“We cater to everyone, from kids to the sophisticated palate to the meat-and-potatoes man,” says Karen Schneck, who co-owns Gardiner’s Village Market and Café with her husband, John Reilly. “We start every dish with very high-quality products, but we cook what we like to eat.” Both husband and wife had previous stints in high-end NYC establishments, so everything they cook is packed with flavor and/or unique ingredients. This explains why the café attracts scores of hungry locals, weekenders up for a few days in the country, and climbers descending from a day on the Gunks, among others. One of the most popular items on their menu is the Philly Cheesesteak, made of shaved ribeye with carmelized Vadalia onions, peppers, and mushrooms on a fresh-baked sub roll. “It’s fairly traditional, but we use our own cheese sauce. It’s a five-cheese blend of cheddar, smoked Gouda, Swiss, American, and pepper jack,” she explains. “And it appeals to people across the board. The beef is flavorful, roasted with a salt, pepper, garlic, and Dijon mustard rub.”
Following closely behind in sandwich popularity are the Working Manwich (house-made meatloaf, grilled onions, horseradish mayo, and cheddar on a hard roll) and the “Yes, Dear” panini, which consists of Waldorf chicken salad — containing organic cranberries and almonds — plus smoked Gouda and bacon on grilled rye. How’d they come up with that name? “That’s how you stay in business together when you’re married — it’s a lot of ‘Yes, dear! Yes, dear,’ ” Schneck laughs.
Be sure to save room for dessert; while their bakery section is temporarily limited (“We bought gorgeous new tables and chairs, then our pastry case blew up,” she explains), the market still offers family-recipe baked goods, including rich, fudgy brownies and chewy chocolate chip cookies.