On the Table Mann About Town

Nick & Toni’s

Photo courtesy of Eric Striffler

Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton opened in 1988 with the goal of bringing the freshness and simplicity from Italy to the U.S. Toni Ross, co-owner, met her late husband Jeff (Nick) in Northern Italy and lived there for about a year. Their love for Italian cuisine was enough inspiration to open the restaurant still loved today.

Though Toni and Jeff did not start their restaurant career with Nick & Toni’s. Jeff worked in several restaurants including Jams, the groundbreaking restaurant started by Jonathan Waxman where Toni started to work as well. After working their way up from hostess to the pastry kitchen and waiter to manager, Toni and Jeff resonated with Waxman’s commitment to the simplicity they loved. In their own restaurant, the beginnings from Italy, Waxman, Alice Waters and Nancy Silverton were carried to Nick & Toni’s.

Toni Ross alongside co-owner Mark Smith, and partners Joseph Realmuto, executive chef, and director of operations and Christy Cober, serve Northern Italian and Mediterranean traditional dishes. Realmuto creates dishes of the same ethos with the Chef de Cuisine, Courtney Sypher-Barylski and Pastry Chef, Kelsey Longley.

Although the whole menu is mouth-watering some standouts and crowd-favorites include the Romaine Salad, Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola, Roasted Chicken with Smashed Potatoes, The Whole Fish, Tartufo and a day one menu item, Zucchini Chips. If you visit during the off-season, make sure to stop by on a weeknight for their wood oven-fired pizzas.

Nick & Toni’s sources their ingredients from their own gardens and local farmers which allow them to have a seasonal menu. A menu change happens about five times a year while running additional specials.

The whole team is exceptionally proud of their list of clientele which includes locals, tourists, families, couples, individuals and celebrities. Since the opening, Nick & Toni’s have faced the many challenges that come with the industry including staffing, housing, cost of business and the effects of the pandemic.

“It takes a village to be in the operation for this long,” Nick said. “And our customers are part of that village.”

Throughout their 35 years in the restaurant industry, Nick & Toni’s has stayed true to their beginnings and hopes to continue for years to come.