Kitty’s Is a Hotspot for Delectable Dining and Events in Hudson

A popular eatery on Hudson’s South Front Street is in the midst of big plans for breathing new life into the waterfront district.

Right across from the Amtrak station in Hudson sits a large, red building that’s usually buzzing with customers. This is Kitty’s, a multi-concept culinary space comprised of a market café, restaurant and bar, a private upstairs dining room, and a large backyard garden for eating, working, or just hanging out.

The eatery has enlivened the city’s waterfront district since September 2020, when it was opened by artist and real estate professional Ben Fain. “Before Kitty’s, I was living in New York City and felt suffocated by it. Friends of mine lived in Hudson and I took to it immediately. I dreamed of building a business that amplified what was happening in the city,” he says.

Fain has always had bigger plans for Kitty’s, which began falling into place last year. Right next door, the team has constructed a barn-style event venue with a commercial kitchen called The Caboose, a nod to its proximity to the train station. The building—which is 100 percent carbon neutral—will also house Kitty’s sister business Grapefruit Wines, previously located at 127 Warren Street.

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Fain also decided to revamp the culinary concept. “When The Caboose started to take shape, we knew we wanted to reinvigorate the restaurant experience next door and have a dedicated team oversee food across all of our businesses: The market, restaurant, events, and catering.” Enter Nicole LoBue, who came on board last August as Kitty’s new executive chef.

LoBue has been cooking professionally for 25 years. Her love for food began when she was a child, growing up in a Sicilian family in Westchester. (“It was a big food culture,” she says.) After a 14-year stint in the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved to Hudson in 2013 to help start the experiential education nonprofit Kite’s Nest. Since then, she’s catered, hosted cooking pop-ups at Basilica, and most recently, was the sous chef at Stissing House in Pine Plains.

LoBue
Photo by Rebecca Fogg Shaw

Kitty’s previous menu of comfort classics has been refreshed with LoBue’s Mediterranean, vegetable-forward cooking style. She relies heavily on produce and products from local farms—including MX Morningstar Farm and Raven & Boar Farm (both Hudson) and Kinderhook Farm (Valatie)—so customers can expect menu items to change with the seasons.

“I want to make food that’s beautiful, elevated, and texturally amazing, but I also want it to feel familiar, comforting, and nourishing for people,” she says. The result? Standout dishes such as the pan-fried skate wing with beurre rouge and trumpet mushrooms, the clams ‘n’ beans plate with watercress purée, garlic, and Meyer lemon, and the pear and quince salad with chicories, blue cheese, and quince-mustard dressing.

Kitty’s famous spinning chicken—which can be purchased to go or enjoyed in the restaurant with chili oil, aioli, and sides like smashed and fried fingerlings and Napa cabbage Caesar salad—continues to be a huge hit. “Anything Nicole LoBue touches is delicious. She’s an extremely gifted artist, and her menu is bright, smart, fearless, and mouthwatering,” says Fain.

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LoBue
Photo by Rebecca Fogg Shaw

However, despite all recent changes, Fain still has a bigger mission for Kitty’s including the renovation of the former Kaz Warehouse next door to Kitty’s into another event space, as well as the opening of the Mr. Cat Hotel across the river in Catskill—both will be eco-friendly. “We need to start thinking with an ecological mindset. We need to save the world! And we can do that with community, healthy buildings, local farms, good food, and art,” says Fain.

Related: Finding Home Farms Crafts Maple Syrup From the Heart in Middletown

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