Candy Kitchen tee shirt along with the white apron that continues the tradition of local youths who for the last 90 years who have stepped up to that familiar counter to serve. Behind the counter still standing at attention is the old style stainless steel malt machine blenders capable of doing three at a time. The glasses are stacked the way they have been since George opened the place, as are the metal ice cream dishes.
I also fancy the six sided white tiles on the floor with the blue flower like tile patterns that have stood the test of time as patrons have shuffled to the blue padded white booths. The hanging available ice cream flavor sign has been there forever. I was in the Candy Kitchen as a child with my father and as a father with my children myself. Almost everybody I know who has lived or visited the Hamptons has stood in front of that ice cream counter and watched their selected flavor scooped into a cone or cup. My kids stood there with wide open eyes anticipating the cold sugar blast of fresh home made ice cream on a hot summer day. It is as American as the Fourth of July, but celebrated every summer day, not just once a year.
Like everything else nothing is forever, but in Bridgehampton hopefully Candy Kitchen will exist as pure as it is somehow almost forever.