Chef Scott Murray of Anthony's restaurant.
If there’s something special about Anthony’s Restaurant and Bistro, besides the superior quality of the dining experience, it’s their consistency.
That’s exactly how Executive Chef and owner Scott Murray likes it.
Murray joined the team at Anthony’s in 1983 as Sous Chef, just three years after Drew and Linda Sabella opened the restaurant, with the goal of bringing fine quality dining to Plattsburgh. He was just 21 years old when he started at Anthony’s. By the time he was 22, less than a year later, he was head chef.
“So the situation was; ‘lets go with young staff, young owners, young restaurant, and lets see if we can grow with Plattsburgh’,” said Murray.
Grow they have. Today Anthony’s is one of the most recognized restaurants in Plattsburgh, and according to Murray, it’s the consistency that comes from the longevity of a dedicated and long established staff that makes it that way.
Murray’s Sous Chef, Amy Upton, has been at Anthony’s for 24 years. Their Third Chef has been at Anthony’s for 20 years, and the Fourth Chef and Pantry Chef have been there for 17 years each. The youngest member of the kitchen staff has been at Anthony’s six years. That same type of longevity can be found with the wait-staff as well.
“So when you look right down the line, you’re looking at career oriented restaurant workers,” said Murray. “You’re not looking at people using this as a stepping stone for somewhere else. They’re career oriented, and have found themselves contributing to the success of this restaurant.”
Little has changed at Anthony’s over the years, by design. Even a decision like updating a chandelier is painstakingly debated by Murray. One thing that has changed though, very quietly, is the ownership of Anthony’s.
In 2009, the Sabella’s decided to retire, and they offered to sell the restaurant they loved to Murray.
The transition, Murray said, was seamless.
“The staff stayed the same. My big thing was to keep it quiet. For me it was more important for the community to just think that Anthony’s is still Anthony’s, and not that there’s been a change that they have to look for.”
Nearly five years after the changeover, the vision that started Anthony’s is still alive and well. With cuisine and ambiance at or near the top of the heap for the North Country, the restaurant remains a destination for discerning palates from both inside and outside the region.
“My motto (during the changeover) was, you have to be better to stay the same,” said Murray.
Penne Pasta with Clams, Bacon & Gorgonzola
16 Littleneck Clams
4 Slices Bacon, Chopped
1 Head Garlic, Wrapped in soil & roasted until soft
1 Ripe Tomato, Chopped
1 Shallot, Chopped
1 Cup White Wine
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 oz Gorgonzola, or Blue Cheese
Chives, Or Other Fresh Herb of Choice
2 Servings Penne, Or pasta of your choice, cooked
Cook pasta and set aside
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a heavy skillet and saute the chopped bacon until just starting to brown.
Add the shallots, roasted garlic cloves & littleneck clams and saute about 2 minutes.
Add white wine and poach the clams until just starting to open. (Add extra water if more liquid is needed to get clams started).
Remove clams as they open and set aside.
As the clams start to open add the tomatoes and cream and reduce liquid by half (continue to remove clams until all have opened - discard and that will not open)
Add the cooked Penne Pasta & Gorgonzola, toss and heat through.
Return the opened clams and add the chopped chives and toss to coat.
Separate into 2 large pasta bowls and serve.