Breakfast spots are sacred places in the Hudson Valley. Down-home diners, cozy coffee shops, and upscale brunch joints round out local destinations for the most important meal of the day. The recently reinvented Ground Hog Café—now simply dubbed The Hog—has built a devoted fanbase over the past two decades.
New owners Adam and Corrinne Stenberg opened this iteration of the Village of Wappingers Falls hotspot in February 2022. In fact, couple served The Hog’s first customers on Groundhog Day.
“We definitely recognize that the Ground Hog was a staple for decades. So, we want to keep in the spirit of the space as a local comfort spot,” Corrinne says. “The gorgeous wood paneling is here to stay. We’re just going to spice things up a bit.”
The 1900s brick building originated as a three-story New England home. Though the signature chopper-riding hogs are gone, loving homages to the Ground Hog’s history can be found throughout the space. Plus, piping hot coffee and salty, satisfying breakfast bites keep the tradition alive. However, a fresh approach to comfort food shakes things up on the rotating menu.
Of course, Chef Adam has garnered a reputation in the Hudson Valley for delivering fun, fascinating flavor combinations. He and Corrinne moved to the region in 2004, and he attended the Culinary Institute of America. The couple fell in love with the area, and Adam formed many close bonds with other local chefs. His impressive resume includes stints at O2 Restaurant and Max’s on Main in Beacon, Le Buchon in Cold Spring, and 36 Main Restaurant and Wine Bar in New Paltz. (In fact, he even graced the cover of our November 2008 issue for opening 36 Main with Kathy Combs.)
He worked with Marbled Meat Shop and ran Stock Up in Beacon for a few years, earning notoriety for particularly savory sandwiches. In addition, Adam served as a chef consultant to Brendan McAlpine on several projects, including Wonderbar, Hudson Valley Marshmallow Co., Dutch’s Spirits, and the historic Bird & Bottle Inn. At The Hog, he brings creativity to every bite.
“I take my approach to what I create to kind of be whimsical twists on very classic deli and café-style items,” Adam explains. Drawing on 20 years of experience, he emphasizes that the thing every cook and every chef makes for themselves at the end of the night is usually a sandwich. “It encompasses everything. And, my wife and I have been together for 21 years; the one thing that she always said to me is, ‘Dude, your sandwiches are insane.’ And that’s what we always eat when I get off work at one o’clock in the morning. I want to bring what I like to eat to The Hog.”
Fans of Stock Up will be glad to discover The Hog’s assortment of breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Morning meal traditionalists will love the egg sammies section of the menu. First, there’s The Hog egg and cheese, which is made even better with add-ons like prosciutto cotto ham, Applewood bacon, or house sausage. Pair fried eggs with buttermilk fried chicken and hot honey bacon in the morning birdie or with juicy sirloin, smoked pub cheese, and spicy coriander chimichurri in the steak and eggs. On the other hand, Trufflin’ features brie, truffle zest and vinaigrette, and a Calabrian chili spread.
Next, on the lunch side of the menu, find Adam’s unique takes on comfort food staples like pulled pork (Hog Noggin), Philly cheesesteaks (Illy P), and Italian combos (Muffler).
Specialty toasts and bowls cater to diners seeking lighter fare. For instance, beetroot, apple butter, baby kale, lavender, and a slew of other things top the Billy Beets toast. In a similar vein, avocado toast gets a massive upgrade through the Cali. Sunflower sprouts, crispy chickpeas, almond dukah, cilantro zhoug, and creamy labneh are welcome additions. Of course, we can’t avoid mentioning the banana cannoli toast. This sweet treat piles whipped ricotta, caramelized banana, and a pecan-Fruity Pebble crumble on top of griddled banana bread.
Colorful bowls loaded with tasty ingredients include the marcona almond and miso chicken salad and the seared ahi tuna BLT (served over quinoa with rocket and crunch leaf, avocado, cucumber, and Unagi sauce). There’s also a robust children’s menu which aims to expand young palates.
“The big focus is actually going to be on a rotational, daily/weekly specials. That was one of the bigger things with Stock Up that people really loved. You come in on Tuesday, and you get this great sandwich. But, when you come into Friday expecting it again and it’s not there, you have an even better sandwich waiting for you,” Adam says. “We will have a variety of local, seasonal items…just really kind of showcasing the bounty of the Hudson Valley.”
Already, they work with Ronnybrook Farms Dairy in Pine Plains, Harney & Sons Fine Teas in Millerton, and Brewtus Coffee in Troy. As the menu evolves and expands, The Hog will highlight other local purveyors and farms. They’re even looking to offer beer, cider, and other craft beverages way down the road. Of course, the Sternbergs are running a marathon, not a sprint.
For Corrinne, community engagement is vital to The Hog’s success.
“I come from a background of social media. I’ve worked for a jewelry designer in Brewster for the better part of 20 years. So, I definitely plan to use that fun, interactive social media presence to engage with our customers and keep them interested in what’s going to happen next,” she says. Feedback shapes the future of the menu, and determines which dishes stay and which change.
Plus, The Hog has the support of other village business owners.
“I’ve been friends with Adam and Keely [Lauricella] at Graceland Tattoo for years—I actually cooked their rehearsal dinner in New Paltz way back in the day. Now, we’re neighbors,” Adam says. From bubbly champagne bars to savory Puerto Rican food, The Hog fits right into Wappingers Falls’s burgeoning status as a foodie destination.
“We’re excited to be part of the community, and it’s fantastic that it’s all taking place on Main Street,” he says.