Ely and Danielle Franko’s love affair with the Catskills began in 2016 when they were weekenders rehabbing a Tannersville home they purchased as a rental property. The project was such a success that it led to launching their company, The Hunter Houses, and investing in multiple projects. In Hensonville, they opened an upscale general store Paracasa and are renovating The Henson, a historic inn which they hope will be ready for guests this fall.
It’s a busy life, but when the opportunity to buy a local luncheonette came about, the couple jumped on it, and Day June—a play on the French word for lunch (dejeuner)—opened in May. “The space used to be a little café called Nana Gail’s and we were longtime customers there and had gotten to know the owners,” says Ely. “We knew they wanted to retire, and since the restaurant served such a special place in the community we were honored to take it over.”
Before doing so, they gave the place a full refresh: Banquettes were rebuilt and a wraparound counter made from marble and reclaimed wood was installed. (The Frankos utilize natural materials whenever possible for their projects.) They also set up two-person tables by the window for a more romantic vibe, says Danielle. “It’s very homey and comfortable.”
The real draw, however, is the food, thanks to the Frankos’ frequent collaborators and friends, Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra, who are behind Michelin-starred Contra (which closed in October) and Wildair, a New American restaurant in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “Our chef partners are just endlessly creative and always reimagining the classics,” says Ely. A recent example is the “frylet”—an omelet stuffed with fries and cheese, which is quickly becoming a popular special. (The lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry jam and corned beef hash and eggs are popular breakfast options and “The Dipper,” a beef patty drenched in cheese sauce, is a top seller at lunch time.) The desserts change regularly—try the lemon brûlée pie if it’s available.
The fact that the ingredients are sourced locally also ups the quality quotient: beef and pork are procured from Highland Hollow in Schoharie, the bread is baked at See & Be Kitchen in Cairo, and produce is harvested at Mossy Stone Farms in Prattsville. “Everything is made in house, never frozen,” says Danielle. The couple take that super-fresh concept even further: if you loved the cut of beef in your steak and eggs or the granola that topped your yogurt parfait, you can walk right next door to Paracasa and purchase ingredients to recreate the dish at home.
Reimaging a well-known eatery can be risky, and the Frankos hoped that residents would embrace their vision for Day June. All signs signal that they have. “It’s fun to have a place where we can just play around and be whimsical,” says Ely. After all, what’s more fun than omelets stuffed with French fries?
Day June Luncheonette
387 Route 296, Hensonville