Thanks to the culinary mecca that is Hudson, along with choice eateries in a handful of nearby small towns, the Columbia County dining scene offers a robust menu of dining options that are worth the trip from just about anywhere in the region on their own. Throw in the myriad art centers, music venues, boutiques, and markets that the region has to offer, and you’re in for a fulfilling excursion.
Whether you’re visiting Olana, doing some antiquing, or heading to a show at Basilica Hudson, you’ll need a place to refuel. We’ve rounded up eight of the best Columbia County restaurants, each dishing up a multi-faceted creative vision. Here are eateries that will welcome you, satiate you, and add the ideal flavor notes to a blissful day.
Lil Deb's Oasis
At Lil Deb's Oasis in Hudson, you’ll be immersed in art. The women-owned eatery is part installation and part performance project, wrapped around the focal point of amazing food. Here you’ll find a diverse mix of locals and visitors relishing the bright, fresh flavors of “tropi-local”-themed dishes amid a blast of bright colors and good vibes. Like the living gallery that surrounds you, the menu is fluid and evolving yet consistently delicious, with influences from Ecuador, Argentina, the Caribbean, and the southern US brought to tasty fruition using local ingredients.
Fish & Game
Fish & Game, also in Hudson, is something of a legend with its sheaf of James Beard and Wine Enthusiast awards. The setting, a one-time blacksmith’s shop now offering leather couches to sink into and blazing hearths, is homey, rustic, and elegant all at once. Whether farmed or foraged, the ingredients are hyper-local, meats are butchered and smoked in-house, snout-to-tail, with nothing going to waste. Husband and wife chefs Zak Pelaccio and Jori Jayne Emde are constantly inventing with their signature twist on New American, and you have never eaten quite like this before.
In the heart of quaint Germantown, Nick and Sarah Suarez are serving up a perfectly seasoned welcome and truly exceptional entrees at Gaskin's. Start with nachos or guacamole and something from the encyclopedic drinks list, move on into tacos (Fried shrimp? Mushroom and squash? Smoked goat mole?) and finish off with creamy horchata ice cream or spicy chocolate cake washed down with cognac, grappa, or Coppersea craft-made whisky. You’ll feel like a whole new person.
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Maine, not quite our neighbors but close enough to serve you damn fresh Lobster. We wood-grill a half-lobster and stuff it with crawfish and artichoke. You dip it in garlic butter. Thank you for the killer shot @simi2588 #lobster #crawfish #seafood #maine #northeast #hudson #upstate #newyork #wmfarmerandsons #finedining #barroom
Local 111, on Main Street in the pretty village of Philmont, is a nifty adaptive re-use of a former service station. Big expanses of glass make for a light, open dining space, a fine setting for the masterworks of New England Culinary grad and chef/owner Josephine Proul. A multiple award winner, Josephine could be cooking anywhere on the planet, but fortunately for us all, she fell in love with Philmont and the bounty of Columbia County’s farmland. Head over and try her spiced sweet potato salad, Li’l Lamb Pie, or aged cheddar risotto.
At Vanderbilt Lakeside you’ll find gracious, dreamy, accessible peace and refreshment. Set in a refurbished Victorian hotel (you can spend the night at the inn if you wish), it’s a genre all its own. (Hudson Valley Magazine pictured it as a refuge for the likes of Dorian Gray, Don Draper, and Jay Gatsby.) The vibe is the creation of Brooklyn-grown hospitality masters who’ve found their Shangri La beside a lovely lake; the chef is a Culinary Institute of America grad who’s constantly dreaming up creative eats fit for the denizens of this dreamworld. Try the Sunday brunch.
Le Perche Bakery and Bar brings to Hudson hearty, simple-yet-artful treats inspired by the fare of the French countryside. Naturally fermented breads, classic viennoiserie, pastries, and desserts are baked in a wood-fired brick oven on the premises. Chef John Carr applies talent and passion to reinterpreting classic French dishes using locally farmed and foraged ingredients. The menu changes weekly, but you can count on a baguette with a schmear of house-made butter and a glass of good natural wine while you peruse the picks of the week.
WM Farmer & Sons
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Join us for dinner & happy hour all weekend + THIS Sunday from 5pm-9pm—Come for a cozy dinner & pop over to The Game Room which we’ll once again transform into MINI holiday MARKET curated by @hudsonriverexchange ~ Gorgeous handmade gift items🎁 + 🍽🍷= 👏 #handmadehere #vanderbiltlakeside #popupmarket #holidays #makers #artisans #artists #local #hudsonvalley #gophilmont
Just up the street from the Hudson train station, WM Farmer & Sons is a renovated 19th-century beauty and a wondrous place to slake your thirst and sate your hunger (you can even stay the night in one of the upstairs rooms). Owner Kirby (it’s his middle name; he’s an actual Wm. Farmer, as is his son) and Kristin are born innkeepers with a deep love of food and people who delight in making your experience unforgettable. With a pedigreed drink program courtesy of the late master Sasha Petraske, enjoy a a superbly mixed craft cocktail to whet your appetite for frog legs, Burgundy Snail Skillet with BBQ butter, octopus pot pie, or perhaps wood-grilled lion’s mane mushroom.
Blue Plate in Chatham declares itself an American bistro with “international implications.” Well-fed patrons have described it as “small town feel with a big city menu.” You can get small plates of savory treats like mussels or sticky ribs, or feast on the bacon-topped house meatloaf with chili-glazed carrots and shipped potatoes, or vegetable pad thai. There’s also a kids’ menu for family outings and a piano bar downstairs for date night with specialty cocktails and a lovely wine list.