It might be enough for the Hampton Social, a new restaurant at Pointe Orlando, to be all atmospherics. Its mien is a coastal yacht club with a stressful casualness, a yacht club whose members wear unscuffed boat shoes.
It’s about lounging. It’s about sipping. It’s about schmoozing, seeing and being seen. And after a year of not seeing or being seen except through a computer screen, that might be plenty.
That Hampton Social also serves some pretty decent food makes it all the more enjoyable.
Despite what the name might suggest, HS does not hail from New York’s Long Island. It’s a nascent brand from Chicago’s Parker Restaurant Group. The Orlando restaurant was announced to take over the former Tommy Bahama Cafe space back in 2018 and was to have been the first or second one outside of the Chicago area. Another, in Naples, has also opened.
The menu isn’t terribly ambitious; there’s not a lot of culinary creativity being expended here. But the food I tasted was all solidly executed and enjoyable.
Take for instance the fish + chips, a fairly common equation but one that is seldom revelatory. The Hampton’s had me reminiscing about a favorite London chipperie called Fish Plaice. The white cod had the same firm breading clinging to it – and it didn’t fall off when forked. The tartar sauce that accompanied was perfect, though I wish the fries had a little more heft than the shoestring style served here.
My companion selected the smash burger, a two-patty device with well-melted cheddar cheese on an egg bun with a buttery note. The burger was wonderfully greasy but served with mundane chips (American chips).
For an appetizer we shared the Southampton pizza, which had pepperoni and sausage with basil and cheeses on a chewy crust slathered with sauce. It was actually quite good, especially the charred edges of the crust.
Our server was affable and seemed eager to please, but a couple of requests were acknowledged but never fulfilled.
As with the previous tenant, the Hampton Social features a large bar in the main room and a small, quieter dining room next to it. There is another bar outside. What had been the Tommy Bahama retail clothing store appears poised to be Hampton Social’s event space once events start to happen again.
We were seated on the spacious patio that faces the Pointe’s interior. It is set with mostly lounge-style seating and low bass-drum-like tables. Not really amenable to dining unless you like eating hunched over. It wasn’t until after we had been seated there that I discovered another patio on the International Drive side with conventional tables and chairs where people could eat properly.
But like I said, it’s all about the atmosphere here. We sat back in our comfy chairs and enjoyed being seen.
The Hampton Social is at Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive (map). (Note: Despite the pinpoint on the map, Hampton Social is located across from Cuba Libre.) It is open for brunch on weekends and dinner daily. The phone number is 689-800-6760.