What’s for dinner tonight? Italian? Mexican? How about traditional American fare? It can be tough to decide when you think you’ve tried every restaurant nearby. Fortunately, America’s Best Restaurants, an online show that airs episodes through Facebook, is here to help. Recently, it chose to feature three restaurants in the Hudson Valley: The Helm in Greenwood Lake, A Slice of Italy in Kingston, and My Father’s House Southern Cuisine in Nyack.
If you haven’t heard of America’s Best Restaurants, it is an online TV show that helps consumers answer the question, “Where should I eat tonight?” by making it easier to discover restaurants near them.
“Our vision was to meet consumers where they are: on their phones, everyday,” explains CEO Matt Plapp. “Nobody is sitting on their sofa watching cable anymore…so we decided to build a digital product that consumers can find easier.”
How Does America’s Best Restaurants Choose Which Spots to Feature?
There are three ways that Plapp and his team decide to feature a restaurant for their show: consumer nominations, general interest from the ABR team, or an inquiry from a restaurant. “We look for restaurants in certain areas because we know the paths the fans are driving down [and] we look at the map for restaurants on that path,” explains Plapp. The Hudson Valley is conveniently located above New York City, an area from which the ABR team knows many diners are traveling.
“A lot of local people don’t even know what restaurants are down the street, or they don’t know the story behind them.” -Matt Plapp
Just as customers would look for certain qualities in a restaurant before they dine, the ABR team focuses its efforts on representing those qualities in the features.
“We’re trying to capture the story of the owners, the story of the community, the food, and the atmosphere,” explains Plapp, noting that each episode’s storyline goes beyond the traditional restaurant review. “We aren’t judging the restaurants because we know it’s a hard business. We’re simply trying to help them tell their story.”
Let’s take a look at the restaurants being featured:
The Helm, Greenwood Lake
The Helm’s convenient location in Greenwood Lake allows for a great meal with an amazing view. Its extensive menu makes it “a place you can eat at every week,” says Plapp, a statement that matches the America’s Best Restaurants tagline. Plapp and his team focus on more than the restaurant’s menu, though. “When you look at a restaurant, you’ve got the food, the service, the hospitality aspect, the location, and The Helm checks off every box,” he notes. The episode featuring The Helm will air in the next few months after the restaurant filmed with the ABR team on July 19, 2023. Stay tuned to ABR’s Facebook page for more information.
A Slice of Italy, Kingston
Chosen by customer nomination, this Italian-style restaurant serves gourmet food that feels like family dinner.
“Both their everyday involvement in the restaurant and inside the local community makes them stand out,” explains Plapp. It’s hard not to feel at home when dining with restaurant owners who make it a point to be active members in the Kingston community. Grab a slice of the delicious fig pizza and watch out for the episode featuring A Slice of Italy airing in the next few months after the restaurant filmed with the ABR team on August 30, 2023.
My Father’s House Southern Cuisine, Nyack
Search no further for southern classics in the Hudson Valley; My Father’s Southern House Cuisine has you covered. Hush puppies and fried okra are the perfect starters to dinners like chicken and waffles or traditional barbecue, and MFSHC even has an extensive selection of vegan and vegetarian Southern dishes. Stop by for Sunday brunch if you’re in the mood for shrimp and grits or a “Soul Scramble,” then stay for the live gospel and jazz music.
When to Watch
Each episode of America’s Best Restaurants conveniently airs on the respective restaurants’ Facebook page a few months after filming takes place. The Helm filmed with ABR on July 19, 2023, while A Slice of Italy filmed with ABR on August 30, 2023. While these episode release dates have not yet been announced, My Father’s House Southern Cuisine’s ABR episode is live on its Facebook page as of September 22.
All in all, Plapp hopes to show a new side to restaurants that are often community mainstays.
“One of the biggest mistakes restaurants make is that they think people only come there for the steak, the pizza, or for the brunch,” he notes. “They’re really there to have a good time. So, we’re thinking about how we can capture that on camera and how we capture the environment that the restaurant is located in. You find a lot of cool storylines.”