Sale of Claudio’s in Greenport falls through, owners to return this season

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A proposed deal to sell Claudio’s restaurant in Greenport has fallen through and the owners of the iconic eatery will return for another season when opening day kicks off on April 6.

“At this point, many people know we had listed Claudio’s for sale for the first time ever and have been actively engaged with an interested group for the last year or so,” said co-owner Bill Claudio in a statement. “Those discussions did not end successfully and our family has turned now to getting up and running for a fabulous 2017 season.”

Claudio’s, known as the “oldest, same-family run restaurant” in the United States according to the National Restaurant Association, had been listed for sale since early 2015 and a prospective new owner applied for a liquor license in October 2015. Reports emerged in January 2016 that a closing date was set, but the owners at the time said a finalized deal was premature to report. In March 2016 the owners announced they would return for the season while the sale was still pending.

The family business, which has expanded over its 147 years to include the neighboring Claudio’s Clam Bar and Crabby Jerry’s, is owned by a corporation that includes Mr. Claudio’s wife, Jan, and sisters Kathy and Beatrice Tuthill. Co-owner Jerry Tuthill, after whom Crabby Jerry’s was named, died last July at the age of 69.

“This period has allowed us to take a step back and really focus on what we want to see in the future of the property,” Ms. Tuthill said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to bringing some of those visions to life in the coming year.”

Ms. Claudio said in an interview that proposed sale fell through at the beginning of March. The potential buyers were looking for public and private funding sources, she said, and “in the end of the day it just didn’t work out.”

The owners plan to take a step back now from potentially selling the business and focus on the upcoming season.

“It’s been a long process,” Ms. Claudio said. “It’s been emotionally charged. Right now, it’s time to put it aside and open the business and make it work well. Where we’re going, I don’t know.”

Reservations are currently taking place for the annual opening party on April 7, when happy hour wine and beer will be available for $1.47 from 4 to 6 p.m. — a penny for every year in business. Claudio’s Clam Bar will open its dockside doors on April 27 followed by Crabby Jerry’s on May 25.

“These businesses are as much our identity as our profession and we look forward to another exciting season,” Mr. Claudio said. “If we could only turn back the hands of time, we would go on forever welcoming people to our door.”

Mr. Claudio had said in 2015 that he had hoped to retire, noting at the time the restaurant was listed without a sale price. The restaurant has remained open throughout the process.

The upcoming summer season will feature live music at Claudio’s Clam Bar, rotating seasonal cocktails all three restaurants and live lobsters and daily catch specials. Special events will take place throughout the year, the owners announced, and private parties and group packages are now open for booking. Positions are available for staff this upcoming season and anyone interested can email since1870@claudios.com.

joew@timesreview.com

File photo credit: Times Review Media Group