Jennie Werts remembers her family’s Sunday routine at their second home in East Marion. The day would usually start with a trip to get coffee. Then they’d head to the waterfront and watch the boats.
Many of those days also featured a round of miniature golf at Drossos in Greenport.
Now, Werts will have a new weekend routine involving the iconic Greenport motel. The 32-year-old chef will be serving up surprising cuisine as part of a seasonal new pop-up restaurant called Jennie’s at Drossos.
“I always wanted to open a place out there,” Werts said.
The menu will consist of what Werts, a New York City resident, likes to call “elevated snack food” when it debuts this Memorial Day weekend.
At a snack bar best known for its ice cream, she’ll instead be cooking up items like fish tacos, fried chicken and Korean BBQ baby back ribs.
If that’s not adventurous enough, you might want to try her duck schnitzel sandwich, made with thinly sliced and breaded Crescent Farm duck breast, fennel and apple slaw and remoulade. It’s a nod to Long Island’s duck farming history, she said.
The new pop-up is a collaboration between Werts, her brother Andrew Werts and Elaine Fredriksson, a Drossos family member.
“It’s not like we’re looking to reinvent the wheel, but I think it’s a nice little twist for us,” Fredriksson said.
Werts fell in love with the restaurant business after graduating from high school and going to work at the Greenporter Hotel.
She said she loved cooking as a hobby, but never thought she’d pursue it professionally. She attended Union College in Schenectady and graduated with an art history degree. Throughout college, she’d return to Greenport during the summer to work at different restaurants.
After realizing cooking was her passion, she attended the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, now the International Culinary Center.
Upon graduation, she continued to work in Manhattan alongside chefs like Tom Valenti and Richard Sandoval. She became the sous chef at Valenti’s Upper West Side restaurant Ouest for two years and later joined Sandoval as chef de cuisine at Zengo in midtown Manhattan.
She is currently chef at the executive dining room of Credit Suisse in Manhattan, which is allowing her to pursue this latest venture.
“I’m excited for people to try my food,” she said. “This dream of ours is actually coming true, opening it at this place that we have close ties to.”
Jennie’s at Drossos will be open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the summer only.