Coleslaw from Duck's
Parade on the 4th, nights at the Post House, and sauerbraten and duck with cherry sauce and coleslaw from Johnny Duck's ...
I didn't add any salt because it didn't seem to need any - and I added both a little celery seed and caraway seed.
Say Good Night, Duck’s
By SUSAN SAITER
NYT Published: May 11, 2008
In the RegionLong Island, Westchester, Connecticut and New Jersey
IT was Main Street, U.S.A., as much as it was Main Street, Southampton. It was where everybody knew everybody and could linger over meals like sauerbraten with potato pancakes and rice pudding.
But times and tastes change, and now so has John Duck’s Restaurant. John Duck’s threw itself a farewell party in March to dish up the last orders of its century-old signature dish, roast Long Island duckling with Bing cherry sauce, and a version of coleslaw that some people said elevated the humble cabbage to legendary heights.
The restaurant’s sign — with a wooden duck in a red vest — was long a folksy note in a village downtown where pretension is not unknown. But the sign will go the way of the old décor as the restaurant, once a 19th-century farmhouse, is renovated by a new owner, Jean Mackenzie, 57, and becomes a catering business.
Ms. Mackenzie, who owns the Clamman Seafood Market just down the street, promised that her business, Four Seasons Caterer, would still be open for celebrating first communions, bar mitzvahs and similar occasions, and that civic groups would still be welcome to meet there, as they were at John Duck’s for decades.
But many Southampton residents are feeling a twinge of nostalgia for an old family and a way of life. Mayor Mark Epley said: “It’s a very sad occasion. No restaurant was as big a part of the community as John Duck’s.”
Joseph Krajewski, owner of the Baywoods nursery in Water Mill, said, “It was where the in crowd hung out.”
Lee Allen, membership chairman of the Southampton Kiwanis Club, said that because the owners lived locally, diners felt comfortable there. “It wasn’t like some of these new restaurants that cater to New Yorkers, where you feel like you owe them a favor just for walking through the door,” he said.
Four generations of the Westerhoff family operated Duck’s. The original was opened in Eastport in 1900 by John Westerhoff. The most recent Duck’s opened in Southampton in 1946, and a special welcome soon went out to civic clubs.
Mark and John Westerhoff, great-grandsons of the restaurant’s founder, were the most recent owners, along with their mother, Gloria, and they said John Duck’s built a room in 1952 for the Rotary Club. The Kiwanis Club, the Rotarians and the Southampton Fire Department, a volunteer force that includes the Westerhoff men, regularly met there. They considered the dinner meeting price of $20 a person ($14 for lunch) a bargain.
Veterans marching in the Fourth of July parade got an even better deal — full breakfast, with a bloody Mary included (if you could handle it at 7 a.m.), all on the house.
John Westerhoff, 50, worked up front while Mark, 49, manned the kitchen, cooking favorites like Wiener schnitzel and New York sirloin and baked stuffed shrimp with Newburg sauce. Gloria, 82, greeted customers. “It was my social life,” she said. “And were we busy. On holidays, we would serve 600 dinners.”
John Duck’s did not lack for glamorous patrons back in the day, said Roger Westerhoff, the brothers’ uncle, who sold his share of the restaurant in 1995. He said that Woody Allen, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor had dined there.
“Jackie Kennedy had a funeral reception here when her aunt, Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale, died,” Roger Westerhoff, 72, said.
The Westerhoffs acknowledge that what made the restaurant essential in its heyday led in part to its demise.
“We didn’t want to do a different thing, though a lot of people said we should,” Roger Westerhoff said.
William Frankenbach, a Duck’s regular for 60 years and the chairman of the village’s Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events, which puts on the Fourth of July and other parades, said, “The summer crowd wanted something more glitzy.”
Ms. Mackenzie has high hopes for her catering business, which will be run by her daughter, Mackenzie Koster, 25. The chef, Jeremy Palmer, will emphasize fresh ingredients, like salmon with local strawberry salsa.
Bob Schepps, the Southampton Chamber of Commerce president, is thankful that another local family bought the place.
“If this were a case of someone from outside coming in and saying to heck with the local people, I’d be the first one to say the sky is falling,” he said. “But this is not the case.”
2 carrots, trimmed, peeled and chopped coarsely
1 medium sweet onion such as a Vidalia, peeled and chopped coarsely
1/2 each red bell pepper and green bell pepper, seeded, chopped coarsely
1 head cabbage (about 2 pounds), outer leaves discarded
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt or to taste
1 teaspoon celery seed or caraway seed
1 1/2 cups Hellmann's mayonnaise or more to taste.
1. In batches, pulse carrots, onion, peppers and cabbage separately, until each is finely chopped. Do not overprocess! Combine ingredients in a bowl.
2. Combine sugar and vinegar in a pan and stir over low heat until sugar melts, Pour over vegetables and mix. Add salt and caraway or celery seed and mix. Add mayonnaise and mix.
Add more salt and/ or mayonnaise if desired. Chill for an hour and serve.
Yield: About 10 cups .•