Interview: Swallow East Co-Owner James Tchinnis Talks About The Opening Of His New Montauk Restuarant

by Dena Silver · June 14, 2012

Today marks the official opening day of Swallow East, a restaurant brought to you by co-owners James Tchinnis and Mark Walrath, one of the new owners of Surf Lodge. Located directly on Montauk Harbor, where Lenny's used to be, this new spot is finally ready for business after a winter of renovations.

Swallow East stays true to Lenny's dockside reputation, but that seems to be where the similarities end. Offering a selection of small plates, you can choose to enjoy them in the main dining room, with the chef or on the back covered patio with a clear view of docked charter boats.

Much like the western Long Island location of Swallow in Huntington, this spot will be family oriented, just like the Surf Lodge has been promising to become. At the Swallow East soft opening, which coincided with the after-party for the Blessing of the Fleet, Swallow East was teaming with families and their young children. However, there still seemed to be a pretty well sized crowd of twenty-somethings lingering at the bar.

We spoke with co-owner James Tchinnis just in time for the official opening of Swallow East tonight. Before you head over here check out what he has to say about Montauk's new eatery, and definitely keep his dinner recommendations in mind when ordering.

What is the story behind the name 'Swallow East'?

The swallow is a bird that chooses a mate for life and returns home every year. For centuries sailors would have swallows tattooed on them to symbolize home and love. Here at Swallow East we want you to feel as though you are visiting us in our home, and we hope you will return just like the swallow.

Where did you get the inspiration for the open decor, complete with exposed beams and metal detailing?

We wanted to bring the feel of the docks inside for the decor.

What will the food be like? Any specialty dishes that you would recommend ordering?

Our food is 'New American Small Plates.' Some signature dishes are: Montauk clam chowder, yellow fin tuna tuna M.L.T. - Rare seared tuna with mango, lettuce, tomato and wasabi aioli, asparagus fries with lemon dijon aioli, and Black Angus sliders with homemade tomato jam and brie cheese.

We heard that you can watch the chef make your food, is that true?

We have an open kitchen with a bar so you can sit right next to the chefs preparing your food. We serve as much local fish and produce as we can.

Swallow East. 474 West Lake Dr, Montauk, NY. For more information go HERE.