The Art of a Restaurant

There’s nothing quite like hitting up your favorite East End restaurant for a Friday evening sunset, taking in the fiery skies and enjoying a delicious meal (+ a bottle or three of a chilled light red) with friends. We all know it’s not just the fresh off the boat meals that make our dining experience so special, but also the attention to detail, design, personality, and setting that all tie in to make East End dining unforgettable.

We recently caught up with very busy entrepreneur, hotelier and well-rounded family man Sean MacPherson, to talk about the art that goes into creating the perfect sanctuary for dining out. He may be California-born, but he has a heavy hand in bringing an eccentric, yet elegant aesthetic to Crow’s Nest — one of our favorite restaurants on the East End. Sean has the Midas Touch when it comes to bringing venues to life. He has created some of the biggest hangouts on the East Coast; his impressive resume includes The Bowery Hotel, The Jane, The Marlton Hotel, The Ludlow, The Maritime and of course, Crow’s Nest.

I gave Sean a shout and asked him a few questions about his fascinating life as well as what it takes to make restaurants and venues pop.

1) What brought you to Montauk?

I’ve been coming to Montauk since I started spending time in NY in the 1990’s. Montauk’s natural beauty and mix of high-low reminds me of 1970’s childhood in Malibu.


Ambiance. Photo courtesy of Sean MacPhearson.

2) Where do you draw inspiration for your hotels and restaurants? Every venue is so drastically different from the next. In particular, can you tell us about your inspiration for Crow’s Nest?

It may sound like a California cliche, but I really try to just listen and let the spaces tell me what makes sense. For Crow’s Nest it seemed, to me, a simple wood shack with good, healthy food and great wine made sense. I’ve always loved the romance of being at the end of the road, the last stop at the end of the island. I wanted Crow’s Nest to somehow conjure the feeling of having traveled as far as one can travel. I’ve always loved the notion of the Bukowski title, South of No North — though I’ve never been able to completely describe it.

3) I know personally, whenever I go to Crow’s Nest I sit there for three hours and find it hard to get up and leave. How do you attribute the design and details of a restaurant to its success, and is it equally as important as the food quality?

For me, a restaurant experience is the sum of its parts. It should feel good in the heart and soul and taste good in the stomach. We strive to create places that feel good and taste good, where the staff are happy to be there.


I’m going to go introduce myself to the bar. Photo courtesy of Sean MacPhearson.

4) Do you have any upcoming projects that you’re excited about?

I’m always looking for projects that speak to me personally.

5) If you could go any where in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

I’m lucky enough to blessed with a beautiful family, so I’m generally pretty content wherever I am.


Sean and fam. Ambiance. Photo courtesy of Sean MacPhearson.

7) Favorite surf break? Can anyone narrow it down to just one spot?

As a California kid, I’m partial to perfect point breaks. And I think Rincon, CA on a good (not too crowded) day is one of my all-time favorites.

All photos courtesy of Sean MacPhearson.