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Claudio’s in Greenport sold to new owners after 148 years

The Claudio's property in Greenport.

The Claudio's property in Greenport. Credit: Randee Daddona

Claudio’s, the Greenport waterfront landmark cited as the nation’s oldest restaurant continuously owned by the same family, has been sold.

In an announcement on its Facebook page, the Claudio family thanked diners “for being the reason we got up every morning,” adding “we move on, excited, wistful, sad, all rolled into one.”

The new owner and the price paid for the more than 2-acre waterfront establishment were not immediately available.

A liquor license application was cited in the minutes of Greenport Village board of trustees’ Feb. 22 meeting for a limited liability company “to be formed by David Weitz,” formerly an analyst with Tishman Speyer.

Weitz could not be reached for comment.

“Things will be different, but we are also pleased to share that some things will remain the same,” the family stated. The name and the cuisine, with a focus on seafood and American fare, will not change.

In 2015, the expected sale of the main restaurant and the two other, more casual eateries on the site, fell through. It was on the market for more than $12 million.

Three years earlier, the National Restaurant Association recognized Claudio’s as the country’s longest-running eatery run by the same family.

In addition to Claudio’s restaurant, Claudio’s Clam Bar and Crabby Jerry’s, all overlooking Greenport Harbor, are in the deal. The original building dates to 1845; the restaurant, to 1870.

Two years ago, co-owner Bill Claudio said the next generation of Claudios was “not interested in running the restaurant.” He and other members of the family took over operation of the restaurant 27 years ago from William Claudio Sr., who’d owned it since 1930.

The history of Claudio’s dates to the whaling era on the East End. Ships would dock in Greenport for supplies to prepare for their lengthy voyages. In 1854, the Portuguese whaling ship Neva arrived from the Azores. Whaler Manuel Claudio was on board.

Sixteen years later, he had enough money to open Claudio’s Tavern. A colorful history unfolded, including forays into French cuisine and reported use as a bootlegging stop during Prohibition. It grew into a sprawling complex perched on Peconic Bay as a destination for tourists, daytrippers and vacationers, as well as local residents.

Diners chose from a menu with mainstays such as steamed Canadian lobster, baked clams, fried or broiled seafood platters, clam chowders and a lobster-salad roll. More recent additions included seared sesame tuna and kale Caesar salad.

“Greenport Village runs deep in our DNA,” the Claudio family said.

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