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Women Lead the Kitchen at Newburgh’s Liberty Street Bistro

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Chefs Kristina DePalma Ortiz and Caitie Pedersen outside Newburgh Flour Shop / Photos by Mary Kelly Photography

Whether they’re whipping up to-die-for pastries or perfecting farm-to-table treats, the female chefs at Michael Kelly’s Liberty Street Bistro and Newburgh Flour Shop are changing the culinary game in the Hudson Valley.

There’s a lot of deliciousness happening on Liberty Street in Newburgh right now. With the whole of the city’s dining scene back on the rise following the tumultuous COVID-19 shutdown, the mid-town district leads the way with some of the chicest eats (hello, Ms. Fairfax!) and coziest coffee shops (Rob’s Roasts, anyone?) in the Hudson Valley.

Now, there’s yet another reason to visit not one, but two eateries on the historic street. Just in time for the relaunch of Newburgh’s Last Saturdays tradition to open Liberty Street for outdoor dining and shopping, Liberty Street Bistro welcomes a new (well, kind of) chef de cuisine. Her name is Maggie Lloyd, and her list of culinary accolades is more than a little impressive.

Chef Maggie Lloyd

Before stepping up to her role as chef de cuisine, Chef Lloyd served as chef of casual dining at the bistro. As for her roots, she entered the world of fine dining at Martha’s Vineyard before making her mark at Primehouse Steak, Fatty Crab, and Allswell in New York City. After consulting on three restaurant openings in the Big Apple, she relocated to the Hudson Valley, where she was founding chef at Ms. Fairfax and the Shelter House Café in Newburgh.

“Working at the bistro with such strong female coworkers is, in a word, awesome,” Lloyd enthuses. “I have never had the opportunity to work in a place with so many women in management roles, and it is exciting to see us all excel in that environment.”

Lloyd’s new role at the bistro is impressive on its own, but it’s even more noteworthy for AMK Restaurant Group, which consists of both Liberty Street Bistro and Newburgh Flour Shop down the road, as a whole. With the chef’s appointment, AMK now boasts entirely women-led kitchens. Alongside Lloyd at the bistro, over at Newburgh Flour Shop, Caitie Pedersen is head baker while Kristina DePalma Ortiz is executive pastry chef.

Chef Kristina DePalma Ortiz

For Chef Kelly, the decision to place female chefs at the helm was not a conscious decision, but simply the right one.

“I put the individuals who were most qualified for those roles into these leadership positions – and they all happened to be women,” he explains. “It’s something we’re proud of at both the bistro and the bakery, and I look forward to giving their ideas and creativity a place to flourish.”

Unsurprisingly, each woman at AMK Restaurant Group is a powerhouse in the kitchen. At Newburgh Flour Shop, executive pastry chef Kristina DePalma Ortiz is something of a mainstay in the Hudson Valley, thanks to roles at both the Apple Pie Bakery Café in Hyde Park and The Roundhouse in Beacon after graduation from the Culinary Institute of America. She works alongside Pedersen, another CIA grad who honed her skills as head baker at the Apple Pie Bakery Café and as a pastry sous chef at Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin before finding the Flour Shop on Liberty Street.

Of course, AMK’s superstar roster of chefs isn’t the only thing to look forward to during a dining pitstop in Newburgh. With Lloyd’s recent appointment and the shifting dynamic surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Liberty Street Bistro pivots its menu to allow diners more flexibility while continuing to savor the same fine dining experience for which the restaurant is known. Breaking from its previous prix fixe format, the bistro prioritizes a pick-and-choose format that emphasizes smaller and more casual plates. The menu is available for limited indoor and outdoor dining, as well as for takeout, from Wednesday through Sunday during the week and features mouthwatering bites like burrata with stone fruit, fried zucchini salad, and a zippy firecracker chicken sandwich.

Just as the bistro’s dining options are new-in, so too are its summertime treats. The bar gets a warm-weather twist in the form of a H20melon Frosé (that’s fresh watermelon and frozen rosé, and, yes, you probably do need it right now) and a Mez-Call Me Later with grapefruit, rosemary, and ginger beer.

Yet for dessert enthusiasts in the Hudson Valley, arguably the most exciting additions are the handmade strawberry ice pops and fudgesicles, not to mention the flavor-of-the-day ice cream sandwiches. When paired with one of the Bistro’s signature cocktails, the treats are a sweet finish to an al fresco meal.

P.S. As if that all isn’t exciting enough, AMK is launching Liberty Street Bistro Events for catering as well. Contact the restaurant directly for more information.

Liberty Street Bistro
97 Liberty St, Newburgh

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