Come next week, East Hampton’s work force may have to travel outside village limits to get an egg sandwich or a Bonac burger. Bucket’s Delicatessen, a mainstay of Newtown Lane, is closing its doors tomorrow.
As of late Monday morning, though, Everett Griffiths could be seen doing what he’s been doing so well for so long: making salads and gearing up for the lunchtime crowd.
Mr. Griffiths and his wife, Angela, have been the friendly faces behind the counter at the East Hampton Village institution for the past 33 years, serving up its signature chicken salad along with breakfast specialties — some say Mr. Griffiths makes the best egg sandwiches around — to midday offerings, including the coveted deviled eggs, available only on Wednesdays and only to a few lucky early birds.
The building, known for decades as the Cavagnaro building and the previous site of Cavagnaro’s restaurant and bar, features high tin ceilings and other architectural details that recall a time when the railroad was the main thoroughfare in and out of East Hampton.
The building has been for sale for several years, but that’s not the reason for closing, said its owner.
“I’ve just had enough,” Mr. Griffiths shrugged and smiled. “I’ve been doing it for 33 years. We were open seven days a week from Day One, even though we eventually closed on Sundays, then Saturdays and Sundays. I’m just tired.”
Tired or not, some regular customers are disheartened to see the couple close up shop.
“I’m definitely going to miss this place,” said John Glennon, an Amagansett resident who’s been coming to Bucket’s for 15 years. “I don’t know where people are going to find a decently priced lunch when it’s gone.” He wished the owners the best for their retirement.
Steve Mitchell, who lives in Sag Harbor, echoed Mr. Glennon. “There’s no place else around,” he said. “It’s sad that all the small mom-and-pops are closing down. There’s nothing left for the little guys, the locals.”
“We love our customers,” Mrs. Griffiths said with her customary large smile. “We know them. They come in and we banter awhile. It’s been fun.”
Mr. Griffiths bought the deli from its previous owner, Norton W. Daniels, whose nickname was Bucket. “We decided to keep the name,” he said.
Before Bucket’s, Mr. Griffiths spent over seven years in the deli department at the I.G.A. on North Main Street.
Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths’s daughter, Pauline, lives in Sweden with her two daughters. Retirement will give them a chance “to travel a little bit,” Mr. Griffiths said. “To take life one step at a time.”
“I have a lot of good memories of this place,” he added wistfully. But, he said, he and his wife are excited to have some time to play a little.
“Now I get my husband all to myself,” Mrs. Griffiths said with a smile.
“We’ll get to do some gardening,” Mr. Griffiths offered. The couple has a house in Amagansett. “We have lovely gardens.”
“I’d like to do some outside work,” he added, looking up from his salad-making with a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve spent a lot of time indoors.”