My friend Jorge and I were antiquing in Cold Spring recently, and decided to fortify ourselves with lunch at Hudson Hil’s, Main Street’s newest cafe. It’s partly a mini market selling local cheeses and grass-fed meats, jams, jellies, baked goodies and prepared foods to go, and I expected the cafe side to be a simple breakfast and lunch spot — as in no beer or wine. One usually likes a beer in the middle of a browsing binge, or this one does, anyway. But the bright yellow and white room was so appealing we decided to make do with a teetotal lunch. Imagine our delight to discover that they do in fact serve a few well-chosen wines and six regional craft beers. Perfect! What’s more, our lunch — turkey, prosciutto and fresh mozzarella on warm focaccia for me, and fish tacos for my friend — was really good. My sandwich was a deliciously messy affair, dressed up with roasted red peppers and basil mayonnaise. Jorge declared his tacos “bright and fresh,” with perfectly fried fish, crisp shredded cabbage, a spicy pico de gallo and earthy corn tortillas. A word of advice: the housemade veggie chips — a mix of potato, sweet potato, parsnips and beets — get two orders. They’re wonderful.
The addictive veggie chips (left) and steak frites (above)
Bob Hayes, a chef who became a stay-at-home dad, and his wife, Hilary, a not-wanting-to-commute-to-Wall-Street-anymore mom, launched the cafe in February of last year after a corporate restructuring at Hilary’s company convinced her “to do some family restructuring,” as she puts it. “We’ve lived in Garrison for 12 years, and after Bob stayed home with the kids, he spent a lot of time with the other mothers, kibitzing about where to go for lunch. We knew what was missing, and we thought, we can fill this niche.”
From left: Chef Bob Hayes and cafe namesake Hilary
Fill it they did, with lines out the door from the start. Breakfast dishes, served all day, are mostly egg-y, although you can conjure your inner southerner with biscuits and gravy. (Bob’s classical training included a stint in Alabama.) For lunch, there are freshly made sandwiches and wraps, salads, a veggie burger and the raved-over, regular burger made with grass-fed beef and not an iota of that pink slime we’ve been hearing about.
Lately, the cafe has been open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, and Bob says they plan to open more evenings as the season unfolds. So far, dinnertime favorites have been steak frites, a vegetable strudel, and sauteed trout stuffed with spinach and local Camembert. Sounds good, doesn’t it? They’re open every day except Tuesdays.