Kiss & Tell: Candy Kitchen Promises

On the final episode of “Succession” when each of the Roy children is talking about which one of them their father intended to run his empire after his death, Kendall Roy says, “When I was seven, he sat me down at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton and he promised it to me.” When I posted this with a picture of my beloved lifelong luncheonette as it was called, a sweet follower commented, “Candy Kitchen promises shouldn’t be broken.”

This hit me in the solar plexus. I thought of all the times people sat in the blue leather booths or on a seat at the soda counter or just stopped in to get a home-made ice cream cone (fresh peach is the best) and someone promised them something. We will always be friends. I’ll call you. Your secret is safe with me. It won’t happen again. I will make you a star. I’ll take care of it.

The Candy Kitchen was started in 1925 by George Stavropoulos in Bridgehampton. There was an original East Hampton version, which did not last. Gus Laggis bought it in 1981 to continue the tradition. There was one time they almost sold to an Italian restaurant but reconsidered at the last minute.

While it appears to be a casual diner and ice cream parlor, do not let its scuffed tile floors and faded leather seats fool you. The Candy Kitchen has hosted many a celebrity from Howard Hughes to Truman Capote to Bette Davis to Roy Scheider. Booth one (as the locals call the booth closest to the door) has seen media moguls doing deals including famed financiers or “60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt. The New York Observer said, “Someone on the C list could sit next to an A-lister at the Candy Kitchen and maybe advance to the B list.” It was a virtual who’s who of those who came in to pick up a Sunday New York Times from the stack by the ice cream counter (cash only). At the same time, it was a place when the land was dominated by potato fields instead of McMansions — that would open its doors to the farmers at 5AM for self-serve coffee.

My family, which has had a presence in Sagaponack since the 1950s, has held the Candy Kitchen in high esteem. When I was young, I thought a BLT and a black-and-white milk shake was about the best meal in the Hamptons. When I am sad, I sometimes say to hell with dairy intolerance and stop in for the shake, hoping to return to a time when it was all okay. The long-loyal waitresses in their blue aprons have witnessed it all. I have had break ups and make ups and at times had to duck out the back exit. “I will love you forever,” was one promise to me broken, however “I will take you to the Candy Kitchen for breakfast before your Jitney,” was a promise kept.

My own father made promises to me at the Candy Kitchen. I believed him when he said, “I will always be here for you,” as I would stand on his feet and he would give me a ride to bed, or get up at 5 AM to drive me to a horse show, or pay for my college education, or welcome me home after my divorce with no judgement. He even offered to buy me a new man, albeit reluctantly, when I was going to a charity bachelor auction. But when the shake was actually the shake of his hands, and I knew there would be no rides in his wheelchair and he would use the tube from a roll of toilet paper to try to amplify his voice, I knew it wasn’t true. 

Maybe it is the Candy Kitchen itself that has kept the promise, “I will always be here for you.” For the farmers and the movie stars and local families. For the sad and the lonely and those madly in love. For kids and cancer survivors and politicians. For those with dirt under their nails and French manicures. As it moves towards its second century it seems that is the best Candy Kitchen promise of all.


Heather Buchanan

Heather Buchanan is an award-winning writer with the accolades of "Best Column" and "Best Humor Column" from both the National Association of Newspaper Columnists and the Press Club of Long Island. Having first dipped her toes in the beaches of Sagaponack at three weeks old she has a long lens on Hamptons real estate both as a journalist, marketer, and buyer and seller before joining Sotheby’s International Realty. With her in-depth knowledge and personal dedication, she has been helping clients realize their dreams of a home in the Hamptons. When she is not working, she is perfecting her secret pie crust recipe, mastering the nine iron or making peace with pigeon pose.

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