Il Mulino Adds East Hampton Location

The branzino entree from Il Mulino Prime in New York City. Seafood is one of the restaurant's specialties. Il Mulino

It's only February, but harbingers of spring are already apparent around the South Fork. The latest is a sign at the old Osteria Salina, on the border of Wainscott and East Hampton Village, announcing the imminent arrival of Il Mulino.

Lee Katzoff, whose family owns the chain of more than a dozen restaurants in New York City and its surrounding suburbs, as well as in Florida, Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Nashville, and more, said this week that "after a little fix up, we are planning on a soft opening in April for family and friends, and we'll be ready to go after that."

She said that Il Mulino's patrons had long asked when the family might open a location on the South Fork. When the space on Georgica Pond at the corner of Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road became available, "We said, 'Yes, we'll try it.' " Although they signed a long-term lease and plan to be open all year, "we're considering it a pop-up for now," with the chefs and staff coming out from the city to work for the summer, she said. "We're committed to it and going in to make it long term, but we want to do it well and make sure it's the right decision for the company and our staff."

Ms. Katzoff, an interior designer who has led the design of the other restaurants in the brand, is anxious to get started. She said her patrons are, too. "We are getting nonstop phone calls from people who already want a reservation."

The menu will focus on Il Mulino's classics, but will be simpler than in the city restaurants. "We'll have all of the favorites, but our menu is also very custom. If a guest said 'I want only gluten-free pasta and take the salt out of the sauce,' we will make only gluten-free pasta and make the sauce without salt. 'No' is not part of our vocabulary." The team will focus on the environment here and "tweak the menus as needed, revisiting what we're serving. We don't just print the menus and say that's it."

Zagat raters say the "old-school Italian" restaurants, which date back to the original Greenwich Village space that opened in 1981, are "as good as ever," with abundant, if pricey portions.

"We will also do a lot of take-home and prepared foods," Ms. Katzoff said, envisioning that "people could enjoy our food for brunches, lunches, and catering. We will try to accommodate those wishes." The company has already packaged its own sauces, pasta, coffee, sea salt, olive oils, and balsamic vinegar for retail sale.

A pasta dishIl Mulino
The sign on site announcing the arrival of the restaurant