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Claudio’s new operators seek to be ‘family friendly’

The new operators of Claudio’s Restaurant say they want to make the business more “family friendly” by adding outdoor seating, recreation and green spaces. 

Stephen Loffredo and Tora Matsuoka of Seasoned Hospitality in Manhattan proposed some of those changes at last Thursday’s Greenport Village Board meeting, where the application was on for a “pre-submission conference.” 

The men also said they want to make the three restaurants on the Claudio’s property — Claudio’s, Crabby Jerry’s and Claudio’s Clam Bar — operate more efficiently. They said the three restaurants have operated as separate businesses in the past. 

“The improvements we propose are both aesthetic and operational, to try and create more family area on the grounds and also to reduce the required amount of traffic that’s needed to support the three individual restaurants,” Mr. Loffredo said. 

At 148 years, Claudio’s had been known as the oldest continuously run family-owned restaurant in the country. 

Last March, the Claudio family sold the three restaurants and the property they sit on to a group called PWIB Claudio’s Management, consisting of attorney Perry Weitz and his son, David, Ian Behar and Ryan Sasson. 

Mr. Loffredo and Mr. Matsuoka, who both have extensive restaurant experience, were put in charge of operating the restaurants.

They plan to retain the Claudio’s name and plan to restore the exterior of the building in its original colors of white with blue trim. 

“The idea is to energize the restaurant which, in all truth, is underperforming,” Mr. Loffredo said. One of their plans is to create an outdoor seating area on the south end of the restaurant, where motorcycles have parked in the past. The motorcycle parking would be moved to a new location farther from diners.

The outdoor seating area would have tables with umbrellas and an entrance to the restaurant. 

Mr. Loffredo said the restaurant’s interior is often dark, which is why the outdoor seating is being sought. They proposed adding 114 outdoor seats at Claudio’s and 52 at the Clam Bar, in what he called the “party area” where people usually stand around the bar. 

Also proposed is a consolidated garbage dumping area to serve all three restaurants and various beautification efforts. 

A pop-up pizza store that was added to the property last year will be replaced with a “shirt shack” that would sell Claudio’s merchandise. 

Mr. Loffredo said one change they made over the summer dealt with parking.

In the past, patrons had to pay a parking fee which would be refunded if they purchased food or drinks from one of the restaurants. 

That was eliminated and the parking fees were reduced, but now people aren’t required to patronize the restaurants anymore, Mr. Loffredo said. 

“You can pay to park all day and spend the day in Greenport,” he said.

Piling and bulkhead work will need to be done at the Clam Bar, which means the bar and its supporting structures will have to be removed while the work is ongoing, Mr. Loffredo said. A new bar and canopy will replace them, he said. 

Crabby Jerry’s will also need a new canopy. 

“I love the concept of adding green space,” said Planning Board member Walter Foote. 

He asked if they could add even more green area, saying it seems like Claudio’s has too much parking. 

Mr. Matsuoka said he actually gets frequent complaints about there not being enough parking at Claudio’s. 

The Planning Board voted to schedule a public hearing on the application during its Jan. 3 meeting. 

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