A New Chapter for Claudio’s
The long-anticipated sale of the Claudio’s, Claudio’s Clam Bar, and Crabby Jerry’s left many wondering what’s next for the Greenport staple. Touted as the longest family owned and operated restaurant in the United States, the 148-year reign came to an end this year as the Claudio family passed the three waterfront restaurants onto new owners. With a deep appreciation for the small seaside village and what very well may be a pinnacle of local culture, the new proprietors aim to offer a fresh take on a historical brand.
Perry Weitz, his son David Weitz, Ian Behar, and Ryan Sasson are bringing their three families together to continue the legacy of Claudio’s. As self-described Greenport loyalists, they are committed to maintaining the local experience they too have always enjoyed. To honor this legacy, the new owners are placing Tora Matsuoka, owner of Sen Restaurant in Sag Harbor, and restaurateur Stephen Loffredo at the helm.
“The Claudio’s family built an incredible history of fun and friends – one of the main reasons why we love the brands so much,” the pair say. “We aren’t going to change any of that; we want to build on those foundations continuing to enhance the work environment for our incredible team and the overall guest experience for our loyal guests. When you have such a strong base to work with, it makes it all much easier.”
With generations of the Claudio family burgeoning its history, the family business aspect is one that will be of great importance for the new owners. Respectively, each come from owning family businesses, as well as Matsuoka having a restaurant that has been in business for more than two decades. The crew has also spent copious amounts of time in Greenport and have long been fans of Claudio’s compound.
“We are thrilled with this exciting evolution,” Claudio’s co-owners Kathy and Janice Claudio say. “The team of owners is committed to maintaining the values that have carried our family name for generations while also reinvigorating our legacy of success. For 148 years, Claudio’s has been synonymous with great food and an unforgettable dining experience. We are confident that these three families will take Claudio’s to the next level of customer experience with the same passion that has made our name a North Fork staple.”
So, what will change? A restaurant’s formula for success is the complementation of elements, the most important of which is food and beverage. Matsuoka and Loffredo are adamant about honoring the history of the restaurants and their longtime staff, and share that the Clam Bar and Crabby Jerry’s menus will remain largely unchanged. Subtle adjustments will be made to emphasize local and seasonal flavors, with a menu that is fun and approachable.
“The lunch and dinner menus at Claudio’s Restaurant will have a cleaner, more direct approach,” explain Matsuoka and Loffredo, adding that they are happy to have the current chefs stay onboard. “The emphasis will be placed on simplicity, allowing for the natural flavors to shine. Ingredients will be sourced locally whenever possible. The lunch menu will see more entrée salads, creative sandwiches and seafood. The dinner menu will include an expanded steak selection.”
Cocktail culture on the North Fork has grown over the years as local wine, beer, and spirits help define the region, while craft producers around the globe lend to themselves to the well-rounded beverage programs guests look for on menus. The Clam Bar will offer a slightly larger spirits selection, in addition to a new and bright, refreshing summer cocktail program. Wines by the glass will feature North Fork, West Coast, and Mediterranean selections, with Matsuoka and Loffredo saying the Wharf will continue its “great time” tradition. “The bar at Claudio’s Restaurant will expand, offering an extensive list of spirits including whiskeys, bourbons, rums, tequilas, and mezcals,” they say. “The wine by the glass program will continue at over 20 selections – but the wine list will grow, offering diners a balanced flavor profile and price point.”
The Claudio’s compound is set to reopen by Memorial Day weekend.