East End Off-Season Report: Mezzaluna and Matto Out, Serafina In?

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There are two more casualties of the Hamptons slow winter season: After opening just this year to out-the-door lines during the summer, Mezzalunas Amagansett branch has already closed, and Matto, the East Hampton Italian spot also popular this past season, wont be reopening in the spring. But hopeful new owners are already on hand, as the Amagansett space has been grabbed up by Tim Bando (owner of Amagansetts popular Meeting House), whos turning the joint into Exile, a Mediterranean caf. Meanwhile, restaurateurs Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato are hoping to morph Matto into an East End branch of Serafina. We are negotiating, but it is not done yet hopefully by mid January, says Assaf.

Thankfully, not all the areas restaurants are struggling. Its scary when legendary places like the Laundry are in trouble, says Eric Lemonides, owner of the Almond in Bridgehampton, which gets a steady year-round crowd. But weve stayed busy by making it easy and offering a lot of low-ticket items. You have to create a winter following; a place where people will want to go on a Tuesday in February.