If there’s a little more traffic near the train station in East Hampton these days, it may be because Peter Ambrose, late of the Seafood Shop in Wainscott and the owner of Peter Ambrose Events catering, has hung out his shingle on Race Lane. Hampton Seafood, with Mr. Ambrose’s catering offices next door, has opened in the spot formerly occupied by Claws on Wheels.
“I’ve worked in a fish market since I was 14,” Mr. Ambrose said. “There’s people out there who know more about food than me and know more about fish than me, but put the two together,” he said, with a modest chuckle, “and I’m up there.”
Mr. Ambrose enthusiastically described his new venture, which features not only lunch specials like fish tacos, freshly made sushi — with special daily rolls made to order — and the requisite lobster roll, but also fish provided right from the docks in Montauk, he said, by his partners, Butch Payne and Gerald Herlihy.
Blackboards behind the counters show which boats have been out that morning — on a recent day it was the Panther, the Long Shot, and the Alexandria Dawn — and what the catch of the day is: scallops, flounder, monkfish, tuna, and more. Other lunchtime fare that day included an Asian-spiced tuna burger, a shrimp currasco burrito, a selection of fresh soups, and several items, including a vegan wrap, marked “W” for wellness.
Mr. Ambrose recently completed the Winter Wellness Challenge with the East Hampton Wellness Foundation, which focuses on a plant-strong diet, and claimed a loss of almost 40 pounds, with greatly improved numbers in his cholesterol count. “This gives people an opportunity to maybe have one vegan meal a day,” he said of his “W” choices.
The store also carries several local brands — Hamptons Water, Mali B Sweets, several products from La Capannina, with locations in Wainscott and Holtsville, and locally roasted coffees, including his own Pete’s Endless Summer Dawn Patrol.
Mr. Ambrose began the Endless Summer brand last year while still at the Seafood Shop. It features a line of shelf-stable sauces and rubs like Grillin’ Time Marinade and chipotle ketchup. The store also has a selection of fresh vegetables, drinks, and desserts.
But what has the locals lining up on Thursdays is “Smokin’ Joe’s Happy Hour,” a seafood extravanganza starting at 4:30 and featuring 50-cent clams, $1 oysters on the half shell, $5 sushi rolls, and two fish tacos for $6, along with other selections.
Mr. Ambrose has expanded his catering, which he has been doing for over two decades under the name Food for Forks, to serve the length of the Island into Manhattan, but will continue catering the South Fork clambakes that garner high marks from his clients, who have offered testimonials on his new Web site, peterambroseevents.com.
“I think we have a little something for everyone at the shop,” he said. “We have fresh fish, fried fish, prepared foods, sushi, burgers and fries, the Wellness menu. And we have a great bunch of people working here too.”
“We’re trying to corner the market on convenience,” he said. “And we’re dedicated to local, all the way up to Cayuga.”
“I think people will be happy with the choices we offer,” he said. The steady stream of cars and congratulations seemed to drive his point home.