The Curry Estate Is a Family Affair in Dutchess County

All photos courtesy of The Curry Estate

The Curry Estate is a true family affair. Here’s how six siblings reinvented a historic wedding venue—and rekindled their relationship.

In 2018, the Curry sisters were searching for a gathering place where they could spend more time together and reconnect with their families. Karen, Cathleen, Prish, Dawn, Jill, and Jen are a tight-knit clan from LaGrangeville. But after each sister left the area and settled in different states, 30 years had passed in an instant.

“I wanted our family to be together again,” says Prish, 62. “We saw each other maybe three times a year—mostly weddings or funerals. I wanted us to know our nieces and nephews, and for the cousins to get to know each other, too.” Prish had just sold a business in Florida and was going through a divorce—which gave her the perfect opportunity to invest elsewhere. The women decided to search for an event space in the Valley that they could all run together.

sisters

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They spent the better half of 2018 touring multiple venues across the region, but to no avail. Feeling a bit discouraged, they took a break. When they resumed the hunt later that year, their real estate agent let them know that a contract for Le Chambord in Hopewell Junction had fallen through. They took a look and thought “this is it,” says Cathleen, 63. As Dutchess natives, they were well-acquainted with the space—and had even attended weddings there.

Why take on a wedding venue? “We shine at any kind of event,” says Cathleen, who had run events in San Francisco. “Any time we had a birthday party or a wedding—that’s where our excitement grew. We’re good at coming up with the details and the ideas.” Dawn, 60, did interior design for B&B The Gables in Rhinebeck and waitressed in Connecticut; Karen, 65, was a realtor in Texas; and 56-year-old twins Jill and Jen had plenty of restaurant experience. As far as they were concerned, their combined talents were a recipe for success.

Curry estate restaurant six
Restaurant Six serves New American brunch and dinner.

The 10-acre Georgian estate dates to 1863. When former owner Roy Benich purchased the property in 1984, he opened Le Chambord Restaurant and Inn, an upscale French-inspired spot that became a local landmark, popular for lunch and dinner for local IBM executives with large expense accounts. “For a while, it was the place to get married,” adds Cathleen. In the mid ‘90s, however, IBM’s business fizzled along with Le Chambord’s steady stream of regulars. The restaurant remained open—albeit in a much quieter state—until it came into the hands of the Curry women.

When the sisters met Benich, the deal was almost instantaneous. “He knew our dad, Dick Curry, who ran R. K. Curry Real Estate in Wappingers Falls,” says Cathleen. That was quite the coincidence, as their dad had wished to start a family business for years. “He always wanted us to work together, to carry on the family name. It was important to him,” she says. They took ownership in January 2019. “Then we said, ‘OK, let’s get ready to change our lives!’” smiles Cathleen.

Family Matters

As the sisters explored their new venue, now called the Curry Estate, they knew they wanted to give it a major update. “We needed to inject life, fun, and warmth into it,” says Jill. The idea was to give each section (the restaurant, bar, inn, and events space) its own personality—while still maintaining synergy.

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Roles were delegated: Cathleen became the general manager, Prish and Dawn handle sales, and Jennifer (who lives in Pennsylvania) comes up often to help with landscaping. Jill, a travel nurse, occasionally works front-of-house and Karen stayed in Texas. (“Five of us are divorced, so the husbands aren’t in the picture,” laughs Cathleen.) And talk about close-knit: Prish, Jill, Cathleen, and Cathleen’s daughter Jackie, plus her husband and child, all live above the restaurant. (There are nine rooms.)

They decided to change up the restaurant first. “Le Chambord” became “Restaurant Six” (for obvious reasons), old carpeting was replaced with hardwood floors, and a large patio was added for outdoor dining and cocktails. Most importantly: Goodbye French cuisine, hello New American. “We’re not fancy eaters,” says Cathleen. “We like to go out and have a nice meal—but it doesn’t have to be formal.” Though there’s still a fine food element (with dishes like filet mignon and Frenched rack of lamb), Restaurant Six’s focus has shifted to modern cuisine with a fresh, seasonal twist. Popular starters include burrata and heirloom tomato salad and escargots in puffed pastry. Top entrées are salmon with couscous, roasted vegetables, pea purée, and raspberry beurre blanc; Hudson Valley duck breast with a blackberry-rum compote; and pan-seared branzino with panzanella salad and orzo.

Below the restaurant is a cozy bar with a speakeasy feel. It’s named SS Beverly—both after their late mother and as an homage to its nautical roots (the estate’s original architect was a shipbuilder who installed portholes in the walls). You can order from the full restaurant menu, or snack on bar bites. The space also hosts live music, ladies’ nights, and more. “It’s my favorite place on the property,” notes Cathleen.

The dated rooms in the inn needed the most TLC—new carpeting, paint, furnishings, and linens. The sisters purchased antiques from local vendors to retain a French-country feel, but did a lot of the work themselves. “We were [hauling] old mattresses and furniture out ourselves,” says Cathleen. Some days lasted upwards of 17 hours—a proud feat for a crew of mostly 60-somethings. Though the inn is currently used primarily by wedding parties, the sisters are hoping to attract visitors from the city looking for weekend getaways.

Curry Estate pavilion
The pavilion hosts showers, parties, and more.

The ballroom—complete with a dance floor, bar, and seating for up to 200—is relatively unchanged. The sisters have orchestrated dozens of weddings—from intimate ceremonies to large weekend-long parties. “We host all types,” says Jill. “Hoedowns, black-tie—you name it. We love the weddings the most.”

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Sibling Revelry

Curry Estate is continuing to book weddings this year and its 2024 season is beginning to fill up. Next on the horizon? Perhaps a beer garden, says Cathleen, who has identified a prime spot on the property. But for now, reviving the estate has strengthened the Curry family tenfold. (Though the sisters admit that working together isn’t always easy—and yes, there are fights.) While they get to spend much more time together, Cathleen says connecting with extended family has been a joy. “I didn’t know my nieces and nephews. Now we have a gathering place.” In fact, the sisters closed the inn for Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2022 and had a big family reunion.

Cathleen believes the Curry Estate will always be the lifeblood of the family. “We started this a little later in life,” says Cathleen, “and have poured all of our experience and energy into it, with the hope that we leave the next generation a family business they’ll want to be part of. It’s a legacy for generations to come.”

For restaurant hours, venue and event information, and wedding services, visit curryestate.com.

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