New Claudio’s owners announce Memorial Day opening

Claudio’s in Greenport is scheduled to reopen on Memorial Day under new ownership . (Credit: Krysten Massa)

The new owners of the Claudio’s restaurant complex in Greenport announced Monday that they plan to re-open the restaurants in time for Memorial Day weekend.

The new ownership group — which includes well-know asbestos attorney Perry Weitz and his son David, along with debt relief specialists Ian Behar and Ryan Sasson — purchased the three waterfront restaurants last month. They announced Monday that management of the restaurants will be led by Tora Matsuoka, co-owner of Sen Restaurant in Sag Harbor, and his business partner, Stephen Loffredo.

The statement billed the new group as frequenters of Greenport, who want to maintain the traditional Claudio’s experience.

“The new owners are committed to maintaining the longstanding fabulous Claudio’s local experience that their families fell in love with,” the statement continued.

Claudio’s, which was founded in 1870 by Manuel Claudio, was considered the longest continuously family-owned eatery in the United States. The property later expanded to include Claudio’s Clam Bar and Crabby Jerry’s.

For nearly 30 years, Claudio’s had been owned by a corporation that included Bill and Jan Claudio, Kathy Claudio and Beatrice and Jerry Tuthill. Mr. Tuthill died in 2016.

The group purchased Claudio’s in 1989 from the siblings’ father, William Claudio Sr., who had owned the popular bar and restaurant since 1930.

“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,” the Claudio family said in a statement after the restaurant was closed. “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.”

But the new owners and management team said for now things will remain largely the same as many longtime Claudio’s staffers will be maintained when the restaurant re-opens for the season.

“I was brought up in a family owned restaurant in a town similar to Greenport, so I have a deep appreciation of what it means to serve loyal patrons and give back to the community,” Matsuoka said.

Matsuoka’s entry into the restaurant world came as a teenager in the mid-1990s when his father, a retired sumo wrestler from Japan, became a partner in Sen, according to a bio on the website for Cornell University, where he has served as an entrepreneur in residence. He has continued working  to open and expand other restaurants on the East End, including Wölffer Kitchen, Long Island’s first winery restaurant.

Perry Weitz is widely known as a high-powered New York City attorney at his firm Weitz & Luxenberg, which he helped found more than 30 years ago. The firm specializes in asbestos litigation.  Behar and Sasson are founders of the New York-based  debt relief company Strategic Financial Solutions.

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