Back in March, we reported a major shift in the Montauk landscape this summer - the closing (or at least relocation) of the infamous Sloppy Tuna. Well, good news for guidos and guilty-pleasure-lovin' Montauk purists: The Tuna ain't going nowhere.
Indeed, last Friday, the iconic hot spot re-opened for the season, albeit under new management. Makes sense, since that open letter on Facebook by co-owner Drew Doscher pointed to plenty of internal issues. But is this the late-night-shitfaced-Sloppy-Tuna we all know and love? Probably not. With Jeff Capri from The Bench in Stony Brook, Jake Williams, Executive Chef at Harvest on Fort Pond, and Orrett Smith formerly of Shelter Island Tavern at the helm, it seems like the joint has classed up a bit.
According to Curbed, a spokesperson claimed "The mantra of the [new] management team is to bring back the families and the taste of the old Montauk. #RespectMontauk." Sounds pretty boring to us.
ICYMI: Read former owner Drew Doscher's full letter regarding the Sloppy Tuna below:
Hey Sloppy Nation!
The Sloppy Tuna as you and we know it will unfortunately not be opening at the same location in Montauk this summer – due to some sudden and unforeseen chaos and back room politics.
We will definitely be popping up somewhere soon – keep your eyes and ears open in the next few weeks for what’s to come next for The Sloppy Tuna!! Read below for more details...
The Riverhead Supreme Court exercised the most extreme, extraordinary and drastic relief possible against a very successful business that provides hundreds of jobs. That ruling concerns all business owners in the state of New York. The court appointed a “receiver” who just happened to be the Judge’s ex-law partner and good buddy and granted him over $800,000.00 in fees - without any evidence of fraud or other such wrongdoing, other than the false claim that documents were not handed over in time, which was complete horseshit. There is no evidence that the Court's former law partner has any experience, competency, or talent to run this type business. It was only after these exorbitant fees were held up in appeal that the court appointed receiver decided to look busy and seize the business without a trial.
I took a small shack with a stripper pole on the beach in Montauk and made it into a great bar and day/nightclub. It became a household brand name. Despite the various opinions of how Montauk has changed and the placing of blame on the bars, this one business went from nothing to an infamous powerhouse with over 100 employees and worldwide fame. I always tried to hire as much local talent as possible and supported every charity that came my way - especially local.
I personally have been the largest donor to the Montauk Fourth of July Fireworks Show for 3 out of the last 4 years. The Montauk Playhouse acknowledged me personally as an honoree for my outstanding charitable efforts in 2013. The Sloppy Tuna is one of the reasons thousands visit, recreate and celebrate summers in Montauk. The Sloppy Tuna has had a great economic impact upon Montauk and tourism. So much so that the East Hampton Town Supervisor touted it as "One of the Four Economic Engines of Montauk," justifying government funding from Gov. Cuomo to the region (Look at our Facebook account for Wilkerson’s presentation to Mayor Cuomo).
It's estimated that tourism went from 15,000 in 2010 to 55,000 in 2015. I bet Atlantic City or Las Vegas wouldn't complain about The Sloppy Tuna. We agree it's a tourist destination that we brought too much tourism to. Ironic!
The Sloppy Tuna is a successful and legitimate business that is being tarred by unproven and viciously false accusations. I am confident we will be thoroughly vindicated.
This is an act of malicious retaliation by my former business "partners" Michael Meyer, Michael Meagher and Steve Smith - men that have visited the town less than 5 times in the past 5 years and knows nothing about Montauk or our beloved employees.
It is with my deepest sorrow that so many employees and tourists from all over the world will never enjoy the true Sloppy Tuna Montauk again.
[Photo via @yanasdarkroom]