When Mike Cioffi purchased the Phoenicia Diner in 2011, he did so in the wake of Hurricane Irene and with virtually no background in the restaurant industry. So begins the story of what general manager Courtney Malsatzki describes as “The little diner that could.”
Almost a decade later, The Phoenicia Diner Cookbook captures all of the charm and cachet the restaurant has garnered over the years. Interspersed with gorgeous photos of the surrounding landscape and the history of the Catskills, the cookbook conjures up mud-speckled ankles or socks drying by a fireplace as much as it does breakfast tacos and chicken and dumplings.
The recipes are a cooking nerd’s dream come true, taking approachable food back to basics with scratch-made techniques. Some, like the roast pork sandwich, are an easy way of elevating an ordinary meal; others, like homemade corned beef, are more of a “project-of-the-week.” And what’s life without a little side project?
272 pages, hardcover, Clarkson Potter, $32.50