Claudio’s Sold After 147 Years of Family Ownership in Greenport

Claudio's Restaurant, Greenport
Claudio's Restaurant, Greenport. Photo credit: Nicholas Chowske

After 147 seasons, America’s oldest same-family owned restaurant, Claudio’s in Greenport, has been sold to new owners outside the Claudio family. The current owners—Jan and Bill Claudio, Kathy Claudio-Wyse and Beatrice Tuthill—who’ve run the restaurant since purchasing it from William Claudio 27 years ago, confirmed the sale on Monday with a letter to customers and friends.

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In the letter, which is reproduced in its entirety below, the Claudio’s owners noted all three of their businesses—Claudio’s Restaurant, Claudio’s Clam Bar and Crabby Jerry’s—will keep their names and remain open under the new ownership. “Things will be different, but we are also pleased to share that some things will remain the same,” they wrote.

The Grand Reopening Party for Claudio's Restaurant's 144th season
Inside Claudio’s Restaurant, Photo: Nicholas Chowske

The trio of restaurants, located right on the water at 111 Main Street in Greenport, went on the market for about $12 million in 2015. It nearly sold around this time last year, but the deal eventually fell through, leaving the Claudio’s owners to open for their 147th season in 2017.

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They have not revealed the buyers or the final sale price, but under the new ownership, Claudio’s will no longer carry its claim to fame as the oldest same-family owned restaurant in America. However, if the new owners are smart, they’ll honor this landmark eatery’s rich history and its namesake.

Claudio’s isn’t the first beloved East End restaurant that won’t be returning under the established owners for summer 2018. Sag Harbor’s Muse in the Harbor and La Superica announced closures this month, and Conca D’Oro served their last pizza pies in that village in November of last year.

Outside Claudio's in Greenport
Claudio’s iconic sign in Greenport, Photo: Genevieve Horsburgh

Read the entire message from Claudio’s owners below.

To our many wonderful friends, fans and loyal patrons: Kathy, Bill, Janice, Beatsy and the late Jerry Tuthill—the Claudio/Tuthill family—would like to publicly announce the sale of our businesses, Claudio’s Restaurant, Claudio’s Clam Bar and Crabby Jerry’s. While this marks the end of a long era for our family, we believe it also serves as a new beginning for the property, one which we hope will be filled with innovation and growth. Change is necessary for advancement and after being at the helm for 27 springs, summers and falls, we go confidently knowing the vision and drive of new ownership will allow future generations to experience and enjoy what our family has built over 147 years. Things will be different, but we are also pleased to share that some things will remain the same. The Claudio name will live on with the property and all three eateries will continue to serve, inviting you all to come and make new memories each season, as in so many seasons past.

Owning restaurants is not just a profession, it is a way of life, and closing the door on this chapter for us comes with many mixed emotions. Greenport Village runs deep in our DNA and while we are glad to have seen Claudio’s be such a big part of the downtown growth for many years, we are also sad we will no longer be so woven into the fiber of what makes the community tick. We’ll be watching with eager anticipation over the next few years as we believe many exciting changes are coming; not just to our property but to the Village we love so profoundly and have called home for so long.

In an industry notorious for staff turnover, our family has been fortunate to have had many, many devoted core crew members without whom we would have never been able to survive those pounding summer days. From our bus kids to our head chefs and everyone in between—because of you, we never had to choose between quality and quantity; you allowed us to achieve both and for that we will be forever grateful.

To our customers, we cannot thank you enough for your loyalty. Thank you for being the reason we got up every morning, thank you for all the good times you shared with us, thank you for making at least one visit to Claudio’s every summer. It is a rich tapestry of lives that have crossed our doors and created lasting memories; we would like to believe a piece of those many voices remain forever in some magical way. It would be impossible to express how appreciative we are that you made our family tradition a part of your own. We’re so glad you walked alongside us on this journey.

For us, there can be no replacement for the vibrancy of those blue-sky summer days full of staff energy and effort and the throng of customers and boaters to greet and serve. Or the fun-filled nights of packed bars, live music rippling out across the water and a full dance floor. The crazy, the calm, we loved it all.

And so we move on—excited, wistful and sad all rolled into one. From the very bottom of our hearts—thanks for the memories, they have defined our lives.

Claudio’s, at least under its current ownership, will be missed. We wish them the very best of luck for whatever the future holds.

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