For an area so surrounded by bays, creeks, inlets and a sound, there are relatively few places to eat on the water on the North Fork. Even in Greenport, where the village’s existence was born of a deep-water harbor, the bulk of waterside dining—the lovely Scrimshaw, the populist Claudio’s—surrounds Claudio’s pier.
Just down the boardwalk and often forgotten, the old Chowder Pot Pub provided seats facing the saltwater breeze and the landing point for the North Ferry. This summer the Chowder Pot is getting a new owner and with it a facelift and a new name—the Blue Canoe Oyster Bar and Grill.
The vibe is the same, salty seadog relaxed, but the food will now have the mark of the husband and wife team of Lisa and Terry Harwood, the owners of Vine Street Café on Shelter Island. In June, while Chef Terry supervised the installation of a new kitchen, the renovation of three bars (one inside and two outside) and a new paint job (while reusing as many of the original fixtures, beams and booths as possible), Lisa took time out to orient herself to Greenport with coffee at Aldo’s.
It’ll be different from the somewhat, ahem, sheltered existence on Shelter Island, but the Harwoods look forward to serving food that’s a bit more casual than Vine Street, though with the same attention to quality that has drawn regulars for Vine Street’s calamari salad and roasted Long Island duck. “We’ve been looking for four years for a place to do food like lobster rolls, oysters, clams and fresh vegetables and salads,” says Lisa. As the sale was finalized late in the spring, Blue Canoe missed the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends, but the Harwoods expect to open sometime in August.
When they do, diners can expect local beer on tap and an all-screw-cap wine list. The couple plans to stay open for dinner year-round, with lunch and dinner during the summer. Takeout will also be available for those who want to sit on the lawn in Mitchell Park, a stone’s throw from Blue Canoe’s deck.
But this might only be the beginning for these new members of the Greenport restaurant community. The Harwoods are a part of a group that bought two long-empty restaurants down the road in Southold, just east of Port of Egypt Marina. We’ll have to wait for another season to see what happens there.