Those who have been in East Hampton for a long time will surely remember the rearing red horse that stood in front of the old Levi’s store at Cove Hollow Road and Route 27, the namesake for the shopping plaza there and now the new Red Horse Market.
The gourmet market opened its doors two weeks ago, and a tradition is taking hold among the mouth-watering displays of meats, pizzas, pastries, produce, and prepared foods — family.
The store in its latest incarnation is owned by Tim McClung of Tim’s Meats in Sag Harbor, Pasquale Langella, known for cheese-making skills, especially his mozzarella, and Bill Bertha, a well-known baker extraordinaire, formerly of the Beach Bakery at Gurney’s Inn, famed for his classic scratch mixes. “The butcher, the baker, and the mozzarella maker,” as they refer to themselves, together form a superhero trio of fine foods. And, they have not come to the project alone. Mr. Bertha is accompanied by his wife of 30 years, Teri, whose official title is “key holder” but who acknowledges that she does “a bit of everything.”
The Berthas’ daughter, Sara Bertha, is also on the floor. In fact, “I’m Sara’s employee. . . . She’s a driving force,” her mother said, and Mr. Bertha nodded in agreement.
When Mr. Bertha worked for the Beach Bakery, he would bring young Sara with him early in the morning when the baking started. “She would fall asleep down on the floor,” he said with a smile. “We always have spent time together as a family, but we’ve never worked together like this.”
“I spent 30 years baking at the beach and never saw the ocean,” he said. He acknowledged his joy at now working for himself. “And we couldn’t have done it separately,” he said, speaking of his partners. “It’s just a great match all around.”
The family connection doesn’t stop with the Berthas. Mr. Langella’s wife, Anna, helps out at the market; his son, Michael, is the store’s general manager. Mr. McClung’s two daughters manage his other store but, according to the Berthas, come to Red Horse too. Mr. Langella’s brother-in-law, Gennaro Giugliano, assists Mr. Langella with the pizzas, cheeses, and sauces.
“There’s always an owner on the floor,” Mr. Bertha said.
The store offers a wide range of ready-made products, including a full salad bar, delicatessen, and a hot breakfast and lunch to-go counter. There are also the meats, including an antique drying box filled with beautiful cuts. And there are cheeses, pizzas, and the bakery, which takes special orders for wedding cakes and the like.
The day before the holiday weekend, the place was teeming with customers, many of whom have enjoyed past incarnations of the market over the last 20 years — Jerry and David’s Red Horse Market, owned by Jerry Della Femina and David Silver along with Ben Krupinski, and most recently Tutto Italiano, an offshoot of Citarella, where Mr. Langella and his brother-in-law became known to many local foodies before the shop closed and they briefly opened Pasquale’s Homemade on Pantigo Road.
“We’ve been waiting for this to open up,” said Susan Reiland, who was at the Red Horse Market on the opening day. “They’ve done an amazing job.”
According to Mr. Langella, he sold over 1,000 pounds of his store-made fresh mozzarella over Memorial Day Weekend, breaking any previous record from his other shops. “We’re here to stay,” he said ebulliently. “We aren’t going anywhere.”
The Red Horse Market will be open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., keeping the long hours to attract the early breakfast crowd and those who can’t get their goods until after work.
“We’re so excited,” Teri Bertha said. “We’re going to be doing this for the rest of our lives, and we’ll be working for ourselves.”