Story By: Edward Callaghan

The Drivers Seat

For over six decades, The Driver's Seat has maintained a unique status as "the meeting place in the Hamptons" catering to a loyal following of hungry diners who seek high quality food at prices that don't break the budget - be they local residents or visitors from around the world.

Now the landmark restaurant is bustling following interior and exterior renovations.

The restaurant's much loved patio is a mass of color with thousands of brightly hued blooms providing the exotic backdrop for casual dining in the heart of historic Southampton Village. The Back Bar presided over by some of the area's top mixologists including Tommy Alexander, Daniel Hoctor and Miss Ronnie- remains the place to see and be seen.

The personable staff, many of whom have been with the restaurant for over twenty years, are back at their posts with warm smiles for everyone who enters. It is not simply the excellent food and lovely surroundings but the congeniality and hospitality extended by everyone from owner Irma Herzog right to the youngest busboy that makes The Driver's Seat a truly warm and welcoming experience. All who enter are welcomed with cheery greetings whether it be families out for the night or couples enjoying a romantic dinner such as longtime devotees Gary and Katherine Andreassen did some 28 years ago when he was summoning up the nerve to pop the big question.

Last fall, The Driver's Seat scored 5 Best of the Best Awards from the annual Dan's Papers readers poll including 3 Platinum Awards for Best Buffalo Wings, Best French Fries and Best Sports Bar and Silver Awards for Best Fried Chicken & Best Lobster Rolls.

In addition to these selections, The Driver's Seat is serving up its signature dishes such as its much praised Baked Clam Casserole, juicy burgers, Irma's Fajitas, tasty salads and lobster rolls. The chef has added several new items for this season - great noshes and good meals.

Perfect for sharing is the Spinach & Artichoke Dip, fresh spinach and artichokes blended with a creamy aged parmesan cream served bubbling hot with Tortilla chips ($13). The Eggplant Caprese Tower is a vegetarian's delight with crispy eggplant, stacked with fresh mozzarella, tomato and arugula topped with a rich balsamic glaze ($16). Salad lovers can easily make a meal with the Thai Salad, field greens topped with Thai peanut glazed chicken, shredded carrots, edamame and crispy won-ton strips tossed in the house's own cilantro vinaigrette ($18) or go Mediterranean with their extremely popular new Greek Salad featuring mixed greens tossed with chopped tomato, feta, cucumber and red onion served with a balsamic vinaigrette ($15). They also offer a salad variation of one of their most popular dishes, Crab Cake Salad, two Maryland style crab cakes made with all jumbo lump blue crab, pan fried and nestled on a garden salad ($28).

Making The Driver's Seat all the more desirable is its proximity to the finest luxury shopping in the Hamptons. The restaurant is within a few yards of the most exclusive retailers in the area: Ralph Lauren, Missoni Home, J McLaughlin, Erika's Place, Cashmere Outlet, Villbrequin on Job's Lane; Space 16 and Jackie Rogers on Hill Street and Southampton's chic Main Street where Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Vineyard Vines, Christopher Kaufman Jewels, Tenet, Henry Lehr, HomeNature and scores more fashionable shops reside.

And of course, there are the much talked about young sisters - Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian - who have rented the property adjacent to The Driver's Seat patio for their Dash pop-up store, making Jobs Lane one of the most popular destinations this season.

The Driver's Seat is located in the heart of Southampton Village at 66 Jobs Lane. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Visit their website or call them at 631-283-6606 to make reservations.