I opened Grindstone in August 2016. I had given up searching for a reasonably priced spot in East Hampton, and was about to leave the state when a realtor I had been working with mentioned the Sag Harbor space. The town already had 8 other options for coffee but the location was just so amazing we knew it could work if we set ourselves apart from the other coffee shops.
That’s where donuts came in. We had a bunch of different ideas to draw people in: fried chicken, ice cream, bahn mi, etc. Something simple that we could have a good variety of. Something that did as well in February as it did in August. Something quick and walkable. Donuts checked all of those boxes, and added a little splash of old-timey Americana that worked really well with Sag.
It’s easy to recruit your friends from Cleveland to move to the Hamptons. I fell in love with the area after visiting during the summer. Not because of the fancy stuff, but for the natural beauty and the attention to environmental preservation. It just feels like a different world, especially in the off season. I think all of my friends felt that too, so I slowly got most of them to move here, and only one has ever gone back.
I think this is one of the things that gives Grindstone a unique feel. We’re all a bunch of midwestern guys that played in punk bands in high school, and somehow we’re running a donut shop in the Hamptons. It’s like a weird dream.
An oat milk cortado with a touch of maple, and an apple cider donut. On a crisp but sunny fall day — hoodie weather, on a picnic table in the park. This takes me back to when I’m 14 years old, surrounded by friends and family. I can hear the playground on the other side of the parking lot. Swings and peaks of laughter carried on the cold wind coming off the water. I take a bite and sip the cortado, the cinnamon and tart apple hits the sweet chocolate taste of the coffee. Everything about it is warm, and all is good around me.