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Fight to 'Save the Ditch Witch' Brewing in Montauk

Lili Adams told The Feast she lost a bid.

Montauk is outraged by news that the Ditch Witch take-out wagon was run out of its long time beach end, in part because of new legislation the town passed that concession stands have to bid for the right to do business.

A Facebook page, "Save the Ditch Witch," is up to 740 followers on Wednesday morning less than 24 hours after it was started.

It began when Lili Adams, who owns the Montauk-based institution, told The Feast blog that she wouldn't be setting up shop this summer at the entrance to .

To deal with the popularity of food trucks, the East Hampton Town Board passed legislation that required vendors submit bids for certain beach ends. The bids were not just monetary, but based on a points system where monetary, experience, and other factors were weighted. The board chose a handful of residents to look at the bids to value them and the bids were announced on Tuesday. The board will vote to officially accept the bids at their meeting on Thursday night.

Adams told The Feast that after her bid lost by just three points, "One of the town board members I know was in my driveway, crying. She started smoking again, she says this was the worst day of her life."

Her truck will be replaced by one that sells lobster rolls.

Adams told The Feast the problem started when Montaco, a taco cart based in Manhattan, came to Montauk. It now will replace the Beach Dog food cart, which has been there for 30 years.

"Save the Ditch Witch" followers said they won't take the decision lying down. Many have already sent letters to Town Hall pleading with Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and the board to prevent the replacement from happening.

Kate Soroka, who sent a letter, said she received this response, in part, "The Ditch Witch’s bid was not the high bid. That is not something we as a town board did, it is something that her bid did not do."

"Nonetheless, we hear the lament, and will discuss today, with our Town attorney, what the options are, given the law was enacted and the bids were submitted," the town's response said.

Meanwhile, on the page, people are voicing their support and are planning a protest on Saturday morning.

Annie Armstrong wrote, "That's like saying The Yankees will be replaced by The Boston Red Sox in NY. It's just wrong my heart goes out to Lil!"

Sarah Hubbard Vonfrank said she left the town five years ago and, "It is for actions like these that I'm glad I left. I watched, for years, the town of East Hampton trying to squeeze out the people who made it livable for those of us who had to work our butts off in order to live in what was a wonderful place to grow up. I am not happy about the prospect of visiting in the future."

Lou Corradi wrote, "I like to think that Montauk has character which is one of the reasons so many of us have chosen it as a place to live & spend our R&R time. The Ditch Witch is one of those little nuances that add so much depth & character to the town & Ditch beach. If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!"

To read the entire article on The Feast click here.

Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) May 19, 2011 at 02:52 PM
If anyone has a photo of the Ditch Witch, please upload it or send it to Taylor.Vecsey@patch.com. Thanks!
david shepherd May 19, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I'm from RI, I'm not a surfer, and I've only been to Ditch Plains a handful of times, but it was immediately apparent that the Witch is an integral part of what made the location so unique--and it served up the best damn sticky buns from Montauk to Manhattan. You can pass as many rules and laws as you want, but to rend the very fabric of your own town is myopic--no, make that 'blind'. Find a new spot for the newcomers, and leave the good Witch be.
Adrian May 19, 2011 at 03:37 PM
It's absolutely outrageous. SHAME ON EAST HAMPTON TOWN FOR TAKING AWAY OUR BELOVED DITCH WITCH!!!!! BOYCOTT THE LOBSTER WAGON & MONTACO!!!!!!! Here come the McDonalds and Starbucks. Good-bye everything we love about Montauk.
john May 19, 2011 at 03:41 PM
In reply to my email against evicting Lily I received a note from Teresa Quigly confirming that the major criteria WAS in fact money. Additionally if there was additional evaluation criteria, it could NOT have been an evaluation of the dining experience, since the Lobster Roll does not have a food cart to evaluate. In short: totally bogus. Teresa's reply follows: I am acknowledging receipt of your email asking us to reconsider the law, a law proposed and spearheaded by Julia Prince, from Montauk, initially discussed over a year ago, and passed after months of public discussion, which law included a system of valuing the bids giving the most we...ight in the valuation to issues other than the dollar amount of the bid. To be clear, everyone had a chance to bid. The bids were sealed, and the rating criteria, part of the law that was vetted, was used by a committee to evaluate the bids. The Ditch Witch’s bid was not the high bid. That is not something we as a town board did, it is something that her bid did not do. Nonetheless, we hear the lament, and will discuss today, with our Town attorney, what the options are, given the law was enacted and the bids were submitted. We have not yet actually awarded the bids, only discussed the results. Theresa Quigley
Kathy weiss May 19, 2011 at 04:12 PM
I listened at every meeting town board members said money would not be deciding factor I smell a rat They gave false info to bidders when they said money was not issue Sold out montaik working families. Kathy
Jill Ramundo May 19, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Wait, Montaco Cart is from Manhattan?!?!?!?! Where is this lobster roll cart from? This is awful.... Lili cant lost her spot.....
Maureen Bare May 19, 2011 at 04:48 PM
What a royal disgrace ......... another demonstration of follow the money !! ..... can only hope that Bill McGintee isn't going to be the man behind the Lobster Roll truck .... he's already rolled Montauk enough !!! Demand (FOIL) from the Board the actual bid detail :: it is your right under The Freedom of Information Act.
eh May 19, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Simple.. have East Deck Motel - (which is where it actually is) ... give her a few spots so it is not on Town Land. Maybe that would work.
todd May 19, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Let's be clear here. The Board clearly implied at public meetings that current operators would retain the spots based on a point system that rewarded local experience operating a cart at that location, etc. If the Board truly wanted local people at Ditch and at the Gosman's parking lot they would have created a point system that resulted in that outcome. It's not rocket science. The local character of Montauk is slowly being smothered by indifferent town officials. Quigley's explanation is nonsense and offends comon sense. Montauk will soon look in the mirror and see East Hampton, a village completely devoid of any local flavor.
Sam Pa'e May 19, 2011 at 05:38 PM
I am writing you from Hawaii and have just found out of a situation in Montauk. It is a sad moment for me and my heart goes out to the Ditch Witch and the beach going community of Ditch Plains. As a first time new comer from Hawaii that visited Montauk last summer 2010 the ditch witch welcomed me in. Lili and her family would watching my personal belonging and keep me safe while I was there enjoying sun and the surf of Ditch Plains.....Lili made feel at home and part of the Ditch Witch Ohana, which in Hawaii is considered "Family" My heart will forever be greatful for what Lili has done for me by sharing her love and Aloha. Please allow Lili Adams and the Ditch Witch to continue to operate on Ditch Plain and let her continue to share open heart and love for the community on Montauk.......Mahalo Aloha, Sam Pa'e
jim van de walle May 19, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Outrage! Lil and her friends and family are the eyes, ears and spirit of that intimate beach. The board is demontauking Montauk.
Marilyn Geraghty May 19, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Why don't they leave good things alone.MONTAUK DOES NOT NEED TO BE EAST HAMPTON!!! If you want a lobster roll, go to Gossmans, Cyrils or the Lobster Roll.
Gretchen Spicer Gargano August 06, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Don't let what happened in East Hampton happen in Montauk ! East Hampton is no longer an affordable shopping town,it is now Fifth Ave. It is shameful ! It is a town filled with pretentiousness. Don't let the town supv.fool you there is no open door policy.he has his own agenda !

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