Weekenders and ski bums take note: Little Cat Lodge in Hillsdale began accepting bookings this past spring, kicking off its first summer season with a bang. Once a stagecoach station, the complex operated as the Swiss Hutte Inn and Restaurant from 1962 to 2021, when it was purchased by New York City restaurateurs Matt Kliegman and Noah Bernamoff.
The nearly 100-year-old, seven-acre property sits at the foot of Catamount Mountain and straddles the New York/Massachusetts state line, almost exactly between New York City and Boston. The new partners both have homes in nearby Germantown, where Bernamoff also co-owns Otto’s Market.
After a year of renovations, Little Cat Lodge opened in April, offering cozy accommodations in the style of European ski chalets, designed by Loren Daye of Love is Enough studio and LMV Architects and executed by Baxter Built. Whimsical artwork decorates the whole property while the 14 guest rooms feature furniture made of maple straight from the slopes Catamount.
The property also includes an expansive 70-seat restaurant and 45-seat bar, as well as a three-season structure off the side of the dining room that offers a view of Catamount for seasonal dining. The menu applies a health-conscious twist to Alpine food, made with local ingredients.
A sample winter menu included a pork schnitzel served with warm potato salad and chicories ($34), a red wine-braised duck leg with cabbage, spiced apple and shiitake mushrooms & polenta ($32), a vegetarian pasta made with a wild mushroom ragout and juniper-roasted celery root, parsnip & carrots ($28). Local steelhead trout and chicken were both on the menu de rigueur in addition to a house burger, served with comte cheese, tangy Little Cat sauce, pickled red onions and a side of crispy potatoes ($22).
Given Bernamoff’s credentials as a James Beard-nominated chef, and the partners’ combined hospitality experience (the pair collectively own and operate award-winning restaurants and bars like The Smile, Grand Army, The Jane Hotel Ballroom & Rooftop, Celestine, and Black Seed Bagels), Little Cat’s restaurant promises to be a culinary destination for lodgers and nearby residents alike.
Things on the bar side are headed up by beverage director Chris Balla, who also spent time at Grand Army as well as at Grimm Artisanal Ales and Yellow Rose. In addition to cocktails d'auteur by award-winning bartender and beverage consultant Natasha David, of now-defunct Nitecap, there are local, craft beers and natural wines.
Fun All Year Round
Though its close proximity to Catamount Mountain Resort makes this an obvious pick for winter weekends on the slopes, Little Cat Lodge will offer outdoor activities year round, with golfing, swimming, biking, and hiking in the warmer months. In addition to the onsite swimming pool, which will offer lounge seating and its own al fresco bar, there will also be barrel saunas tucked into the surrounding forest for a hot steam in summer or winter.
There are also wooded trails connecting Little Cat’s seven acres to the ski resort property next door. In addition to the dozen guest rooms, there are also two large two-bedroom suites for families or friends.
The restaurant at Little Cat Lodge is open Thursday - Monday from 5pm to 9:30pm.