Claudio’s of Greenport Returns

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here

Same name with a new vibe–

Now, it’s more than the ferry that connects the two forks of Long Island. Claudio’s Restaurant of Greenport, an iconic and famed eatery for over 100 years, is now under the same management as Sag Harbor’s trusted establishment, Sen Restaurant, and the newly established K Pasa, co-owned by Tora Matsuoka and business partner Stephen Loffredo of Seasoned Hospitality. The two oversaw the vision of the Claudio’s new owners Perry Weitz, David Weitz, Ian Behar, and Ryan Sasson.

“To us, Claudio’s is an American treasure,” said Sasson, CEO of Strategic Financial Solutions. “We feel a sense of responsibility to the people that have supported Claudio’s through its 149-year run and the Greenport community to keep the legacy alive and to help bring it forward. We all have deep ties and fantastic memories from time spent with our families at Claudio’s over the last 30 years.” The group of friends wasn’t looking for a property to invest in, but upon overhearing about the restaurant’s availability, they jumped on the opportunity.

The property feels completely transformed from the inside, thanks to architects Robert Brown and Tim Schollaert. The usual crew of bikers are welcome as the Harley-Davidson gang brings personality to the wharf, but the ambience is a bit more family friendly these days. Claudio’s restaurant freshened up with a completely renovated first floor with white interiors and the antique bar still intact. The second floor opens with a new bar and lounge, Upstairs at Claudio’s, fitting up to 75 guests with a focal point of a hand-carved ship, complemented by the original Prohibition and 1920s photography on the property.

Loffredo, operating manager of Claudio’s Restaurants, creates a menu that reinterprets classic dishes but takes a lighter approach with homegrown variations, showcasing the natural flavors of the area. “We have Oysters Claudio that takes the heart of flavor from Oysters Rockefeller but with less butter, cream, and a more brightening subtle cheese. A current favorite is our Seared Local Diver Scallops — this dish is simple in its ingredients, recognizable but full of flavor. It includes local diver scallops, snap peas, garlic scapes, and mushrooms.”

While I didn’t have Oysters Claudio or the scallops, I did partake in a menu that was understated and exactly what I wanted on a warm spring day, at the revamped Claudio’s Waterfront, formerly Claudio’s Clam Bar. The retractable pergola is a beautiful addition to the new bar with rope hugging the exterior, adding nautical touches throughout.

Frozen drinks are $12. Choose from the Mudslide, Strawberry Fro-Goni, or a Dark & Stormy, my personal choice. These certainly have a kick to them but are perfectly matched for the price point. From the Raw and Chilled section of the menu arrived peel and eat shrimp, $18, a half-dozen North Fork oysters for $15, and half-dozen little necks, $9. Each came with black pepper mignonette, cocktail sauce, and lemon. They were each great for sharing and fresh without too much of a saltwater taste.

A fun item on the menu was the watermelon feta salad, $12, with tomato, watermelon, feta, olive oil, and sea salt. There’s something very summery about a watermelon dish and this was flavorful, reminiscent of picnics on the beach.

Next was a crispy fish taco with local fish, corn tortilla, chipotle, spicy cabbage, that came as three for $12. It wowed in flavor so much that I’m salivating, yet again, as I think about it. The finale was a lobster roll, $28, with coleslaw and chips, Claudio’s style with tarragon mayo, Connecticut-style butter, and toasted bun. If you don’t have a go-to spot for lobster rolls on the North Fork yet, I’d suggest giving this place a try.

If seafood isn’t your thing but you’re still hungry while exploring the area, there’s some good news. Ten-time world champion pizza maker, owner of Williamsburg Pizza, Nino Coniglio, opened Pizzeria Bacon, right in front of the waterfront. As we shook hands in passing, he reached into a giant pizza box and, without questioning, handed me a grandma slice.

“I hope you like pizza?” he said, wearing a “Pizza Is Happiness” shirt. Without hesitation, I took a bite into possibly the best slice of pizza I have had in years. The crust somehow melted and crunched in my mouth at the same time. “Want more? Sure, ya do. Hey, make sure she gets another slice of whatever she wants before she leaves,” he said. It was a great to-go snack for the ferry ride back, as if I weren’t full enough.

28 Days of Food & Drinks

Get ready for 28 new flavors to add to your foodie bucket list!

The number 28 was originally inspired by a blog documenting my Golden Birthday Adventure. This number transitioned into an entire series on how to live life to the fullest. After Springing to Action comes a more concise post about my true passion- FOOD! They say don’t go shopping when you’re hungry, so I’ll advise the same warning: Do not read the below on an empty stomach.


Strollo’s Lighthouse is a soft serve Italian ice spot with several locations in New Jersey. As with any experience, I went to ‘the original’ in Long Branch. All the flavors were tempting but I went for the Strawberry, Pistachio & Peanut Butter combo!

Myself & friend at Strollo's
Myself & Friend at Strollo’s


American Whiskey is a whiskey aficionado’s dream! A New York Sour or Old Fashioned done right, there’s no messing around here- you’ll be tempted to drink yourself back to college days. To [slightly] sober up eat their classic burger or butcher steak. Simple in design, memorable in flavor.

Vauxhall, in Huntington, had the largest warm pretzel I had ever seen. With Ale Mustard Cheddar Dip and Espelette House Mustard (just enough spice!) the entire thing was gone in minutes. I paired that with their original Vauxhall Stout (GUINNESS, VANILLA VODKA, SAIL AWAY COLD BREW), a sure fire way to ensure a returning customer!

Verde Kitchen in Bayshore’s town is great for some quality T&T- taco’s and tequila! Pulpo taco and Pomegranate Margarita were the top favorites (so many options, so short a lunch break).

The Lake House, also in Bay Shore but on the water, provided a Roasted Berkshire Pork Chop worth salivating over. Green Apple, Yam, Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Gratin, Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette, Cranberry Mostarda- it’s fall freshness in your mouth (though, technically I had it in summer).

Bay Kitchen, in East Hampton, though closed until May 2018, had a $1 oyster happy hour. Right on the water, the shells were ripe for the picking.

Serafina’s location in East Hampton was a popular spot for a Saturday night. I’d been to the locations in NYC but this was a first. The ALLA NORCINA & 4 STAGIONI personalized size pizza pies were perfecto!

Caliente, an inaugural Hamptons event to benefit Long Island Cares, The Harry Chapin Food Bank and OLA of Eastern Long Island, was an evening of delectables!

Montauk Yacht Club’s Coast Kitchen served up a seaworthy cioppino! For the full review of my entire meal read here.

Cioppino at Montauk Yacht Club


Estias Sag Harbor is a quaint local spot right off the Bridge-Sag Turnpike. Freshness you almost wouldn’t believe (if you haven’t been yet). You’ll likely see the owner Colin Ambrose around as well- who can take the best Instagram food photo?

Estia’s Cole Combo


SagTown Coffee reopened this summer 2017 after months of renovation. The newly inventive draft latte made with cold brew espresso is nothing short of a caffeinated miracle. Read more about the reopening, along with other caffeine spots, here.

SagTown Coffee with owner Shane Dyckman


Cowfish in Hampton Bay’s has a great outdoor bar aside from a lofty inside. The iron skillet cookie is every bit of sugary sweetness one could ask for.

Isola  is a fresh take on an old space in the Historic District of Shelter Island. Every dish tied into the next in a distinctive flow of flavors. Read my full review here.

With Isola Owner Brad Kitkowski & Chef Seth Nathan

Over to Jackson Wyoming….

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is the quintessential bar in Jackson, Wyoming. Technically, I didn’t eat here and drinking at that elevation (6,200FT) with acute altitude sickness was ill-advised. However, I’m adding it to the list because it’s an absolute must-see in town!

Cowboy Coffee, a few steps away and sticking to the theme, has a list of food items with suitable names to lure in tourists (it worked for me). Try the Cow Puncher of turkey, cheddar cheese, red peppers, banana peppers, lettuce and mayo on their outside deck as you people watch. Don’t forget a cup of coffee!

The Outside of Cowboy Coffee


Picnic and Persephone are two individualized coffeehouses I wanted to group together because of their unique personalities. Picnic is more of a locals spot whereas Persephone is in the main town. Grab some coffee, a pastry or a light lunch and take in what the area has to offer. Picnic also serves alcohol, best of both worlds.

Coffee & Breakfast Bread from Picnic


Bin22 is a tapas bar in the back of what appears to be just a wine store. After you’ve navigated through the endless bottles, sit outdoors and try the housepulled mozzarella or grilled snake river wagyu steak- you will thank me. I’m hungry just remembering it!

The Housepulled Mozzarella at Bin22


Chicken Fry benefiting the Wilson Fire Department. It’s an entire fundraiser [hosted by the fire fighters themselves] revolved around frying chicken in the woods. Tin garbage cans filled with the stuff. Dozens of them. Add in some ‘sloshies’ to the mix (a heavily infused alcoholic slushie that apparently I never knew about here on the East Coast) and you’ve got a good ol’ country time!

Buckets of Fried Chicken at the Chicken Fry


Back home to the North Fork….

Little Creek Oysters paired with Greenport Harbor Brewery, a delicious combination. I shucked my first oyster at this little establishment on the docks, hidden in the back with Bait & Tackle written above. Every week they feature an original Greenport Brew (O.G.). My personal favorite (after visiting the 2nd brewery location in Peconic) was the Black Duck Porter beer. For a full review on the pairing read here.

Oysters and Brews at Little Creek


Claudio’s in Greenport holds title as the oldest single-family run restaurant in the United States. Go for the lobster, anything else seems uncharacteristic. Thirsty? Try the Sangria or Prohibition Lemonade.

My Father With His Lobster at Claudios


Bruce & Son is situated for ideal people watching in town. Sad to say, the deliciousness I consumed no longer seems to be on the menu- Duck Hash- duck leg confit, potato, shallot, frisée, chive blossom, citrus, fried duck egg & toast. Hopefully it makes a reappearance!

Duck Hash at Bruce & Sons


Noah’s is a culinary masterpiece on the North Fork. Its farm to table restaurant boasts unique savories such as Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Bottoms and Crescent Farm Duck BBQ (the polenta cheese, mmmmmm). Keep an eye out for Noah’s on the Go- a food truck with its own dishes (loaded steak fries, just say yes).

Loaded Fries From Noahs On The Road Chef Justin Schwartz

Luncharitos for some East End T&T! Shrimp taco’s, strawberry margaritas. Enough said.

Taco’s from Luncharitos


Industry Standard switches up the menu constantly, so it’s hard to make a suggestion if it’s not on the menu a week later. That in mind, go for the atmosphere, the revolving flavors and a bartender that mentally transports you to the East Village.

The Giving Room is both yoga studio and health center in Southold. Their juices are guaranteed to give you the immunity boost you need- plus they’re delicious! Check out more here.

The Giving Room Juices With Owner Paula DiDonato


North Fork Roasting Company gives another kind of boost- caffeine- and only steps away from The Giving Room. While all of their drinks prove better than any Starbucks, their breakfast Waffle Egg Sammy is a home run hit. And make sure to say hello to the resident dog, Sinatra, who’s on most of the NoFoRoCo gear.

Iced Chai & Waffle Sammy from NoFoRoCo


Love Lane Kitchen on Love Lane in Mattituck is the perfect breakfast nook (but they serve lunch & dinner too). For people watching, for a local feel and for filling plates. I’d recommend a meal but let’s go with the generic ‘gotta try them all.’


That’s the roundup of my Summer of Food. May your bellies be full and your taste buds satisfied.

Until next time [check back for 28 Reasons to FALL]- In Omnia Paratus!