A Family Affair At East Hampton Restaurants


What do Cittanuova, the Grill at Pantigo, and East Hampton Point have in common?

Ben Krupinski owns all three East Hampton restaurants, but each restaurant also has a member of the Fromm family, whether by blood or by marriage, in at least one least one top position, if not more.

In April, Carolyn (Fromm) Papetti took over as general manager of the Grill at Pantigo, leaving a similar position at Cittanuova.

When she left for the Grill, Massimo Papetti, her husband, rose from full-time manager to general manager at Cittanuova.

This week, Patrick Fromm, who is her brother, worked his first weekend as the head chef at East Hampton Point. He has moved there from a sous chef position at Cittanuova, where another sister, Bridget Barbour, is a full-time manager. Another brother, Tim Fromm, will work as a part-time manager this summer at the Grill.

“There were four of us under one roof for a period of time,” Ms. Papetti said of a spell this year when she, her husband, Patrick Fromm, and Ms. Barbour worked together at Cittanuova. Asked whether they got along, she said it was “interesting at times, heated at times, but for the most part, yes.”

The five Fromm siblings (Matt Fromm lives in North Carolina) moved as children to Amagansett in the 1980s. “All three of my brothers worked at Gordon’s,” Ms. Papetti said, and she worked at the Buttery on Newtown Lane in East Hampton.

“My best friend’s aunt owned it and they needed a busgirl. I was 14, so I kind of got roped in,” she said. Two of her siblings worked at the Barefoot Contessa, also on Newtown Lane. One Fromm worked at Cyril’s on Napeague.

A native Italian, Massimo Papetti met his wife in Rome, where she taught English, completed an MBA and, for five years, ran a small-tour company. Mr. Papetti was not in the restaurant trade; he helped run his family’s perfume and heating and air-conditioning businesses.

They dated for seven years, then she returned to the United States, starting at Cittanuova in 2005. “Like they say in the Mafia, I keep getting sucked back in,” she said of the restaurant biz.

Mr. Papetti followed her here six months later, taking a job as maitre d’ at Cittanuova. The Papettis were married in October 2006 in a small town in Italy.

“It’s interesting. We play off each other nicely,” Ms. Papetti said. “He’s like a local celebrity. People love to talk to him, kind of feel graced by his presence if he stops at a table. He’s just a natural with hospitality.”

“What I enjoy most about the industry is running a business, how to appeal to more people and getting it right,” she said. “My background is marketing. I did so many things at Cittanuova to put us on the map.” That is what she plans to do at the Grill at Pantigo, whose first anniversary was on Friday.

“I love it,” Ms. Papetti said of her new home, whose atmosphere she described as “like a playoff” of that at Cittanuova. “They’re both pretty cool.”

“The entire experience is different,” though, she said. With all the foot traffic in East Hampton Village, Cittanuova doesn’t take reservations for what Ms. Papetti called, with authority, its “authentic Italian” food. The Grill on Pantigo, she said, “is definitely a much slower pace.” Reservations will be accepted, and the menu is “American fare, pretty heavy on meat and fish.”

Over on Three Mile Harbor, East Hampton Point offers contemporary American seafood in a postcard-worthy waterfront spot. Mr. Fromm said on Sunday that he was “just trying to settle in and find everything,” especially since there had been a wedding at the restaurant the day before.

At home, Ms. Papetti said, “my husband, like many Italians, only really likes Italian,” but that when she’s on her own “I eat non-Italian food as much as possible.” Their 2½-year-old, Francesco, is learning both Italian and English at home. Another child is expected in December—good timing considering that the summer work week is typically 60 hours for each parent.

Once they get “up to speed” in their new posts, Ms. Papetti said, they hope to see more of each other. They may be at different restaurants, but they’ll be working the same shift four days a week, meaning they’ll have time off together, along with Francesco.

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