It’s been quite the year for Shawn Christman and Courtney Fruin Christman. Not only did they open the Sea Bean, a gourmet food truck that does catering and sells from Montauk’s Lions Field and other prime spots, but they got married on June 6 and are expecting the birth of their first child in a few weeks.
Mr. Christman graduated from firefighter school and was officially inducted into the Montauk Fire Department on Sunday, and Ms. Christman just accepted a position teaching special education at the John M. Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton.
The Sea Bean is really Mr. Christman’s baby, but it’s taken a family effort to get it started. His mother, Mary Jo Fuoco, helped fund it. He also launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in the spring that netted him a bit over the $15,000 he was looking for.
Mr. Christman grew up in Montauk and spent a lot of time at Christman’s restaurant and bar, his grandparents’ place in the harbor area. When his parents divorced he moved up UpIsland with his mother, but when she enrolled in a culinary school program, he returned to the hamlet to live with his father for awhile before leaving again to pursue a music career. “I wanted to be a rock star,” he said.
The pull of Montauk was too strong to resist, and he eventually moved back east. He worked at Nick and Toni’s restaurant in East Hampton and was then hired to work for Tom Colicchio at the Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, where he stayed for two years, before moving on to the Crow’s Nest in Montauk under Jeremy Blutstein.
“I gained my confidence from working with all the great local chefs,” he said. Mr. Blutstein, he added, gave him the courage to offer only the best local and seasonal foods, which he sources from Balsam Farms, Bhumi Farms, Pantigo Farms, and other local farm stands.
His menu items include Montauk Brewery beer-battered fish and fish tacos, with all of the fish bought right from the docks in Montauk. A favorite item on his chalkboard menu are the short ribs that he serves on Blue Duck brioche. Most of his sandwich items are made with bread from Carissa’s Breads. When he gets a bread delivery, he orders limited amounts, as the weather isn’t kind to bread at this time of year.
The meat and chickens he uses are free range, grass fed, and humanely treated, he said, adding, “We want to live by a better set of standards.” He serves breakfast burritos, ranch beef burgers, gourmet hotdogs, green curry cheese fries, and salads. There are fresh-squeezed juices available and healthy snack items such as kale chips, curry chips, and spicy peanuts. The inside of his truck is all stainless steel that on Sunday was gleaming in the sun. The couple posts menu items and a schedule daily on Facebook, Instagram, and at theseabean.com, so fans of their food can find the truck, which under town rules can stay in one spot for only a limited amount of time.
“We don’t mind moving,” Mr. Christman said. “We’re just thrilled that we’re up and running.”