The Big Reveal...
Team Stewie would like to say a BIG thank you to all of our loyal patrons, new friends and guests. The past two weeks have been surreal. With all the summer excitement of The River Grill its easy to forget about our inside bar and dining room. Some people think of The Stewart House as a seasonal restaurant because often times hearing “The Stewart House” immediately brings to mind the sound of boats, feel of the sun on your back while sitting on a bar stool at the Tiki bar, the smell of the smoke from various grilled meats and vegetables, the taste of fruity summer cocktails, and the sight of people dining, drinking, dancing, laughing and enjoying summer life. All the while, in our spare time from outdoor service we have been hard at work preparing to reveal our biggest project so far… The ca.1883 Tavern.
So much thought, love, skill, time and energy have been poured into the inside spaces. The Tavern walls have been completely restored and finished with handprinted murals by the artist Nora Johnson. We were so lucky to have Nora come back to us over 10 years later to continue the murals she created so long ago. The entire room has taken on new life with the choice of colors, the hue of the lighting, the revitalization of the original ceilings, and the choice of decor. Owner Lois Ballinger and local designer Tim Albright spent countless hours designing, and redesigning, and sampling colors and fabrics. So committed to creating the exact energy and sense of comfort intended for our guests.
This drive and passion for esthetic perfection carried right over to the ca.1883 Dining Room and The Captains Table, a private meeting room for small parties and corporate dinner events. With attention to detail high on the list of priority and importance, the indoor space at The Stewart House makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to its prime, when the building was the grand hotel of town, exuding charm and character, and patrons put on their best neck ties and mothers pearls to attend dinner.
With comfort covered, the next step was to find the best chef in the Hudson Valley. Someone with a keen sense of what is up and coming in the food world. Someone willing to put in the extra work, go the extra mile and find nothing but the freshest, highest quality, local and sustainable meats and produce. We found that in Chef Bob Turner. Bob spent 14 years at the Omega institute in Rhinebeck NY, opened the Rivertown Lodge in Hudson NY, has travelled globally and most recently spent time in the Joshua Tree area of California. Chef Bob has a culinary philosophy…cook locally, seasonally, and simply. He believes that a closer relationship with your food, including knowing the farmers who grow it, is not only meditative, but also promotes conscious consumption that spreads to other areas of life.
The ca.1883 Tavern menu was kept under wraps for weeks. Chef took his time, did his research and designed a menu that could please any palate. Simple and delicious. Be prepared to be intrigued by snack items such as seasonal hummus, raw oysters, Hudson valley cheese boards, country pate, marinated olives, salt and vinegar nuts, house pickles, and a 5th generation family secret Irish soda bread with house made cultured butter. Moving forward to mains you’ll find a bitter green caesar salad with head on gulf shrimp, a “one flip” double cheeseburger with fries, a rigatoni dish with broccoli, olives, pine nuts, parmesan, and a slow cooked pork rag, as well as striped bass with cabbage, potato, mustard seed, dill and and brown butter. For more traditional dinners theres a roasted half chicken with winter squash, brussel sprouts, maple tahini and charred lemon, and a classic sirloin tip steak with potato puree, kale and carrots, and a black garlic herb butter. And for a vegetarian option a cauliflower “chop” with mushrooms and wheat berries, lovage greek yogurt and preserved cherry tomatoes. After you’ve indulged yourself in the flavors of the Hudson valley, you MUST try one of our signature house baked desserts. On the sweeter side, a triple chocolate butterscotch cookie finished with a scoop of Janes vanilla ice cream. On the fruitier saltier side, a baked honey crisp apple with a black pepper anglaise and a salted oatmeal lace cracker. Our in-house baker, Toko, makes each dessert to order serving them fresh and hot from the oven invoking memories of your grandmothers kitchen, waiting patiently as she pulled sweet treats from the oven for those who cleared their dinner plates.
I guess you could say that the key to the total package is engaging all 5 senses into our guests experience. This is what we have worked so hard to create. This is the ca. 1883 Tavern. Now open Thursday thru Sunday. Each day from 3-5pm we host cocktail hour, featuring a different $6 Bloody Mary each week, and $2 raw oysters, along with the Tavern snack menu. Dinner service starts at 5pm and ends at 9pm Thursday and Sunday, and 10pm Friday and Saturday. We are also very excited for Open Mic night next week!! John Pinder is back and hosting a top notch open mic on the 1st Thursday of every month from 7-9pm.
Through this experience I have learned two things, 1) hard work really does pay off. When you have a goal, stick to it, when you have a vision, stay true to it. 2) if you build it, they will come. We have had the pleasure of meeting so many new friends, neighbors and visitors to the area since our grand opening on October 12th. It is such an exciting feeling to see new faces and find out how far word of mouth can travel. So again, we thank everyone who has dined with us in the new ca.1883 Tavern, we appreciate your patience, your patronage, your encouraging words, feedback, lovely reviews and most importantly your loyalty to a new era of a truly historic and legendary place. We’ll see you at the Tavern.