If Noah and Sunita Schwartz have a tendency to finish each other’s sentences, you’ll have to forgive them: The couple, who run Mr. Schwartz’s eponymous Greenport restaurant (he cooks, she’s the general manager), is almost always together.
This relationship quirk was particularly evident on a dreary afternoon in May, when an interviewer asked Mr. Schwartz how old he was.
“Thirty-y-y…” he said, before turning to his wife, who was seated next to him in the Front Street restaurant’s dining room.
“Five,” she said. “You’re 35.”
It’s their ability to anticipate each other’s needs that make Ms. Schwartz, 33, and her husband such a dynamic team, both inside the kitchen and out. This especially came in handy in early 2010, when Mr. Schwartz, a Malverne native who studied culinary arts in Burlington, Vt., transformed the former Frisky Oyster Bar into Noah’s, his critically acclaimed small-plates restaurant.
“We literally didn’t buy this business until December 15  and were open by January 15,” he recalled. “I was the first one in and the last one out, six days a week. It was crazy. But I thought that’s what it took. And it did, for a while.”
In those early days, Mr. Schwartz said, he routinely worked 100-hour weeks while his wife worked with him on the menu, trained staff and created the wine list. When the couple wasn’t working, they spent as much time as they could at their Mattituck home with daughter Phurlamu, now 16, and son Jonas, 7.
“We had a lot of babysitters,” Mr. Schwartz said.
“I remember closing at 4 in the morning,” Ms. Schwartz said. “I’d come back in at 9 o’clock, work all day, pick up the kids, make their dinner, have a babysitter ready and then come back.”
Life wasn’t always so hectic. Prior to opening Noah’s, Mr. Schwartz was executive chef at the Seafood Barge in Southold from 2008 until it closed in late 2009. Before that, he lived in California with Ms. Schwartz, a native of Kathmandu, Nepal.
The couple met in 2004 when they were both working at the Sonoma restaurant The Girl and the Fig, where he was a chef and she was a server.
“I had seen Sunita around town and I was living there as a young bachelor” — he grinned mischievously at her — “so I was hoping to have the opportunity to meet her sometime,” Mr. Schwartz said. “So when I saw she was working at the restaurant I looked forward to getting to know her.”
It didn’t take long before they were officially dating, Ms. Schwartz said.
“When you work together, you hang out with your coworkers because they’re pretty much your family,” she said. “You’re with them for so many hours. Next thing we knew …”
The pair married in 2006.
When they moved to Long Island two years later, Mr. Schwartz said, he and his wife envisioned opening a small restaurant in Greenport — a real “mom and pop” kind of place where he’d cook and Ms. Schwartz would “take care of everything else.”