Claudio’s restaurant, the Greenport treasure that has served North Forkers since the village’s days as a whaling town through Prohibition and into modern times, has hit the market.
The two-acre property that houses Claudio’s along with Crabby Jerry’s and Claudio’s Clam Bar and Wharf has been listed without an asking price, co-owner Bill Claudio told northforker on Saturday.
“I’m 76 years old and I think it may be time to retire,” he said. “If it happens, it happens.”
While Claudio, who owns the restaurant complex with his wife, sister and brother-in-law, said the family would have considered previous offers, this is the first time the property and business has been listed.
“We have never, ever, officially listed the property for sale. It’s always been ad hoc, if you will,” he said. “We finally decided we are going to go ahead and test the market. That’s all that this is about. If they can pull it off, maybe I’ll have a few years to enjoy myself.”
Claudio met with representatives from Cushman & Wakefield real estate agency in early December and the listing went public earlier this week. It’s unclear what will become of the iconic business, which has been in the Claudio family since 1870.
“The family decided to explore the market and see what kind of response they get,” Guthrie Garvin of Cushman & Wakefield, the property’s listing agent, told The New York Daily News, which first reported the listing. “For now, the future of Claudio’s is up in the air.”
Current plans allow for new construction of up to 50,000-square-feet without disrupting the current restaurants, The News reported. Any additions would, of course, be subject to village approval.
The restaurant will remain open while it is on the market and will reopen for the season in the spring, Claudio said. He speculated that a potential buyer would likely want to keep the business as is.
“Even if somebody purchased it over the winter, they are not going to want to change anything that we’ve been so successful at for 145 years,” he said. “They are going to want to see how we do it, learn how we do it.”
“Claudio’s has been Claudio’s for so very long. It’s a very integral part of our family,” he continued. “Any change will be looked at with a little regret.”
A handful of potential buyers have expressed interest over the past 25 years, but “nothing has ever officially been pursued,” he said.
Whoever purchases the business certainly has some big shoes to fill.
The building that houses the flagship restaurant, which is the longest continually family-owned restaurant in America, is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Earlier this week we reported that Claudio’s was featured in a USA Today story on the most historic restaurants in America.