When Claudio’s Clam Bar first opened — with three menu items, five bar stools and a few tables with umbrellas — no one could have foreseen the lasting legacy it would have in the community.
Now celebrating its 25th year, the clam bar is one of the best known seafood restaurants on Long Island.
The adventure began in 1988, when owners Jerry and Beatsy Tuthill convinced her father, William Claudio Sr., to transform the abandoned fish packing building at the end of the pier into a small restaurant.
Within two years, the Clam Bar grew into a hangout for locals and visitors alike, drawing thousands to Greenport Harbor every weekend.
“Before, Greenport was a sleeping jewel,” Mr. Tuthill said. “People only knew about the Hamptons, Sag Harbor and Montauk. I thought we had the same attractions to offer here. Greenport grew because of the Clam Bar. It gave the North Fork a destination.”
Clam bar manager Steve Pisacano echoed the sentiment.
“Twenty-five years ago this place was depressed,” he said. “I remember when one car would go by every 10 minutes — on Fourth of July weekend.”
To celebrate the milestone, the Clam Bar is hosting “Rock the Dock” tonight, Aug. 15.
The anniversary bash will also serve as a fundraiser to help another community institution — the rundown Greenport American Legion Hall. The legion hall’s revitalization began two years ago, but suffered a major setback in December when George Costello Sr., one of the project’s leaders, died unexpectedly at age 63.
A faithful group of volunteer veterans and community members have been working to restore the ailing structure and its vintage roller rink, but lack of funding is making the project difficult to complete.
“When I was a kid growing up we went skating there all the time,” Mr. Tuthill said. “We just want to help get the community get excited about it again.”
“Rock the Dock,” featuring live music and raffle prizes, begins at 7 p.m. at Claudio’s Clam Bar. A $10 donation is required for admission.