It all started with a family legacy.
During his childhood, Miles Crettien grew up in a family of butchers. On days spent with his grandmother, Faye, he came to admire her butchery skills, ones she picked up from her father. Although he went on to pursue an MBA degree with a focus on entrepreneurialism, he couldn’t shake the notion of somehow preserving the legacy that forged his early years.
So he did something about it.
Crettien was working at Lis Bar in Kingston when he met Gabriel Weinstock, a hospitality pro with a love of wine and spirits, and Sam Strand, a designer. All three were on the bar’s small staff, so it was only a matter of time before they turned into a tight-knit group. When Crettien told them about his concept for a deli and butchery, they jumped onboard immediately. All they needed was the right space.
Around that time, a deal for a building that Crettien had been negotiating fell through. Fortunately, his friend Nina DePalma sent him and Strand a Facebook post about how Kingston’s Peace Nation (now closed) building was for sale. After meeting with the owner of Peace Nation the following day, the four-some signed their lease a week later.
“It was bonkers,” DePalma admits. “We got psyched on the space. It was small, intimate, had an accessible diner feel, and was in Midtown, which we love. Midtown feels like the center of Kingston, the heartbeat.”
Using their collective backgrounds in art, business, and hospitality, they went to work to craft their concept deli, butcher shop, and bar. They recruited June Rose, a Bard College graduate, from Brooklyn’s Marlow & Daughters, where he was busy learning the art of whole-animal butchery. Together, the group named their passion project Lunch Nightly in ode to the space’s twofold operations in the afternoons and evenings. Accessible to the Hudson Valley community for deli-style lunches and prime cuts of meat to-go during the day, it transforms into an intimate, inviting diner and bar at night.
“We all wanted to commit our time to something that focused on accessible, well-raised meat, thoughtfully prepared vegetables, and creating an environment that was sexy, surprising, and maybe a little nostalgic,” DePalma notes.
At least, that’s the plan for the future. The COVID-19 crisis hit the Hudson Valley just as Lunch Nightly was gearing up to open. With the state department of health focused on the feasibility of restaurant operations during the pandemic, the Lunch Nightly team was forced to delay opening to the beginning of May.
On May 2, Lunch Nightly opened for takeout at 636 Broadway. It was a soft launch, with weekend dinner only, and it was a success. One week later, the team dropped new weekend dinner offerings again, with sneak peeks available to Instagram followers. While the business model isn’t what they anticipated, it’s been a hit.
“It’s been…phenomenal,” DePalma enthuses. “We had no idea people would be so excited! We got into this business to surprise people, to cover them in love, but during this unprecedented time, we didn’t expect our mission to come to fruition. It seems like it’s happening though! We’re just feeling extremely grateful right now.”
So what’s on the menu?
It’s all about beautiful vegetables and equally beautiful cuts of meat. As a whole-animal butchery, Lunch Nightly aims to introduce Hudson Valleyites to uncommon cuts both at the counter and on the menu. Those meats will work their way into deli sandwiches in the afternoon and, later on, to the dinner menu at night. The offerings range from go-tos like beef, pork, and chicken to classics like pastrami, roast beef, ham, and turkey by the pound. Once sliced and slivered, they feature in chicken cutlet sandwiches with pesto and tomatoes, stacked pastrami sammies, and slabs of porchetta so mouthwatering that one look is all it takes to convince you that yes, you really do need them in your life.
Meat might be the shining star, but it shares the spotlight with Lunch Nightly’s just as delectable vegetable offerings. Think everything from a briny kale salad to a sprouted lentil carrot salad or broccoli slaw depending on the seasons and Chef Rose’s inclinations.
“We get excited about vegetables, and we’ll be switching it up often in that regard,” DePalma says. As for where those vegetables come from, Lunch Nightly is in the process of forging relationships with local farms primarily via word of mouth. That’s how the team heard about Back Home Farm in High Falls, with which, along with Farmstock Farm in Kingston, Solid Ground Farm in Kingston, and Veritas Farm in New Paltz, they’re excited to collaborate. For meat, they look to Sir William Angus Farm in Craryville for pork, Greenane Farms in Meredith for chicken, and Slope Farms in Meredith for beef.
In terms of COVID-19 operations, Lunch Nightly is open for takeout butcher and deli orders from Tuesday to Saturday. On Fridays and Saturdays, it offers pickup dinner service in the evenings, with menu drops every Wednesday on Instagram. Beginning June 26, it welcomes Hudson Valleyites for outdoor dining as well.
Later, when Lunch Nightly (and every other Hudson Valley restaurant) receives the go-ahead to open, the eatery will welcome locals to its diner-style interior. The inside space is intimate – only 31 seats – while the backyard can fit 50 for private parties. It glows with warmth in a way feels a little divey, a little under-the-radar, and entirely cool. It’s just as perfect for grabbing a sandwich during noontime as it is for sipping a drink by the bar at night.
“When we open for real for real, people will order from the counter always: number system,” DePalma explains. “During the day – convivial deli – stay or go. At night, we’ll dote on folks when we deliver their food, their bottles of wine to their tables. If we’re all still wearing masks, we’re looking forward to seeing the lines in the corners of people’s eyes that signal that they’re smiling. Purely, we just want to provide and have fun.”
636 Broadway, Kingston