Ben Pundole on S’Mores, Tepees, & the Secret to Ruschmeyer’s Success

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It’s another sizzling summer in that opulent New York playground known as the Hamptons, and a new crop of exclusive spots has opened to cater to the sybaritic whims of its visitors. Chief among them is Ruschmeyer’s, a stylish hotel, restaurant, and club complex in Montauk that’s already drawing the luminaries of Manhattan society. We caught up with Ben Pundole, who, along with partner Rob McKinley, opened Ruschmeyer’s on May 30, and got the scoop on the hottest summer camp this side of Lake Minnewaska.

BB: Where did the idea of opening Ruschmeyer’s come from? Ben Pundole: It was a reincarnation of the original Ruschmeyer’s, which was built in 1952. We wanted to create a modern day, nautical, summer camp getaway with great food and a great bar.

What kind of atmosphere do you hope to create for your guests? We want to create a place where you can relax, eat and drink well, laze in a hammock and read a book, or take advantage of the many activities we offer, from cycling and horseback riding to paddle boarding, kite surfing, and yoga. We also have a wellness center offering massages, facials, and body wraps. What is your role in Ruschmeyer’s? What’s an average day like for you? There is no such thing as an average day. Both Rob and I do everything and anything it takes to make it the place we want it to be. We have a strong focus on real hospitality, so whether it’s design, music, service, food, or cocktails, we do whatever we can to ensure the guest has the best stay possible.

What do you enjoy the most about your job? I love creating an immersive experience for the guest, from the s’mores kits and canteens in the mini bars to the yoga and tepee on the lawn to the fantastic breakfast we serve daily in the Nook.

What do you have planned for Ruschmeyer’s this season? We have some really exciting programs planned this summer, including an artist-in-residence program and an outdoor theater production.

What, in your view, is the secret to a successful Hamptons venue? I think the key to success is based on the people you work with, from Ben Towill and Phil Winser from The Fat Radish, who have created a fantastic food and beverage program with us, to the servers, bartenders, hotel staff and groundsmen. It should be as enjoyable a place to work as it is for the guests to visit.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working? Honestly, I have so much fun at Ruschmeyer’s. It’s everything I really ever wanted to do. Rob surfs, I’m a terrible surfer but have just started training for the New York Marathon.