There are a lot of restaurants in Rhinebeck. Not that we’re complaining, of course. After all, the Dutchess County village is an absolute dream for foodies who want the best of fine dining in the Hudson Valley. In the span of only a few blocks, visitors can satisfy their cravings for American, Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, or pretty much anything else that might strike their fancy.
Yet as varied as the Rhinebeck food scene is, there’s not even a whiff of Irish dining in town.
For now, at least.
Come spring, Rhinebeck’s Garden Street will welcome a sliver of the Emerald Isle in the form of Bia. Named after the Gaelic term for alimentation, food, and sustenance, Bia (pronounced bee-ya) is a new passion project from proprietor and general manager Kyle Kelley, who is well versed in the local bar scene, and chef Rich Reeve, who garnered quite the following during his time at the now-closed Elephant in Kingston. The concept for the eatery came to Kelley and his wife, Lisa, who serves as the chief bookkeeper and marketer for the restaurant, during their recent travels through Ireland, where they fell head over heels in love with partnership between cuisine and community.
“There were a number of things about the dining and drinking establishments there that we were absolutely impressed with: the universally high quality of local ingredients; the soulful, elegant, and uncomplicated nature of the dishes; the gracious hospitality; the pride in local ale and spirits…which, when you talk about it, starts to sound a lot like the Hudson Valley,” says Kyle Kelley.
Upon his return to the Valley, Kelley and Reeve, both of whom have Irish heritage, connected to flesh out the concept for an Irish restaurant in the region. They chose Rhinebeck for its charming, dynamic nature, a nature which Kelley was already familiar with during his time working in the restaurant industry there. Located on Garden Street, Bia is just far enough away from the heart of town without being so isolated that diners don’t want to venture too far away from the arts and culture in the community to find it.
When Bia opens in the first week of April, it will be a fine dining destination that fuses comfort flavors with authentic cultural fare. Kelley curates the beverage menu, while Reeve, who also operated the kitchens at Brady’s Pub in Poughkeepsie and 23 Broadway in Kingston, helms the culinary program.
“The food will be soulful and delicious, the hospitality gracious and warm, the drinks curated and cared for, the ambiance cozy, elegant, and inviting,” Kelley enthuses.
As for the menu, it aims to introduce diners to the signature flavors and ingredients that define Ireland as a whole. Dishes will be unique, with offerings that range from miniature braised beef and stilton pies and sizzling Jonah crab claws in garlic-parsley butter to an Irish-inspired Sunday roast and a foie gras and chicken liver tart. In addition, daily and seasonal specials take precedence, with a rotating selection of wild game and fish of the day selections to tempt diners throughout the week.
When it comes time to order, the menu depends on where diners are located. While the full a la carte and vegetarian menus will be available throughout the eatery at all hours of operation, the blackboard menu will be accessible exclusively in the bar and lounge area for those who want light bites to pair with their cocktails. On top of that, Kelley and team will also introduce a “neighborhood” menu, an Irish concept that features smaller portions and modest price points to diners who prefer prix fixe, early bird specials.
A true community destination, Bia welcomes family, friends, locals, and day trippers alike. With various spaces, including a bar, lounge, outdoor patio, and formal dining room, for visitors to convene, the Rhinebeck restaurant is a dream for mingling after work or for celebrating birthdays and just because dinners alike.
“We want the lighting and décor, the warm banter with your server, the music, the wine, and, of course, the food to nourish and restore the spirit of everyone who chooses to spend their hard-earned money in our restaurant,” Kelley explains.
With an estimated April 1 open date, Bia runs dinner service Thursday to Monday during the week, with options for private events and wine dinners throughout the year. Stay tuned to the restaurant’s Facebook page for more information.
22 Garden St, Rhinebcek