From the early days of spring, when the first kale seedlings poke through the soil to the final apple harvest in fall, the Hudson Valley is at its zenith. The mountainsides and fertile valleys turn lush green as the farms overflow with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. This bountiful time is a golden opportunity for local chefs to experiment with and elevate the flavors of the region. Here are six restaurants to try this season.
Hailing from the state of Oaxaca, la familia Pinelo-Cardenas has brought the passion of Mexico to Main Street, Poughkeepsie. All the fare at La Cabañita is authentic, made by hand using traditional recipes and techniques that have been passed down through generations. La Cabañita, which will quickly become a local landmark, is located in the historic Saint Andrews Church building. The space, like the food, has a rich character and cultural history, creating a bright, convivial atmosphere that is often enlivened by live music.
Gracie’s Luncheonette on Main Street in Leeds continues to impress customers, as the little eatery never fails to deliver invigorating bursts of flavor in each dish. This quaint luncheonette takes the familiar comfort of a local diner and elevates it. Everything from the bread to the ice cream and the condiments is made fresh, in-house; dairy, produce, and meat are from surrounding farms. A broad, crowd-pleasing menu plays family-friendly standards yet promotes a sense of originality with the exquisitely fresh ingredients and occasional quirky twists on the classics.
[Editor's note: Now Closed]
Wilde Beest is at the leading edge of the Kingston culinary scene, propelled by the ceaseless genius of Chef Chris Turgeon, an alum of Chicago’s Michelin-starred restaurant 42 Grams. Wilde Beest is a farm-to-fork concept restaurant that emphasizes hyper-locality and the cultivation of intimacy with its clientele and community. The menu, with its wildly inventive dishes, changes six times a year and is always ambitious, cheeky, and provocative. Turgeon has partnered with Amy Hepworth, a seventh-generation farmer, to source much of Wilde Beest’s produce. The restaurant’s interior is open and airy, with a relaxed, communal feel. The tagline, “Serious food, serious drinks, no serious people,” could not be more fitting.
A Tavola, Italian for “at the table,” is an expression commonly used to beckon friends and family to the table when it’s time to eat. The warmth, familiarity, and sustenance encompassed in this phrase permeate the ambience at A Tavola, an elegant and enduring trattoria on Main Street in New Paltz. Owned by Rosemay Smith and Nathan Ganio, A Tavola sticks to the Italian approach of regional cooking, offering simple, expertly made dishes using local, fresh, and humanely raised meat and produce.