Last summer, a couple of friends from far away lands came to visit me in Montauk. When we woke up after an eventful night of drinking around town, I knew that I needed to give my guests a true taste of The East End’s breakfast: the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
Out east, the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich (BEC) is the staple go-to breakfast for everyone year-round. On most days, summer or winter, you will find a line of cars outside the beach parking lot with tinfoil BEC wrappers on their dashboard. Cheap, delicious and mobile, this sandwich has shaped the morning routines of many people around our little hamlets. Here, we have the choice of variety.
There are many things to consider when looking for your ultimate bacon egg and cheese: bagel vs. roll, bodega vs. bougie, American cheese vs. cheddar. We all know the ins and outs of the BEC throughout all The Hamptons: Goldberg’s changed the BEC. (ie: The Flagel: flat bagel). Goldberg’s is the egg sandwich/bagel/Jewish deli empire of east end. With locations from Westhampton to Montauk, their simple yet reliable fried egg and everything bagel, or mixing it up with one of their many special options like “The Hobo,” a visit to Golberg’s is crucial to the full East End BEC experience.
My first credential for a BEC is the bread. When I’m not in the mood for a Goldbergs Famous bagel/flagel, I go to the Bake Shoppe for their artisanal fresh baked roll. At The Bake Shoppe, they pride themselves on their thin and flaky poppy seed rolls. The Bake Shoppe is the unique alternative — they allow for a lighter version of the BEC.
In the mood for a greasy bodega style BEC? Barnes Country Store in Springs is known for their hangover cure. On the mushier side, American cheese oozes from a standard poppy side roll, with a buttery egg on top.
In close competition with East Hampton’s Goldbergs, Hampton’s Bagel on North Main Street is known for their early 3 am opening. Out late? Follow the fresh bagel smell to their glass windows. A variety of cheese, spreads, and bagel flavors provide ample options and combinations.
The people of the East End give BECs the upmost respect. Last summer, as I’m ordering my friends their BECs, there was an acquaintance there that requested her BEC with provolone. We all gave a concerned, worried look and warned her against it. We laughed it off, but weirdly judged her character: how could she not know how to order a proper BEC? You could say it’s because no other place in the world takes this sandwich as seriously as we do here.
Although no local will ever recommend provolone, I think it is safe to say that whatever the combination of ingredients, the BEC is truly a special sandwich because of the experience that those three essential ingredients create.
Our recommendations for where to get your BEC on at:
Goldbergs (Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Napeague, Montauk)
The Bake Shoppe (29 The Plaza, Montauk)
Barnes Country Store (716 Springs Fireplace Road, East Hampton)
Hampton Bagel (74 North Main Street, East Hampton)