Part of what drew us to Hudson is that it’s such a food town. For starters, Hudson is surrounded by farms. You know how there are farmers’ markets with a few things and then there are the ones that are overflowing with bounty? Well the weekly Saturday Hudson farmers’ market, Columbia County’s biggest, is so overflowing that it’s a notorious draw for anyone who lives anywhere near the city – and beyond.
And then there are the restaurants and shops. Hudson is lousy with restaurants, bakeries, take-out places, and bars, many of them inspired by what’s being grown locally. On Warren Street and all throughout the city there are so many spots, it can be hard to figure out where and what to eat! To help narrow things down, we asked some of our new Hudson neighbors to share their favorites. We realize there’s no way to cover it all, but here’s what they had to say. We’re looking forward to trying all of the following — and more.
Writer, recipe developer, New York Times Food contributor, and Hudson resident Colu Henry swears by our Green Street neighbors. “Casa Latina is a family run restaurant making incredible Salvadoran food,” she says. The menu lists burritos, soup, fajitas, flan, and more. Personally, we love their cheese pupusas and watermelon juice. Sharece Johnson, the after-school coordinator at Kite’s Nest, says Casa Latina is her favorite restaurant right now. “It’s so homey and small. Everyone is just the sweetest there and so welcoming.” Eat there or take away.
“I love Rivertown,” says Colu Henry, who is also the author of the cookbook, Back Pocket Pasta. It’s a lodge for overnight guests, and has a tavern which serves dinner Friday through Tuesday, plus a solid weekend brunch. Like many of the restaurants in Hudson, it’s inspired by the surrounding farms, as well as the flavors of North Africa and Morocco. Henry heads there when she’s taking a break from writing her second book, Please Bring Dessert, which is due out in 2021 and will feature 100 unfussy, sophisticated meals with a handful of entertaining essays.
When you live in the country, walkable cities like Hudson are exciting. Still, you’ll be happy to get in your car and drive outside of Hudson for these burger nights. We heard about them from Suzanne Snider, writer, educator, and Hudson fixture. “Arrive early for the cows walking to pasture, stay late for the music and the milkshakes,” says Snider, the head of Oral History Summer School, now in its eighth year. Chaseholm is where you will find Snider when she’s not running workshops that focus on oral history as an ethical interview practice, hosting public events, or building an audio archive comprised of residents’ life histories, recorded songs, and ambient sound from around Hudson. In August, when the hay has been made, Chaseholm also hosts a music festival called Huichica East at the farm.
Meet me here after work.
There are many good things on the menu at BackBar, which is located in the rear of an antique shop with Malaysian plates, a big bar, and outdoor seating. But Michelle Hughes’ favorite thing there is their Wednesday bingo night. Hughes, the head buyer and director of development at Rolling Grocer 19, a newly-opened sliding scale payment store with an enthusiastic community following, has been living in or around Hudson for just over 6 years. “You can win sweet prizes like fishing poles and Lysol wipes, and of course there are the slushy mezcal cocktails and karaage fried chicken,” says Hughes, who has more than 15 years of experience building programs that increase knowledge, collaboration, and equity in the food system. If you happen to be there for a Sunday night barbecue, that’s our meat in the smoker!
The coziest seating in Hudson
When you’re in the mood for a “boozy ladies lunch,” Colu Henry swears by the Maker Lounge. While she’s as excited as any Hudson resident about summer weather, secret swimming holes, picnics, and lots of grilling, sometimes she needs to tuck inside. The Maker Café was designed with “the sumptuous atmosphere of bygone hotel parlors” in mind. There are salads, bread and pastries, sandwiches – and plenty of drinks from the bar.
Speaking of cocktails, this is Robb Finn’s “go-to for a post-shift cocktail and snack on those rare early nights out.” Finn is BackBar’s events director and executive chef. If you can get there early enough, there’s happy hour. “A well-stocked bar with a great cocktail program, some amazing bourbons, and country ham out the wazoo. Staff are knowledgeable and awesome, and the space is absolutely gorgeous,” says Finn. For out-of-towners, there are rooms to stay.
Incredible selection of savory pastries at Talbott & Arding.
Applestone COO and creative director Sam Gloffke wandered in here a few years ago with no expectations, when she was attending Oral History Summer School, and was so blown away by the ginger loaf that she’s still talking about it. The powerhouses behind the shop are why something so simple tasted the way it did. Mona Talbott cooked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse and was the founding executive chef at the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome. She has written two cookbooks. Kate Arding is a well-known cheese expert who began her career at Neal’s Yard Dairy. Their collective years of experience are evident in every bite. Shop here for impeccable prepared foods, cheese, and pastries that aren’t too fancy to take on a Hudson Valley hike. Some of our favorites (besides that ginger loaf!) include their frittata, curry chicken salad, and the tahini brownies.
A lot of our staff has been drawn to this shiny food truck serving banh mi, crispy wings, soups, and Asian noodle dishes. But perhaps Ramy Dahdal, our technical operations coordinator, is most obsessed. “This. Is. Street. Cuisine. A cornucopia of flavors. Everything is reasonably priced and the portions are huge,” says Dahdal. “I’m looking forward to trying the rest of their ever expanding menu once I find the courage to stop ordering the crispy eggplant!”
“You cannot get more essential Hudson than breakfast at Tanzy’s,” says BackBar’s Robb Finn. Tanzy’s is a classic spot, no fuss about it. It also serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea. The menu is fairly straightforward, though you can also purchase candles shaped like tulips. If you’re looking for eggs, toast, and home fries or an omelette at a reasonable price, Tanzy’s is for you. Their egg sandwich is so decadent, you might want to take a friend with you to share. On a Sunday morning, you might run into Suzanne Snider. “They make special pancakes for my daughter with mouse ears,” she says. Robb Finn loves their pancakes, too. “Not only do they serve the biggest, most delicious pancakes in town, but the sisters who run it are such sweet people! And they’ve got pork roll, so as someone from New Jersey, I would be remiss in my heritage by not pointing out the best possible breakfast meat option in town.” Now we know.
The Rolling Grocer team = our heroes.
The first grocery store to open in Hudson in the last fifteen years has a unique goal of serving the needs of all members of the community and beyond both with its product mix as well as its sliding payment scale. “I love the Rolling Grocer, an absolutely incredible tier-priced grocery right on 2nd Street that allows you to shop local vegetables, meat, and bulk dried goods at a price point that varies according to your income,” says Tamar Adler, the cookbook author, contributing editor to Vogue, and a former columnist for the New York Times Magazine. Her friend, Colu Henry, is also a fan: “Rolling Grocer is a much needed addition to the city. It’s a subsidized store focusing on local products – a gem!”
Rolling Grocer’s three co-managers, Audrey Berman, Michelle Hughes, and Selha “Cece” Graham, are working to cultivate a community gathering place revolving around food and nourishment. Read about their favorite outdoor spots in Hudson here.
Great carrot cake just outside of town.
Just outside of town is Kozel’s. “It started off as a road house in the 1930s. The food is simple and just what you want, and the staff are to die for. Also, they have some of the best cakes and pies I’ve ever had, made by different members of the staff, friends, etc. Don’t sleep on the carrot cake,” advises Robb Finn. We are heeding his advice.