Sometimes a calamity leads to some much-needed housekeeping. In the case of Hutton Brickyards, it was a flood of Biblical proportions on December 23 of last year. Water levels from the nearby Hudson rose and inundated the streets surrounding the hotel and restaurant complex, leading to a change in the management of the property. “We had to cancel Christmas reservations, it was just such a disaster,” says Karl Slovin, whose development firm, MWest Holdings, has owned the 73-acre property since 2014. “But it all came together in this weird way with a little bit of active nature precipitating the separation.”
Following the flood, Hutton Brickyards separated from Salt Hotels, which had been running the Kingston waterfront property since 2021, and took the winter to make repairs and interview management groups. After vetting close to a dozen candidates, Slovin and team settled upon Connecticut-based Waterford Hotel Group, which also runs the Residence Inn by Marriott on Frank Sottile Boulevard in Lake Katrine.
“They are really all about block and tackle, taking care of associates, and providing good data,” Slovin says. “They’ve been around for 30 years and have done a lot of different kinds of hotels, including the Hartford Convention Center. They have that institutional knowledge of how to run a larger site and produce massive events, and know what it is to be in the lifestyle space. And they’re just a very solid, low-key team of people, not flashy.”
A Brand New Business Model
Under Waterford, Hutton Brickyards and Edgewood reopened for booking on April 6, with the River Pavilion opening a month later for seasonal riverside dining on May 5. Despite changes in management, the locally based sales team has worked over the past year and a half to carve out a niche for the property as a destination for corporate/wellness retreats and weddings, a double function that dovetails nicely for a calendar that is nearly full during the week and on weekends.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, so, too, does the biannual banner event Field + Supply, which is hosted in the pavilions and on the grounds of Hutton Brickyards. “Field + Supply is a great event; hopefully we will continue to do that with them for a long time,” Slovin says. “It’s a lot of fun to have 5,000 people come onto property all at once. We are looking for the right fit for a couple of other events, working with a couple of music producers.”
Most locals will remember the Bob Dylan double-header Hutton Brickyards hosted in 2017, packing more than 3,000 people onto the property both nights. “That helped put us on the map,” Slovin says. “It was not only a lot of fun, but it helped me see how people could interact with the site. That’s what I've been doing ever since I purchased it: Watching to see how people interact with the site—where do they go, what do they want to do?—and then, trying to develop come wintertime and add that bit that the public is asking for. So it has organically emerged in its current form.”
That current form includes 43 guest rooms, including 12 on the top two floors of the historic Edgewood manor up the hill and freestanding cabins down by the river; spa facilities and barrel saunas; event pavilions; and the plein-air River Pavilion restaurant. (Dining moves up to Edgewood in the colder months).
A Roux with a View
The River Pavilion, headed up by Executive Chef Paige Rodano and Executive Sous Chef Lily Burns, has stayed conceptually consistent since its inception. The focus is on seasonal, locally sourced, wood-fired fare. Rodano, CIA- and Chez Panisse-trained, aims to create comfort food with elevated execution that still “sings true” to its roots. A highlight of the newly launched spring menu is the tender, grilled scallop dish ($24), served over a bed of grilled corn and arugula with bacon relish and a charred red onion vinaigrette, which offers a complex balance of sweet and umami. To start, there are also grilled Wellfleet oysters dished up with a citrus compound butter and meyer lemon zest ($20); and a grilled snap pea salad, accompanied by cucumber-mint raita, toasted lemon oil, Maldon sea salt, radishes, arugula, and fried cherries ($16).
New to the wood-fired program is a focus on pizzas, which debuted on Mother’s Day weekend. “We have a really beautiful pizza oven that’s been there the whole time and we haven't served pizzas,” Slovin said. “We’re going to lean really hard into pizza. This past weekend it was terrific.” Not just vegetarians will enjoy the funghi pizza, with a mix of local mushrooms, burrata, aleppo, and Calabrian chili oil ($24). The other standout, the fig and brie, is drizzled in balsamic and served with local black mission figs and watercress over a cashew pesto base, hitting both sweet and savory notes ($22).
At the recommendation of our personable, attentive, and well-versed server, Connor Perry, we tried the grilled lamb chop. At $38, this is one of the two priciest entrees (along with the steak frites). The portion isn’t enormous for the price tag, but the lamb is tasty and tender, served with salmoriglio over a grilled parmesan polenta cake that packs a salty, delightful crunch. PEI mussels have been a mainstay of the River Pavilion menu over the years, and they don’t disappoint, served in a rich IPA broth with confitted tomato, garlic, and shallots, and a sourdough crostini to slurp it all up ($28).
Mother’s Day weekend also saw the debut of riverfront brunch. “I’m really excited about this offering,” Slovin says. “I don't think there is anywhere else to go that is on the river like this, where the kids can run around on the lawn while you’re having mimosa and your dog can be with you.” For a savory twist on the morning fruit parfait, try the watermelon dish ($13) served with mint yogurt, Murray's feta, and cucumber relish. And since we’re in the territory of playful twists on breakfast classics, don’t overlook the cleverly disguised bacon, egg, and cheese. At $19, it is not even in the same league as corner bodega fare, but the price befits the ingredient list: two fried Hermance Farms eggs, speck (lightly smoked ham), truffle butter, and Chatham Creamery camembert served on a baguette. *Mic drop.*
A longer, seasonal cocktail list is in the works, but for now there are six offerings ranging from the pisco-based Sour Annie to the bourbon-based Meerkat. Prices range from the increasingly ubiquitous $14 to a rowdy $18 for the garden gimlet (Hendricks gin, St. Germain, lime and cucumber caviar, and a toasted lemon wedge). The wine list is pleasantly compact with a solid choice in each of the core liquid food groups.
Still under works at Hutton: a Tokyo whiskey bar-themed renovation of the lobby lounge at Edgewood mansion. Slovin and team continue to search for a wellness team to run the spa operation but in the meantime the barrel saunas are up and running for guests.
Hutton Brickyard and Edgewood rooms are open for booking per availability. The River Pavilion is open for dinner Thursday-Saturday, 5-9pm, and brunch on Saturdays, 10am-2pm, and Sunday, 10am-3pm. Reservations encouraged.