As the proprietor of three Southampton mainstays, Ian Duke has had a lasting impact on Southampton’s social and culinary scene. The restaurateur has worked every restaurant job imaginable after starting as a dishwasher at a local restaurant when he was 13. Duke, who lives with his wife and daughter in East Quogue, and his partner David Hilty are the owners of the ever-popular Southampton Social Club, Union Burger Bar and the newest East End dining destination, Union Sushi and Steak.
The new steakhouse serves a variety of dry-aged Niman Ranch steaks alongside the freshest and most inventive fish and sushi dishes. “We created Union Sushi & Steak because it’s what the people of Southampton were asking for,” says Duke. “Southampton has no year-round sushi restaurants, and there isn’t a dedicated steakhouse. I am a big red meat eater and love a traditional steakhouse.” Next door, Union Burger Bar continues to serve up American comfort food classics. Southampton Social Club has been in business for a decade serving Hamptonites delectable menu items like tuna tacos, Caribbean-spiced mahi-mahi and a charred vegetable napoleon alongside live music.
“The opening of Southampton Social Club was really the beginning of a whole new life for me,” says Duke. So what has he learned along the way? “It truly is a business where no one job is any more important than any other, and everyone relies on one another in order for everything to work smoothly,” says Duke. “Being able to roll with the punches is paramount.”