Everett Griffths couldn't hide his emotions as the lunch rush settled down — the last of his deli's 33 year run.
Griffiths, and his wife Angela, closed , one of the last mom and pop's in East Hampton Village on Friday. They are retiring, hanging up their aprons on their own terms. "I wanted to go out while I'm on top," he said, plus, "I'm tired and I don't want to get up at quarter to 4 in the morning anymore."
Bucket's, which got its name from its previous owner Norton W. (Bucket's) Daniels in the 1970s, still has a lease in the building at the corner of Newtown Lane and Railroad Avenue until the end of March. Griffiths said he didn't want to be rushed out, so he decided to close up shop now.
Griffiths got choked up when he spoke of being overwhelmed by his customers' kind words of encouragement and wishes for a good retirement ever since he made the . When the last day came, it was even busier than he expected. Known for his egg sandwich specials, he said he cooked 31 dozen eggs and ran out of rolls.
"It's amazing that we have so many friends, not just customers, friends," he said.
"I'm so happy for you," said Hugh King, the village historian who calls Griffiths his favorite cousin, though he wanted to know just where he was going to exchange his loose change for baseball cards. Like King, Griffiths lives in the same house in Amagansett in which he grew up.
Several flower arrangements arrived and every customer wanted to shake Griffiths hand and tell a story or two.
Rich Brierley stopped in for a Turkey BLT to take home for his 23 year old son Matt Brierley, who was working in Montauk and couldn't make it in before closing, but wanted his favorite sandwich for dinner. "My son has to have one more," Rich said, and the ladies behind the counter, Tammi Gay and Christine Moran, knew just how his son took the sandwich — cheese, no mayo.
East Hampton resident Jeremy Samuelson actually stopped in twice on Friday. In the morning, he savored his last bacon, egg, and cheddar sandwich — with extra bacon — and then was hoping for something they didn't have on the menu the last day. "It's the best pulled pork in town, you kidding me?," he said.
Workers behind the counter used to poke fun at him for his unusual request, at least in these parts, a scoop of coleslaw on top of the pulled pork. "They did it that way for me for years," he said.
The secret to three decades in business? "I tried to keep the prices low for the locals, the working class," Griffiths said. "And people kept coming back — an they tell me the ."