The Truth About Zach Erdem From Serving The Hamptons Season 1

Sometimes the stories of people who achieve the proverbial American Dream can inspire. Zach Erdem, the owner of the restaurant 75 Main featured on the new discovery+ show "Serving the Hamptons," is such an example. Born in Turkey, he spent his teens and the beginning of his twenties as a shepherd. One day, as he described to Dan's Papers, he came across something — a newspaper with a picture of New York City splashed across the front page. "I kept that page for years," he said. "I looked at it and thought, 'If I don't get there, I am going to die a shepherd.' " So, when he was 21, he went to New York City. 

He arrived with a few bills and no English. According to the restaurateur, his first English word was "exit" because he saw it everywhere while taking the bus from the airport to Grand Central. Eventually, he arrived in Southampton where he would make it in the restaurant trade that forms the backdrop to the drama in the reality show. He began at 75 Main, working up from the position of dishwasher to bartender. Then, he moved on to another eatery in the area called Nello, where he eventually became a manager. In 2010, he was fired but saw that the restaurant 75 Main was up for sale.

The Main Man of Southampton

In a few years, Zach Erdem was a staple of the restaurant scene in the Hamptons. In Du Jour's words, he was "The Main Man in Southampton." 75 Main could boast a clientele list that included Kim Kardashian, Joe Biden, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

By 2016, when Haute Living was calling the restaurant owner "Hampton's Man of the Summer," he had expanded his reach throughout Southampton to include a hotel, a couple of nightclubs, and a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant called Kozu that filled the building Nello once occupied. Despite the successes he had, the daily routine Erdem outlined for Haute Living began at 7 am and ended in the early hours of the next day. "But no matter how long the hours, I can't complain," he commented. "I love it. This is my life." Such a grueling routine may have informed the reason why he gives the seasonal help who star in "Serving the Hamptons" accommodations for the duration of their employment (via People). At a glance, it's a case of how hard work can come over any obstacle.

Not even the pandemic stopped Zach Erdem

Things were flying high for Zach Erdem, the restaurateur darling of the Hamptons. Then, of course, the industry saw many restaurants going out of business due to the pandemic. However, Erdem's businesses were in the Hamptons and he seemed to be equipped to navigate the new landscape.

For example, when August saw a champagne shortage, a billionaire flew 15 cases of champagne to the Hamptons for his wife's birthday (via Fox Business). " I had to tell him to bring his own or I'll be serving him a $10 bottle of Prosecco instead," Erdem explained. Similarly, people would still order takeout from 75 Main and then smoke cigars as an attempt for socially distanced socializing, according to The New York Post. "Everyone is so stressed and there's no place for people to go," he noted. So they went to 75 Main.

That said, it wasn't entirely smooth sailing either. Page Six reported that 75 Main lost its liquor license at one point and the restaurateur talked with Yahoo! Finance about staffing issues in the summer of 2020, but by the summer of 2021, everything was booming for Erdem's businesses again. He boasted on Business Insider that after fully reopening on June 1, 75 Main was booked solid for a month. That return to boom-time will serve as the backdrop for "Serving the Hamptons" with Zach Erdem as the seasoned overlord.