Not-So-Lil' Deb's Oasis in Hudson Named 2019 James Beard Award Nominee | Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
Pin It
Favorite

Not-So-Lil' Deb's Oasis in Hudson Named 2019 James Beard Award Nominee 

A Nomination, A Renovation, A Gala and a Pop-Up Tour, Lil' Deb's Dives into 2019 with a Splash

click to enlarge Courtesy of Lil' Deb's Oasis - CHELLISE MICHAEL PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Chellise Michael Photography
  • Courtesy of Lil' Deb's Oasis

Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, a tropical-themed restaurant that’s been making waves in Hudson, New York for the past few years, is headed towards another jam-packed year: recognition, a renovation, a gala.

Bearded Ladies

Chef/owners Hannah Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo self-identify as tropical comfort maximalists, an intense sensibility that permeates the decor as much as it does the flavorful pan-Latinx menu. Walking into the salmon-toned restaurant amidst the flicker and buzz of neon signs, customers are met with shimmering blue tiles, plant patterned floors, and fake flowers. To enter the art installation/restaurant hybrid is to dive headfirst into a brilliant aquarium of tropical kitsch.

But aside from the daily-changing whole fried fish special, there is nothing fishy about the food. It gracefully manages to be both saturated with flavor and exquisitely balanced, exotic and familiar—a feat which recently earned them a coveted James Beard Award nomination. Founded in 1999, this prestigious award honors the most delicious, diverse, sustainable, and pioneering culinary figures and institutions in the US. The only ones surprised by this were Black and Perez-Gallardo, who got the surprise call while at a cafe in Brooklyn.


Tapped for the category of "Best Chef: Northeast," the two join a slate of other talented chefs like Tiffani Faison of Tiger Mama (Boston), Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet (Portsmouth, NH), and Vien Dobui of Cong Tu Bot (Portland, ME). Finalists will be announced on March 27 and this year’s winners will be unveiled at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 6 in Chicago.

click to enlarge lil_debs_oasis_james_beard_award_2019_gala.png

Lil Deb’s Pops Up All Over the Place


Before the creation of Lil’ Deb’s, the squat building was a local diner named Debbie’s, where construction workers and city employees could get a cheap breakfast sandwich on the go. In 2015, Perez-Gallardo and Black started to host pop-up dinners in the spot one night a week. Debbie’s got the rap-chic moniker Lil’ Deb’s and an exuberant makeover when, after 30 years of service, the buildings owner (the OG Debbie), offered Perez-Gallardo and Black the lease. Scrappy and determined, they pooled together $50K (without investors) to bring Lil’ Deb’s came to life as a brick and mortar, changing the culinary landscape of Columbia Street with their passionate artistry.


Since January, the restaurant has been under construction. The chefs have come full circle, embarking on a pop up tour with their staff, culinary missionaries spreading their tropical comfort food throughout the Hudson Valley and the Northeast.


Lil’ Deb’s has brought their favorite dishes to day-long takeovers of popular venues like Peck’s Arcade in Troy, Meme’s Diner in Prospect Heights, and Homemade Hudson. But they’ve also used the tour to flex their culinary muscles and test out new dishes inspired by their hosting venue’s own menus. On their Euro-trip popup spree across New York, Lil’ Deb’s has experiments with everything from gambas al ajillo to bouillabaisse, lasagna to Mediterranean grilled octopus.


The next and final stop on their tour is a two-night stint in Portland, Maine at Cong Tu Bot, the hip Vietnamese noodle shop of fellow JBA-nominee chef Vien Dobue, on March 24 and 25.

Gala-Ready

After putting the finishing touches on the restaurant, on April 6, the Lil’ Deb’s crew will host their second Garden of Earthly Delights Gala at the Hudson Lodge. The restaurant fundraiser will include a cocktail hour, silent auction, and a multi-course VIP dinner with natural wine pairings.

The evening will start at 6:30pm with cocktail hour and the soothing sounds of local musician Lady Moon before shifting into raucous dance party at 10pm with music by DJ PreColumbian and performances by the Berkshire Batteria and Lil’ Deb staff members. They have promised “the gala to end ALL galas,” and if that doesn’t strike the FOMO in you, lord knows what will. Buy your tickets today.


This content is made possible by our sponsor. It does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of the Chronogram editorial staff.
Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Chronogram on Instagram

Latest in Food & Drink

  • Kingston Standard Sets The Bar for Community Breweries
  • Kingston Standard Sets The Bar for Community Breweries

    The Kingston Standard Brewing Co. aims to bring local folks together in a community-oriented space to drink and enjoy each others' company. The company strays from the popular IPA driven mission of most breweries, and instead provides light, drinkable beer and fresh, succulent oysters to foster a satisfying night out. While they primarily produce traditional Ales and Lagers, they also craft mixed fermentation style beers, including lambics and Flemish reds. However, this recently opened brewery is ever-expanding its drink list, so repeat customers will see more options arise in the future and can enjoy local wine and cider options available in the meantime.
    • May 24, 2019
  • Fresh As It Gets: Berkshire Co-op Celebrates its Fourth Expansion
  • Fresh As It Gets: Berkshire Co-op Celebrates its Fourth Expansion

    The Berkshire Food Cooperative, which began in 1981 as a buying club of Great Barrington families, now does $8 million in annual sales with over 3,500 member-owners and about 60 employees. The co-op is preparing to move into a new custom-built location, with twice as much space for more organic produce, meat, dairy, seafood, fresh flowers, and bulk foods along with a comfier, bigger cafe.
    • May 17, 2019
  • Lola's Cafe in New Paltz Offers Locally Sourced Catering
  • Lola's Cafe in New Paltz Offers Locally Sourced Catering

    Chef Ed Kowalski founded Lola’s in Poughkeepsie in 2005, as a casual, health-supportive alternative to fast food restaurants. In 2017, he opened a second location in New Paltz that serves up Lola's signature sandwiches, salads, bowls, and homemade soups, plus offers full service catering.
    • May 15, 2019
  • More »