It was a sad day when The Artist’s Palate announced its closure after 14 years in the Hudson Valley. With a prime location on Main Street in Poughkeepsie, the restaurant was a longtime local favorite for its new American fare and elegant atmosphere. So, when it shuttered its doors at the beginning of 2020, Dutchess County residents had to wonder what would replace it.
At long last, the truth is here. More accurately, Truth is here.
A hybrid restaurant, lounge, and event space, Truth is the new tenant in Queen City’s downtown. It’s a passion project for owner Frankee Ryan, a social worker and real estate agent who saw the need for a stronger African American presence in the region’s dining scene. As a black entrepreneur, she recognized the vacant Main Street space’s potential to transform into a place that celebrates black culture through fine dining and upscale events.
“Truth is something I felt the City of Poughkeepsie needed,” she says, adding that the restaurant stands apart through its unique integration of food, art, and music. To help her craft her concept, she partnered with event coordinator Tyshaun Johnson, who owns Pure restaurant down the street, to bring to life an aesthetic that reflects the demographic of the city.
Open since August 1, 2020, Truth is a black- and woman- owned restaurant in the Hudson Valley. Unlike traditional dining institutions, it aims to provide diners with a unique experience during every visit through chef pop-ups that spotlight the cultures and communities that define the city.
“We are creating a new restaurant model,” Ryan explains. “This is something that hasn’t been done before. We are building a place for people from all walks of life to embrace difference, so we can bring about positive change.”
Breaking from tradition, Ryan works with a rotating roster of chefs to craft the dinner program at Truth. Among those include Chef Damel Diyari, the head chef at Pure, along with Chef Che Gaines, a born-and-raised Poughkeepsie resident and Culinary Institute of America grad. During select dinners and events, talented mixologists and chefs based in and around the region contribute their talents for a total of approximately 10 chefs in all. Ryan dubs them her “chef catalog,” and explains that, in addition to cooking, they will have the opportunity to collaborate, compete, and even teach guests.
In regard to the menu, Truth showcases elegant cuisines that draw upon the flavors of the world. Lobster ravioli with cognac cream sauce might make an appearance one night, only for stuffed jerk chicken to pop up the next. Meals are crafted in the open-concept kitchen, which leads into a dining room defined by high ceilings and contemporary designs. Because the previous incarnation of the space was well appointed, Ryan chose to make minimal changes to décor to preserve its elegant ambiance.
“Artist’s Palate was a beautiful space…[and] I believe the previous owners laid the foundation for the growth and development of Main Street,” she says. To bring it up to speed with Truth’s aesthetic, she decorated the walls with prints from black artists like Gordon Parks, an African American photographer noted for his work during the civil rights movement. She pairs them with a rotating playlist of hip hop and R&B to create a vibe that’s as cool as it is welcoming.
Notably, the restaurant experience is only part of the appeal at Truth, which also functions as an indoor event space with room for up to 150 people for cocktails and 100 for formal dinners. With 3,000 square feet to its name, it works just as well for corporate events as it does for cocktail receptions or intimate dinners. Because the venue can cater events onsite and serve drinks at the bar, it’s ideal for planners who want a one-and-done location. What’s more, the Truth team is ready to assist with planning and production and allows clients to choose from within the chef catalog to bring their event concept to life.
While Truth is still a newcomer in Poughkeepsie, Ryan recognizes its distinct potential in the city.
“Truth is unique in its approach to embracing black culture. We need more,” she notes, adding that aside from her restaurant, Pure is the only other black-owned business on Main Street with a liquor license. That’s why she’s happy to forge a connection between the two enterprises through Johnson and Chef Diyari. “We are young black entrepreneurs looking to foster positive change in our community.”
307 Main St, Poughkeepsie