James Beard awarded chef François Payard and local restaurateur Adam Lovett are making a splash on Long Island’s East End with their brand-new Southold Social.
The two opened at 56125 Main Road in Southold this past June as a celebration of local farming, fishing and wine-making.
Payard, a renowned pastry chef who was born in France, is a third-generation chef who built his reputation in Paris and Manhattan. He’s had a home on Long Island for the past decade. He also commands the kitchen at Southold General, which serves breakfast and lunch daily.
From the Montauk black sea bass to a selection of North Fork wines, locally sourced ingredients and beverages are a cornerstone of the partners’ new restaurant.
“Southold Social is a similar concept to a [François Payard Patisserie & Bistro] but we take advantage of the local bounty on the North Fork — oysters, seafood, rosé, produce,” Payard said, referring to the bistros he owned and operated in Manhattan.
“I just made a scallop tiradito special with grilled corn, heirloom tomato, jalapeño, olive oil and Meyer lemon zest. I made a lobster roll, but with a gallic twist… adding piment d’esplette and microgreens. We highlight catch-of-the-day crudo and local black sea bass.”
Other menu highlights include the housemade pasta dishes such as the cavatelli with veal ragu and the rigatoni with steamed muscles, the grilled salmon, filet mignon, bright and tart salads and the brine-cured pork chop.
Top: Chef François Payard and local restaurateur Adam Lovett (Nicholas Grasso)
Payard also developed the dessert menu at Southold Social which includes “sculptural, à la minute desserts like the deconstructed Calamansi lemon tart with basil crème anglaise, baked meringue, limoncello sorbet and olive oil fleur de sel,” he said.
Classy, inside and out
The Southold Social property is a generous portion of coveted North Fork land. The renovated two-story restaurant boasts original exposed wooden beams throughout its dining room, a bar area and private dining space.
The spacious, blue-toned outdoor patio also makes for an outdoor dining experience surrounded by lush greenery.
Beyond the patio sits a spacious open field, which Lovett envisions for large gatherings.
While they introduced their new venture just in time for the summer season, Payard and Lovett envision Southold Social as more than just an East End summer attraction.
“I don’t want people to see Southold Social as summer seasonal, the way restaurants in the Hamptons are perceived,” Payard said. “The North Fork is an even richer experience in the fall and winter.
“There are much more people that live and visit year-round than in Montauk,” he continued. “I see Southold Social as a destination, yes, but even more as a regular for locals.”
In the interest of establishing a quality restaurant for locals, not just the summer crowds, Lovett said he strove to give his latest restaurant an approachable atmosphere and an affordable menu.
“I don’t imagine we will be here year-round, but we want to not just be here for the summer,” Lovett said. “We’ll change the menu in the fall, hoping to do some holiday parties, be here for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, and then we’ll probably shut it down for a month or two when it gets super cold.”
“We want to be here for the locals,” he continued. “We’re not just here for the summer.”