Reddings to re-open under new ownership

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Marie Eiffel brings years of restaurant experience to Reddings, while continuing to operate her two clothing stores — one in Shelter Island Heights and the other in Sag Harbor.

Reddings, the gourmet market, bakery and cafe on Bridge Street, will reopen this spring with new owners.

But one of the principals is a name and face well known to Islanders — Marie Eiffel, who owns the upscale clothing store on Chase Avenue and a second store in Sag Harbor.

When Ms. Eiffel learned that Reddings was on the market last year, she mentioned it to friend Stephane Verdille, chef at the French Consulate in New York City, and a frequent visitor to Shelter Island. He considered opening it himself when Ms. Eiffel’s fiance, Jason Penney, encouraged her to become a partner in the business.

Her initial reaction was negative, deciding that she had enough on her plate with the two clothing stores.
But the idea kept “bugging me,” she said. Eventually she asked Mr. Verdille if he would be interested in a partnership.

“She’s got more food experience than fashion and look what she’s done with fashion,” Mr. Penney said about Ms. Eiffel.

Ms. Eiffel has run restaurants in Paris and New York City and Mr. Verdille has been a chef at various other restaurants before going to work for the consulate. Between them, they have 25 years of such experience.  Mr. Verdille will be in charge of the cooking and  Ms. Eiffel will oversee the business end.

Of course, Reddings isn’t a typical restaurant. It’s a small cafe coupled with both a take-out operation and retail sales of ingredients.

What will change when the pair open this spring? Initially, it will be a limited menu with a French twist and just a few items on the menu. There’s likely to be little of the retail ingredients on shelves, Ms. Eiffel said in an interview at her Shelter Island apartment Friday morning.

But as it develops, more will be added to the menu and more retail items will appear on the shelves, she said.

She’s looking to find a balance between the upscale customers who frequented Reddings in the past five years and year-round residents, some of whom may not have pockets as deep, she said.

“We want to bring in the Island,” not just the summer crowd, Ms. Eiffel said. “It’s going to take time” to build the business the way the partners want it to function, she said. She hopes customers will be patient with what she expects will be a “soft opening” and gradual growth.

The name Reddings will remain, but another change she and Mr. Verdille expect to bring is a longer operating season. They are thinking about keeping the business open as much as 10 months a year, closing only in January and February, she said.

She and Mr. Verdille haven’t yet set an opening date, but she’s hoping it will be early this spring.