Mama’s Boy Burgers, Tannersville
For some reason, a sizzling pile of meat pairs perfectly with sizzling temperatures, particularly when offset with fresh tomato and crisp lettuce. Mama’s Boy Burgers offers a creative menu of upscale burgers, from classic, Shake Shack-inspired hamburgers to multiple veggie options, and almost all of their ingredients are locally sourced.
Pete’s Hot Dogs, Newburgh
We wouldn’t be doing our duty if we published a summer food bucket list without a hot dog on it. And Pete’s is perhaps Orange County’s favorite frank. This beloved, intergenerational spot has been serving hot dogs since 1932. Forget blends, forget gourmet ingredients: Pete’s is known for its plain and simple, all-beef dogs.
Holy Cow, Red Hook
No food is more redolent of summer, a burst of cold invading a buzzing, muggy night; and few are more impermanent, your cone melting faster than you can get it down. On humid evenings, whether a softball game has just finished up or people can’t bear hiding indoors, Holy Cow’s line stretches deep into the parking lot, everyone waiting for soft serve that’s not too creamy and not too light.
Valley Harvest Ice Cream & Grill, Germantown
If soft serve is about cooling off, then hard ice cream is all about savoring subtle flavors, mixed textures, and chunks of chocolate and fruit. Valley Harvest Ice Cream & Grill serves a slew of flavors, including seasonal creations like Flying Fish Fudge and green tea ice cream.
Reverie Coffee, Amenia
Bedeviled for years by watered-down, room-temperature-at-best iced coffee, the recent popularity of cold brew means that drinkers need spare none of the jolt on days when they don’t feel like sweating every time they take a sip. Reverie in Amenia specializes in the stuff, and the CBD-infused cold brew means your body won’t know how to feel this summer.
Freefall Sangria, Wallkill
Is it the kick of red wine (or white) or the fruity sweetness that hides it? Either way, sangria is the perfect hang-out drink, making hours and inhibitions disappear. For a local twist, bring a bottle of Freefall Sangria to your next barbecue or cookout. Made by a pair of skydivers in Wallkill, it packs more than a little punch.
Golden Harvest Farms, Valatie
The best desserts take advantage of what’s currently in season, making a good cherry or blueberry pie the most seasonably apt choice. Stop by Golden Harvest Farm for pastries baked fresh on site, and keep coming back for their apple pie — and cider donuts! — when picking season arrives.
Whether on your first mouth-puckering sip, or divvying up the bottom of the pitcher, could there be a more refreshing drink than a margarita? Armadillo in Kingston has changed ownership and offerings, but their margarita remains a stand-out. Order the frozen version for an added bit of chill.
Stone Ridge Orchard, Stone Ridge
Berries aren’t quite as satisfying when you can’t tell everyone you sourced them straight from the farm down the road. Stop by Stone Ridge Orchard for blueberries, gooseberries, or raspberries at the farm stand from July to September.
Brothers Barbecue, New Windsor
Long summer days might be the only time people in the Valley have to invest in their grills, resulting in creatively decadent variations on barbecuing. If you don’t want to get smoke in your face all day, head to Brothers Barbecue, serving no-frills East Carolina-style BBQ at all price points.
Berben & Wolff’s, Albany
Meat eaters aren’t the only folks who can enjoy some sweet smokiness: the BBQ pulled jackfruit at this Capital Region favorite is both great and green. Sure, it’s not the real thing, but that’s kind of the point.
Sloop Brewing @ The Factory, East Fishkill
While brewing (and drinking) are year-round jobs, many breweries are most pleasant to visit when you won’t freeze your fingers off for a view. And Sloop Brewing Company has a great set-up in a former IBM factory plant that adds a hip, industrial flair to the many IPAs on tap.
Blu Pointe, Newburgh
Lean, fresh cuts of fish define many a summer diet, and Blu Pointe in Newburgh has some of the freshest around, with dozens of sea-inspired dishes like Hiddenfjord salmon or Alaskan crab legs served alongside riverfront views.
Wallkill View Farm Market, New Paltz
The perfect side, a smart piece of sweet corn more than makes up for all of the shucking. Quality varies according to crop and season, but after a long day of hiking or biking, the Wallkill View Farm Market is an easy pit stop for this summer favorite.
Walter’s Hot Dogs, Mamaroneck, White Plains
We love Walter’s. Not only for their hot dogs — which would give Pete’s a run for their money — but for creating tasty treats like funnel cake sticks. These thin strips of melt-in-your-mouth dough topped with powdered sugar are more manageable than the usual heap of decadence, and every bit as delicious. But honestly, if you’re looking to check this item off your bucket list, any fried dough will do — churros, zeppoles, or your confection of choice.
The Amsterdam, Rhinebeck
Reopens July 27
August evenings are perfect for savoring the summer in all of its sleepy, sultry glory. Under the glow of The Amsterdam’s backyard patio, you can challenge some friends to a game of bocce before plopping down by the bonfire for a cocktail — or two.