Phoenicia Diner, Phoenicia

Overview: The Phoenicia Diner’s emblem depicts a wood-paneled wagoneer with canoe and paddles perched on top. It reflects the classic Catskill Mountain vacations of yesteryear that are luring city folks by the hundreds these days. Set right in the middle of prime Catskill hiking and trout-fishing territory, it has become an inextricable part of that experience. Owner Mike Cioffi bought the place four years ago, and has since worked tirelessly to encapsulate the rustic feel while bringing in top-notch cuisine. To do so he enlisted New York talents Jason Wood, formerly of Marlow & Sons, to design the menu, and Chris Bradley of the Gramercy Tavern as chef. The food they are bringing to the table is, without a doubt, some of the best in the area, diner or not. The Menu: Come fill your gullet after a wilderness adventure with one of their skillet offerings. Order the Arnold Bennet, which comes with smoked trout plucked from the nearby creek, mixed with creamy scrambled eggs, crème fraiche, chives and cheese, all served in a personal cast-iron skillet with a side of house-baked toast. A buttered and crusty sourdough makes for a good complement. The duck and grits skillet is another camper’s feast, consisting of duck confit, shiitake mushrooms, cheddar cheese grits and a poached egg. Enjoy either with a hot cup of locally brewed coffee from Java Love. If you come for lunch, the chicken and waffles sandwich presents layer after layer of fried chicken and pickled vegetables precariously stacked between spongy waffles — it will be well worth the necessary Tums afterwards. Standout Special: The delicious Cubano sandwich, a reflection of restaurant manager Cristina Gonzalez’s heritage, makes the menu at times.  If you see it, get your hands on it.Regulars Recommend: The turkey club, according to regular patron Ken (“I’m the only man besides the staff who comes enough to get the staff T-shirt.”) Notable Feature: Come during the warm weather months to enjoy outdoor seating and service from a renovated Airstream trailer out back. The pavilion area has live music at times and can be the perfect setting for a mountain hoedown. Phone: 845.688.9957Website:www.phoeniciadiner.com

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