Below, a three-piece band on the Lakeside stage, 1950s. | Dave Edwardes Collection, Montauk Library Archives
And so, just like that … the summer season is off to a start. As one could have expected … all roads, all invitations, all Instagrams lead to Montauk … And more specifically, The Surf Lodge. All of social note were in attendance Saturday and Sunday it seemed … swaying to the music just long enough for that enviable Instagram story to scare the FOMO into all their follower friends. – Guest of a Guest, May 2017
Have you, too, suffered from FOMO, or the fear of missing out? The Lakeside Inn may have inspired that feeling even before it became the Surf Lodge.
“Saturday night saw the opening of the new Lakeside Inn,” the East Hampton Star reported on August 1, 1946. “Wm. Hourrigan, summer resident of Montauk for the past six years, knows something about the business for he successfully operates two other establishments in Brooklyn.”
Ralph Giordano opened Giordano’s Lakeside Inn in the same spot in 1948. (He would later open Pizza Village, also, in a former motel in town.) Throughout the 1960s, Giordano’s Lakeside Inn boasted views of “Fort Pond Lake” as well as the best Italian-American food in Montauk. There was a cocktail lounge, and there was dancing – to the Tully Three (“formerly 3 Guys and a Doll, directly from the Dream Bar in Miami Beach”), to the Fabulous Gibsons, to the Jet Set Trio. The family-run restaurant (the Giordanos are related to the Vastis and Pernas) also had a bowling team that competed against the likes of the Fort Pond Splinters, the Lumber Jacks, Tuma’s Tacklers, Marshall’s Service Station, and the Blue Marlin.
By the late 1970s, the establishment was being advertised as Ken & Nancy’s Lakeside Inn. It featured the Golden Swan dining room and a horseshoe bar with a panoramic view as well as a free salad bar and music to dance to by the Chris Lynch trio. (Other musicians during the 1970s included “the fabulous Playboys featuring Debbi,” and Sonny Sharum on the keyboard.) The dance floor was closed one Saturday night in late August of 1978 so that a young singer named Tony Costa could be taped for a promotional video.
By the mid-1980s the restaurant and bar had been transformed into a disco – called the Place – while the units, which were still known as the Lakeside Inn, were used to house employees of Gurney’s Inn. Another decade or two as a nightclub and worker housing, and then fast-forward to 2008, when the Surf Lodge opened for its first season as, as the New York Post put it this year, “the East End’s ultimate cool-kid mecca.”
The new owners had closed on the property only six weeks beforehand, according to the Post article, written in celebration of the Lodge’s 15th season. “’Cars were pulling up and we were still finishing cleaning the bathrooms for guests to check in,’” the owner Jayma Cardosa told the Post. “It was a challenge, but we did it.’”
“’I remember at the end of the first night, there were cars two miles in each direction, there were bottles everywhere,’” said Robert McKinley, a former partner. “’ You hear stories about these instant successes, but that never really happens. Except it did.’”