Photos by Chris Mottalini
After closing in 2021, Stissing House is ready to welcome visitors with a new owner, new menu, and heaps of historic charm.
One of the oldest operating inns in the United States has been reborn. Stissing House has seen a lot of action since its founding in 1782: it first served as a tavern, inn, and ballroom for Patriots of the young American Republic, including Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette; following World War I, it fell into disrepair as Pine Plains’ railways were disassembled to make ammunition; in 1995, it was renovated and became a French restaurant (under the same name), until it closed once again last year.
Now, Stissing House has a new captain at the helm. Clare de Boer, one of the chefs behind Michelin-starred bistro King in Manhattan, bought the building, became head chef and owner, and gave it some much-needed TLC. “Opening a solo restaurant in the Hudson Valley wasn’t in my plans. But when the historic Stissing House near my family home [in Dover Plains] came up for lease, I couldn’t resist it,” she says. The past year went a little something like this: renovation days, re-painting and re-modeling the 6,000-sq.-ft. space, menu experimenting and tasting, and decorating with Shaker-inspired touches like lit candle sticks at every table in the main bar room and whimsical centerpieces, plus a new, charming green front door. “Our design goal was to highlight the incredible character and bones of the space by paring back and warming up,” de Boer explains. But at its core, “this isn’t a ‘new’ restaurant, just new caretakers.”
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Stissing House serves up simple tavern food, which changes seasonally. “We’re working with local farms to show off some of our favorite things in the area. Nothing fancy, just delicious,” de Boer says. There are carefully chosen small plates, starters, and entrées. Start off with coal-roasted Belon or Fin de la Baie oysters, malt vinegar potato chips, and house made smoked ham and pickles. “People have gone nuts for our snacks,” de Boer adds. Share a salad, like an endive and pear with buttermilk dressing, frisée and lentil with a pheasant egg, or frilled spring greens with vinaigrette, and tear apart wood-fired bread with asparagus and goat’s curd.
Among this spring’s entrées are rib eye with creamed spinach, pork collar with fennel and bay leaves, and wood oven-roasted pheasant with vermouth, juniper, and sides (for two). Expect more of the same this summer, including “a bounty of summer produce, like tomatoes, corn and basil, as well as our desserts, like sundaes, seasonal jelly, and crumbles,” says de Boer. As Stissing House’s new presence in Pine Plains settles, look forward to community programs and group dinners, called “feasts,” in the former boarding room space upstairs. Dinner hours are Monday, Thurs–Sun, 5–10 p.m. Lunch offered Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
7801 South Main Street, Pine Plains stissinghouse.com