‘Ellen’s on Front’ Coming to Former Salamander’s in Greenport
Posted On 05/25/2019
Originally posted onFebruary 11, 2019
Chef Jennie Werts of Jennie’s at Drossos, and her brother, Andrew Werts, have taken over the popular Greenport restaurant, Salamander’s.
The siblings will soon open Ellen’s on Front, a full sit-down restaurant serving American comfort food “with a twist.” Andrew described the menu as “accessible, friendly food.” The pair will also continue to run Jennie’s at Drossos on Main Road in Greenport this summer.
And, yes, fried chicken will be available at both of Jennie’s Greenport restaurants — on the menu as an entree at Ellen’s and larger portions or take-out buckets at Drossos.
Where did the name of the new Greenport eatery come from? It’s a tribute to their mother, Ellen. The Werts family has been part of the North Fork community for decades. Because of their strong connection to Greenport, Andrew said their new business is even more exciting on a personal level.
“We have been dreaming about this for over a decade,” said Andrew on Monday.
Jennie, who has loved cooking her entire life, attended the French Culinary Institute. Then, she worked in acclaimed kitchens in New York City and on the North Fork. In fact, Jennie worked for Claudia Helinski at Salamander’s in Greenport more than a decade ago. The purchase of Claudia’s beloved business, she said, “feels like I have come full circle.”
Jennie will man the kitchen at Ellen’s on Front as executive chef. Andrew will oversee the business end of the operation. The restaurant will begin serving dinner only but expect lunch and brunch to be added later in the season.
The Werts hope to open the Greenport restaurant in late spring. Since purchasing the North Fork business last week, they have started interior renovations and expect this process to take some time. Jennie envisions two large farm tables in the upstairs loft space for large parties.
Jennie and Andrew opened their popular seasonal pop-up at Drossos in 2017. There, the menu offers such items as Korean BBQ ribs, duck schnitzel sandwich, lobster roll, and fish tacos along with classic burgers and fries.
Claudia and Steve Helinski sold Salamander’s restaurant last fall after 26 years of operation.In 2009, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio noted Salamander’s as one of his favorite places to eat on the North Fork. Six years ago, the Helinski’s moved the business from First Street to the Front Street location where the couple expanded the menu, the market and added a bar.