Photo by Courtney Malsatzki
The duo behind Ulster County’s Insta-famous eatery open the retro-cool Dixon Roadside to give comfort food its time to shine.
“When people ask my favorite dish at Dixon, I feel lame picking a roasted chicken dish, but it really is that good,” says Courtney Malsatzki, general manager at Dixon Roadside. “The way they make it, especially on the citrus and olive oil rotisserie chicken, that skin gets so crispy it’s like a potato chip on the outside, but it’s super tender and perfect inside.”
Malsatzki and owner Mike Cioffi — who are also the general manager and owner of Phoenicia Diner — opened Dixon Roadside back in December 2019. Designed to resemble service-stations from the mid-20th century, the 65-seat restaurant is located on the outskirts of Woodstock, about a quarter mile from the Bearsville Theater.
Cioffi planned to restore the building, formerly home to the Gypsy Wolf, but discovered the foundation was in such bad shape, he decided to start from the ground up and design the space the way he wanted.
“We wanted light,” he explains. “And secondary was outdoor space.”
The new construction has plenty of both. One side of the building is outfitted with garage-door-style windows that open onto a patio to create additional seating in warmer months. Guests can order soft-serve ice cream from a walk-up window or skip the line to pick up their takeout order.
As for the day-to-day operation of Dixon, Cioffi is quick to tout Malsatzki’s culinary and management expertise. Maltsatski, however, is quick to translate:
“What he’s saying is he built a restaurant and said, ‘Here, make it work,’” she taunts.
Cioffi laughs. “You could certainly say it that way!”
Retro decorations and huge menu boards contribute to a welcoming atmosphere where locals, weekenders, and passersby can stop for a not-so-stuffy meal.
“If we create a place that people are happy to socialize at, we’ve done our jobs,” says Cioffi.
Both Phoenicia Diner and Dixon Roadside center their menus around comfort food, and while the restaurants exist in the same universe, they’re distinctive.
Dixon is open for dinner during the week and lunch and dinner on the weekends and more closely resembles a barbecue shack — “shack” in this case referring to a meticulously-designed, shiny new restaurant.
Similar to the Diner, Dixon’s menu focuses on simple food done right. Brisket, fried chicken, and pulled pork hit the mark for down-home favorites, but vegetarians won’t feel left out with an order of ancho-smoked squash with shiitake, feta, and pomegranate glaze. Each night of the week (except Tuesdays and Wednesdays) also features a special menu offering: veggue lovers should head over on Meatless Mondays, while seafood fans will want to stop in for the Friday Fish Fry.
As for Cioffi’s favorite item on the menu?
“As a person who grew up in the City, ribs or barbecue or smoked meats was not a thing,” he says. “So the ribs and the brisket that are both smoked in that smoker are just kind of a miracle to me.”
Open Mon, Thurs-Sun. 261 Tinker St, Woodstock. 845.684.5890