Local dishes find a new home in North Wildwood

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Calude’s is changing hands, with a new name, new menu planned 

NORTH WILDWOOD- As Mary Pottier brushes construction dust off the bar at Claude’s, she says that maybe Hurricane Sandy, which left two feet of water in the restaurant, was advantageous.

“In a way, the flood was almost opportune,” she says. It allowed her and her husband, Claude Pottier, to sell their North Wildwood restaurant to Andrew and Sarah Steiner, a young couple from Upper Township who were looking to start their first restaurant.

Claude’s was open in North Wildwood since 2000, serving classic French cuisine in a fine dining setting.

According to Mary Pottier, the atmosphere of the restaurant was what made it unique. On Olde New Jersey Avenue, filled with take out joints offering late night pizza and a strip of bars, Claude’s was one of the few fine dining restaurants in the city- offering rack of lamb and escargot to summer patrons, she said.

“In this neighborhood, this was the only nice restaurant,” Pottier said. “Customers would come in all the time and say, ‘I’m so glad we don’t have to drive to Cape May to go to a nice dinner.”

The new owners said they planned to continue filling that niche in the city when they open The Establishment at 100 in March. The French cuisine, Andrew Steiner said, will be replaced with farm-to-table dishes, made from seasonal ingredients grown at local farms.

“I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 13,” Steiner said, “So this is a dream come true.”

While the new owners plan on continuing the fine-dining atmosphere, but with a modern touch, Sarah Steiner said she was eager to become a North Wildwood business owner.

“We’re excited to be part of the North Wildwood community,” she said, and added that the other businesses on Olde New Jersey Avenue had “mastered entertainment.”

The couple has also started moving into the apartment above the restaurant.

According to Pottier, 100 Olde New Jersey Ave. has been a restaurant or boarding house for the past 100 years. She and her husband Claude first opened the restaurant in 2000, when she said “North Wildwood really started to turn around.”

They had first owned a take out café in Stone Harbor, and had originally planned to have a similar business model when opening Claude’s. However, as Claude’s physically expanded- going from eight tables to a traditional sit-down restaurant, the menu shifted to French cuisine.

“Customers started ordering take-out chicken and rack of lamb,” Claude Pottier joked.

While the Steiners plan on continuing the fine-dining atmosphere, they said the restaurant would be serving dinner until midnight once the season is in full-swing. Andrew Steiner said while he was working at restaurants at the Jersey Shore for the past six years, it was difficult to find somewhere still serving dinner once his shift was over.

“You can’t find anything other than pizza and cheesesteak after 11 p.m.,” he explained. By serving dinner later, he said he hopes to attract locals working late, as well as visitors looking for a meal after 9 p.m.

Steiner also said he plans on opening the restaurant in March with a spring menu, which will then change in the summer based on what ingredients are in season, and then adapt again for the fall. While Sarah Steiner is planning on redecorating most of the restaurant, the decorative lamps hanging from the two dining rooms at Claude’s will be incorporated into her design. 

Mary and Claude Pottier say they aren’t retiring, but also aren’t planning on opening up another restaurant in the near future. She joked that they “didn’t have a real plan” for what was next, but did say they intended to travel to France more frequently to see their sons and grandchildren.

“We won’t be undertaking a new restaurant,” she said, “But I’ll definitely miss the customers.”

The Establishment at 100 is set to open in early March. For additional information, you can find the restaurant on Facebook.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at www.shorenewstoday.com.

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