The Queen of Summer Jayma Cardoso has been cultivating a boho-chic scene at Montauk’s coolest address since it debuted in 2008, turning the surf shack into a breezy indie rock clubhouse for weekending Manhattanites. Here, the Brazilian-born local shows us her Hamptons.
Cardoso loves the curated finds at Montauk’s Melet Mercantile. “Owner Bob Melet has a great eye for vintage—it's a treasure chest that you can get lost in for hours,” she says. Lazy Point Variety’s owners Claudja Bicalho and Mark Wilson have an “unconventionally cool sophistication that influences the fashion, design, photography, and art sourced on their travels for the Amagansett shop," she adds.
Her advice? “Go now: word has it the duo spent last year in India, collecting wares they describe as ‘beyond.’” For seasonal style, Cardoso doesn’t look far. “Yes, the Surf Bazaar is in my hotel, but when it comes to that summer-fun look, Bethany Mayer has her finger on the pulse."
Husband-and-wife team David and Julie Marcley’s smiles and fresh fish make Dave's Grill near the fishing docks on Montauk Harbor “one of my favorite restaurants anywhere,” she says. Reservations are same-day only and stop at 4:15, so if there’s a wait, “I get a double scoop from nearby Ben & Jerry’s.”
If Cardoso is craving Mexican, she heads to Amagansett’s fast-casual spot La Fondita. “It’s the best Mexican food in New York,” she says. “The soft-shell crab tacos with all of their hot sauces are a must. Make sure you get the wedding cookies—the perfect finish.” Believe it or not, Cardoso lamented Moby Dick’s move from Montauk to East Hampton last year. “ I should be happy the competition left, but they really get beach atmosphere and food. On the bright side, it gives me a reason to venture out of Montauk!”
“Rosé and summer go hand-in-hand and Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack bottles a wonderful one. There’s a tranquility to looking at the vines from which your grape came.” She’s a big fan of The Dock in Montauk for its seaside village character. “It’s filled with old-world charm and guys who fish the Atlantic—it’s as real as it gets.” Another local favorite? “Montauket is a must for the sunset. They still have a jukebox; if you hear Bruce Springsteen playing, take a look around, it was probably me who dialed it up.”
On beach days, Cardoso drops by Joni’s Kitchen for organic snacks, then makes her way to the bayside of the South Fork. “The water is warmer and the shores are emptier. I have Fort Pond right in front of Surf Lodge, and my other spot? I’m never giving up that secret!”
Her favorite culture stop: the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill. “I love the beach as much as anyone, but climb out of your board shorts for a few minutes—the building’s modern architecture is worth a trip alone.”