Richard Ehrlich

June 10, 1940 - June 7, 2014
Richard Ehrlich,  June 10, 1940 - June 7, 2014

Richard G. Ehrlich, the owner of the Clam Bar on Napeague since 1980, died at home in Southold on Saturday of pancreatic cancer. He was 73, and had been ill for one month.

Known to his friends as Dick, he was born on June 10, 1940, in White Plains, N.Y., to Jacob Ehrlich and the former Mary Gates. Mr. Ehrlich graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. Fascinated by the world of stamp-collecting, he became a professional philatelist, traveling the world, successfully buying and selling stamp collections.

He retired from the profession at the young age of 38, but continued to travel until he acquired the Clam Bar, now a favorite in-season destination for visitors and beachgoers.

In Southold in 1998, he bought a second restaurant, the Seafood Barge, which quickly became popular with North Fork foodies. In The New York Times in 2011, Joann Starkey wrote that “for around 15 years, until its closing in 2009, the Seafood Barge at the Port of Egypt Marina in Southold was one of the North Fork’s best restaurants.” The Times awarded the restaurant a prestigious three stars.

It was at the Seafood Barge that Mr. Ehrlich met his second wife, Betsy Flinn. The couple had lived the last several years in Southold.

With his first wife, from whom he was divorced, he had two children: a daughter, Jennifer Ehrlich, who lives in San Francisco, and a son, Jacob Ehrlich of New York City.

Mr. Ehrlich loved the ocean and the beaches, and the natural beauty around him. Most of all, said Leigh Goodstein, a manager at the Clam Bar, he loved people, and was instrumental in guiding and mentoring the lives of those he worked with at both his restaurants. “He was tough, but he taught us all about the restaurant business, and about life,” she said. “He was so proud of the Clam Bar as a jumping-off point in life for young people.”

Besides his children from his first marriage, Mr. Ehrlich leaves a stepdaughter, Kelly Flinn of New York City, and a stepson, Brian Flinn of Nashville. A sister, Lynn Nielson of Olympia, Wash., survives as well.

There will be a celebration of his life at the Southold  Presbyterian Church tomorrow. Burial will be private.

Donations in Mr. Ehrlich’s memory can be made to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978, or the Lustgarten Foundation, 1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage 11714.