Ever since The Maker Hotel opened its doors in the Hudson Valley in 2020, it’s been something of a hotspot for local food lovers. It’s partly thanks to its prime location in Hudson, which naturally draws curious passersby through its doors. It’s also thanks to the moodily elegant aesthetic that owners Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg (otherwise known as the owners of Bartlett House in Ghent and founders of global beauty brand Fresh) have tirelessly worked to curate. Their attention to detail and design is readily apparent in every corner of the Hudson hotel and restaurant concept, and locals and visitors alike can’t seem to get enough of it.
And now, there’s even more reason to plan a visit.
Foodies in the Hudson Valley will be excited to learn that the Hudson restaurant has welcomed a talented new executive chef to its team. Chef Alex Napolitano comes to The Maker following a four-year stint as Executive Chef/Culinary Director for Escape Hospitality in the Catskills. Before that, he cut his teeth at top eateries like Charlie Bird, Rubirosa Ristorante, and the Michelin-starred A Voce Madison.
“I have been in a professional kitchen of some kind with regularity since roughly the age of 15,” Napolitano explains, outlining an educational path that led him from Rutgers to Italy, where he amassed experience working in Italian kitchens. “This experience helped shape my view on the culinary world and primed me for my time cooking in NYC.”
In 2018, he and his wife moved upstate to the Hudson Valley in search of fresh air and a break from Bushwick. Now, since the beginning of 2023, he’s been forging a new culinary path for himself at The Maker.
“I watched The Maker develop over time and always admired the aesthetic beauty of the property,” the Germantown resident admits. “My introduction and acceptance of the role happened so organically, it was truly a ‘stars-aligned’ situation.”
Since stepping into The Maker’s kitchen in January 2023, Napolitano has worked to create a distinctive menu offering that caters to the variety of spaces within the hotel.
“[The Maker] is a seven-day, three-meal period property, with the Café, Lounge, and Conservatory all requiring unique menus and ‘vibes,’” he explains. “The Café allows for elevated casual fare, while the Conservatory gives me the opportunity to really ‘flex,’ showing technical skill and using ingredients and methods that are rarer. The Lounge is its own animal, with the food mainly serving as a complement to the fabulous cocktails.”
Throughout all three spaces, Napolitano aims to craft a menu inspired by what he dubs “upstate Italian.” It’s a concept rooted in the Hudson Valley, with ingredients sourced from local farmers and producers, and connected to the chef’s time in Italy.
“My experiences in Italy blend somewhat seamlessly with the seasonality and availability of produce in the Hudson Valley,” he says. “I have cultivated amazing relationships with local farmers, and I let the area, the seasons, and the farmers dictate much of the menu.”
Speaking of farmers, The Maker relies on a number of favorite vendors in the region. All its beef, lamb, and pork come from Highland Hollow Farm in Schoharie, while chicken comes from Snowdance Farm in Livingston Manor. For produce, Farms2Tables supplies the restaurant with fruits and vegetables from farms in the region.
So, what can one expect on Napolitano’s new menu?
At the restaurant, which sits in a stunning conservatory space, the chef delights diners with dishes like Atlantic tuna carpaccio decorated with capers and garlic scapes and fresh chickpea salad with pecorino Toscano, mint, lemon, and olio verde to start. There’s an entire section of the menu dedicated to handmade pastas – always a good sign – and tempting dishes that include the likes of fusilli con funghi, made with wild mushrooms, white wine, thyme, and parmigiano. When it’s time to dig into mains, the local trout filet with marinated zucchini and Calabrian chili is a can’t-miss. And don’t forget about dessert! The dark chocolate budino with sweet ricotta and berries will leave your taste buds on cloud nine.
While the Conservatory restaurant is a delight for dinner and brunch on the weekends, the Café is a hotspot for more casual breakfasts, lunches, and dinners during the week. Bartlett House delivers bread and pastries daily, and the sweet treats complement savory bites like spicy zucchini caprese sandwiches and farro salads with seasonal vegetables.
For those who just want to stop in for a cocktail and light bites, the Lounge is the way to go. It resides in a converted 19th-century carriage house and dishes up the most delightfully moody vibes. Inside, Chef Napolitano leans into snackable dishes like blistered shishito peppers, burrata, and beef tartare as elegant pairings to The Maker’s signature fragrance cocktails, all of which are inspired by the hotel’s enticing fragrance collection.
“Overall, The Maker allows me to use my creativity and skillset across a diverse array of meal periods and service styles, which always keeps me on my toes and allows me to dig into many types of cooking that I may not get to explore working in a traditional setting,” Napolitano notes.
Looking ahead, he’s excited to introduce “The Maker Osteria Burger” program, which will reimagine the café space into an everyday restaurant that offers burgers, simple pastas, and shareable appetizers. He also has a number of special events in the works, a few of which are themed around The Maker’s signature fragrances.
“For me, I am just going to continue building the culinary program here at The Maker until it becomes the signature food and beverage venue in the Hudson Valley,” he says. “I have a fantastic, loyal team of chefs that have been with me for years, and we are pushing hard to succeed at the highest levels. I believe my position as Executive Chef at The Maker is a perfect springboard to achieving any goal I set my mind to culinarily.”
Want to taste the new menu items for yourself? The Conservatory is open for dinner Thursday to Sunday and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The Lounge is open daily beginning in the late afternoon and into the evening.
The Maker Hotel
302 Warren St, Hudson