Robby Beaver made a seamless transition from head chef to head chef/owner of the restaurant last May, after owners Dennis McDermott and Hank Tomashevski decided to move on.
And, a little over one year after he closed the deal last May 4, Beaver said the operation at the popular, sleek downtown Greenport restaurant is as seamless and successful as ever — and the food is just getting better.
“I feel like I’ve raised the quality and standard of the food,” Beaver said before getting ready for dinner service on Thursday. “A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m a chef/owner, not a business owner.”
Beaver, 33, began work as a chef at the Frisky Oyster in 2008, one year before McDermott opened the Frisky Oyster Bar down the street — a place featuring more casual fare that Beaver also helped run before McDermott decided to sell both restaurants. Beaver said he considered buying and running both places, but that prospect was a bit overwhelming.
“Fine dining is more my style,” he said.
In December of 2009, Noah Schwartz, the former chef of the Southold’s bought the Frisky Oyster Bar to open the following month, leaving Beaver with the opportunity to take over the original restaurant, which he now runs with his wife, Shannon.
Beaver, an experienced foodie from Richmond, Va., educated at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, hasn’t changed the Frisky Oyster’s distinct red color scheme of the main dining room nor the modern city atmosphere of the bar area, both of which opened in 2002. And much of the menu remains focused on locally harvested seafood dishes like "oysters friskafella," but the chef has added new items such as a Hawaiian blue prawn dish and a black pepper fettuccine with fresh lobster.
His regulars seem to appreciate the experimentation, Beaver said, and he’s been seeing new faces every day since he took over one year ago.
“The menu seems to speak for itself,” he said. “This is a food-centric spot. And there just seems to be a buzz about this place — it’s like you just stepped off the street of a small town and into the big city. We’ll definitely see tons of walk-in traffic this season.”
The Frisky Oyster is open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday until June 20, when it will be open seven days a week. Hours on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday are 5 to 10 p.m. Hours on Friday and Saturday are 5 to 11 p.m. The restaurant is located at 27 Front Street in Greenport. Call 631-477-4265 or go to thefriskyoyster.com for more information.