The Hudson Valley is always a good option when you’re looking to get out of the city for a little while. It’s easy to get to by car or train, there’s a whole lot of nature, and “artisanal” applies to more than just $15 cocktails. And right now, a weekend or week-long getaway probably sounds particularly appealing. But before you start researching hiking trails and Airbnbs, let’s address the most important thing first: where you should eat. Here’s a guide to our favorite spots in most of the major towns in the upper part of the region, from Cold Spring to Hudson.
We’ve included some Catskills areas in this guide too, but if you’re looking for more great ideas, check out our guide here.
We recently took a last-minute train to Hudson for a weekend trip and had three of our five meals at Kitty’s, a daytime cafe located right across from the train station. In addition to running a market, Kitty’s sells some very good rotisserie chicken plates, pastries, and one of the better breakfast sandwiches we’ve had in recent memory. Between the blanket of mild muenster cheese, smoky bacon, and a bun that’s been blasted with sesame seeds, this thing should have its own Hudson tourism ad on Amtrak. There’s a free option to add housemade, chunky sauerkraut, which only makes the BEC flavors pop even more. More egg dishes should come with sauerkraut. Make Kitty’s a priority while you’re in Hudson (especially before noon when they stop selling the breakfast sandwich). Kitty’s Market is open for takeout and seat-yourself outdoor dining every day from 8am to 7pm except Wednesday.
The Rivertown Lodge is basically the real-life amalgamation of every well-styled photo of upstate New York on the internet. There’s blonde wood everywhere, mid-century furniture and walls covered in books, and they use and sell the kind of ceramic mugs you decide you want to buy for your apartment, until you realize they’re $45 each. As for the food - dishes like grilled pork ribs with preserved mustard greens or roast chicken with salsa verde - it’s very good, and a lot less than $45. Rivertown Lodge has outdoor and indoor dining available from 4pm to 10pm, Friday to Tuesday, and for weekend brunch.
Located in the back of one of the 3,000 antiques stores on the main street in Hudson is Backbar, a cocktail bar that also serves Malaysian small plates. It’s a funky, cool spot with a giant string-light-covered backyard, which is where you currently enter the space. After ordering at the counter, find a table in the tented garden, and order some romanesco laab, shrimp dumplings, and natural wine. Backbar is open for outdoor dining and takeout Wednesday through Sunday for dinner and weekend brunch.
Talbott & Arding
We highly recommend using Talbott & Arding as a pit stop before heading out into nature for the day. This fancy market in the middle of town has everything you need (and definitely don’t need) for a picnic. Take a look at the long list of cheeses, cured meats, breads, and spreads on their website, and place an order for curbside pick-up by calling 518-828-3558.
Hudson Brewing Company
In case you’re going upstate with someone whose ears perk up when they hear about mosaic hops and New England IPAs, take that person to Hudson’s best (and only) brewery. Most of Hudson Brewing Company’s beers are named after historic tidbits about the area, like an homage to a legendary female Hudson River river robber pirate named Sadie the Goat. Our favorite approach here is to order a flight, which costs around $15. If you have your dog with you, know that they are more than welcome at the brewery. Tell Sadie’s ghost we say hello. Hudson Brewing Company is open Thursday through Monday in the afternoon and evenings for indoor and covered outdoor service.
Wm. Farmer & Sons
Wm. Farmer & Sons is connected to a hotel, and feels like a much-nicer-than-average hotel restaurant. The space is attractive, the service is great, and the food all looks familiar, but includes tweaks like serving a blue crab omelette with mentaiko hollandaise, or topping a fantastic burger with butter-braised onions and tomato relish. The coffee shop and rum room are currently closed, but the restaurant and bar room are open for dinner Thursday through Sunday. Reservations are encouraged, and available through their website.
Grazin’ is a good, casual option for lunch or weekend brunch in Hudson. They’re known for their super local, non-GMO, all-those-good-things burgers and American food, which is available daily inside the diner’s old-school space. If you’d rather take your order to go, you could head across the street to 7th Street Park.
Hudson Hil's Market & Cafe
Hudson Hil’s is the restaurant that will convince you to buy property in Cold Spring. This is a daytime cafe that serves super fresh, locally-sourced food and employs some of the nicest people we’ve met in restaurants. An example of a phrase that was said to us while eating here: “I’m going to warm up your pie for you - is that OK?” It is always OK. And we will always come back to Hudson Hil’s. Everything we’ve tried here for both breakfast and lunch is outstanding, but the biscuits and country sausage gravy should not be missed.
Moo Moo's Creamery
There’s one main street in Cold Spring - filled with charming cafes, antique shops, and design stores that look like they belong in a much bigger city - and after you walk the entirety of it, you’re going to want some ice cream. Get it at Moo Moo’s, then walk across the street to the park on the river for an extremely scenic ice cream experience. Moo Moo’s is open Thursday through Sunday from 12-9pm, and if you’re the planning type, then you can check out today’s flavors on their Instagram.
The indoor tables at Riverview are all separated from each other with glass dividers, but whether or not that makes you feel comfortable, you should still try to get an outdoor table here. The second-floor wraparound porch overlooks the Hudson River, and it’s an ideal spot to eat pizza with gravlax or maple-brined pork chops at lunch or dinner. Call 845-265-4778 to make a reservation.
Cold Spring Depot
Want to feel like you’re living in a different century? Eat lunch at Cold Spring Depot, a restaurant directly next to some very old train tracks. The American food is enjoyable and the beer list is great, but mostly, there’s something thrilling about eating a burger while a train goes by right in front of you. And if you’ve just come up to Cold Spring for the day (and you should, it’s only an hour and a half train ride from NYC), this is an especially convenient option as it’s just a few steps from the station. The outdoor garden is currently open until 8pm every day except Sunday.
For some semblance of a romantic night out, Brasserie Le Bouchon is your best option in Cold Spring. It sort of feels like the love child of a Little Italy spot and a French bistro, and it’s very nice outdoor patio has a large covered portion in case rain threatens to derail date night.
With a giant still life painting hanging in the dining room, staff in suspenders, and a space inside a brownstone, The Amsterdam feels like a rich Dutch person’s library. But you can avoid that initial stuffiness in two ways: hang out at the bar, or head to the giant backyard filled with Adirondack chairs and firepits. Both are great places to have a quality cocktail and some very good, seasonal American (non-Dutch) food. Reservations are available through their website.
Grand Cru Beer & Cheese Market
Terrapin Restaurant, Bistro & Bar
Terrapin has a lot going for it. It’s a restaurant inside a giant old church, the menu ranges from tapas to quesadillas to pastas, and along with attractive bar and dining rooms, they’ve recently expanded their patio seating. You can make a reservation for indoor or outdoor seating any day until 9pm through their website.
Market Street is a modern Italian spot with sidewalk seating that serves some of the best pizza in the Hudson Valley. The pastas here are also great, and if they’re offering a risotto special, that needs to be part of your order.
Rhinebeck Bagels & Cafe
Whether you want a bagel with cream cheese or a sub with roast pork, pepperoncini, and au jus dip, this is where you should go when your stomach tells you it’s jealous of all the attention you gave your liver last night. Place a takeout order through their website for pickup any day between 8am-2pm.
If the idea of the L’Artusi of upstate New York is exciting to you, then you should make it a priority to go to Cucina. If it’s not exciting to you, then we’re curious and a little nervous to hear what is exciting to you. From the seasonal Italian food to the upscale but comfortable space inside a converted farmhouse, to the wraparound porch, this place is easily one of the best dinners you can have in the Hudson Valley.
Tinker Taco Lab
There’s no bad place to drink a good margarita. And at Tinker Taco Lab, you can have one next to a stream while you eat barbacoa tacos on homemade tortillas. This counter-service Mexican spot has nice outdoor seating, which is available Friday through Sunday.
Oriole 9 has an artsy feel, inspirational quotes written on chalkboards, and plenty of vegan options. In other words, it’s not the spot to bring someone who you’re trying to convince that Woodstock isn’t all tie-dye and Birkenstocks. But it is the pace to bring someone who wants a great burger, bucket of fried chicken, or huevos rancheros. They’ve set up a bunch of tables in the alleyway next to the restaurant, which you can make use of Friday-Monday from 5-8pm.
You might buy this brand of bread at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, but it’s possible you don’t know they have brick and mortar cafes sprinkled around upstate. The location in Woodstock is small, but a good stop for coffee and a pastry, especially when you can sit at a table on the patio, which is open every day from 7am-5pm.
The Mud Club
On weekends from 9am-3pm, stop by the takeaway window at The Mud Club for coffee, pastries, and bagels. It’s basically in a gorgeous Hudson Valley backyard, with a bunch of benches and giant rocks where you can spend a couple hours planning an afternoon hike or a move to Woodstock.
Peekamoose is an even better restaurant than it is a word, and that’s saying a lot. We’d put it alongside Cucina as a must-visit for dinner if you’re spending the weekend around Woodstock or Phoenicia. The space feels like a giant ski lodge, with two options for seating: the dining room’s more formal, with reservations available by calling 845-254-6500, and a nice deck with plenty of first come, first served outdoor seating. As for the food: the menu seems to have been created to make you want to order everything - think short ribs, rigatoni and meatballs, and wood-grilled octopus.
As much as you’ll feel like you’re walking into Portlandia Goes To Woodstock, it’s pretty much impossible not to love this place. The menu is full of stuff you want to eat, including breakfast all day with pancakes that need to be part of any order here. Their expanded outdoor seating is available from 8am-6pm (8pm on weekends) every day except Wednesday.
Despite the name, Woodstock Brewing is technically located in Phoenicia. The indoor space has huge windows and a tap list that includes tasting notes and varieties of hops, while outside, there are tons of tables and a full food menu, including a phenomenal burger. They’re currently open Thursday-Sunday from 12-9pm (10pm on weekends).
The Prospect Restaurant
The people behind the hotel Scribner’s Lodge used a formula discovered by many Williamsburg expats before them: buy an old, run-down Hudson Valley building, make it look like Brooklyn, and the people will come. Scribner’s is a beautiful space, with impressive views of Hunter Mountain on display from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the hotel’s restaurant, Prospect. The housemade pastas, cheeseburger topped black truffle aioli, and cocktails are all delicious, as are all of the desserts. They’re not accepting reservations, but you can call 518-628-5150 to check their availability.
Miss Lucy's Kitchen
If we lived in Saugerties, the people working at Miss Lucy’s would probably know our first names, our dogs’ middle names, and the fact that we’re not at all ashamed by the fact that we like dipping our fries in mayo. You can’t go wrong with anything on the comfort food-leaning American menu, but you should give a little extra consideration to the turkey confit, andouille, and shrimp jambalaya with cornbread. They’re currently open Wednesday-Saturday from 12-8pm and Sunday from 12-7pm, and whenever you come, try their bloody mary.
Olsen & Company
This studio-sized fancy market looks like it was picked up and moved from East Williamsburg. They stock local, artisanal grocery items, and serve coffee, sandwiches, salads, and sides. It’s an ideal place to pick up something for the road when passing through Saugerties, or to get supplies for a picnic, but the indoor and outdoor seating also make it a good option if you’d rather eat off something other than your lap.
Slices of Saugerties
This is where you should stop if you’re looking to grab a slice on your way through Saugerties. You can place your order ahead of time through their website, and it should include multiple grandma slices and an order of garlic knots.
If, when you imagine a wine bar, you think of a place that looks like a living room from the 1990s, know that this particular one could not be more different. Brunette is a ridiculously charming spot - there’s floral wallpaper, a white marble bar, vintage stemware likely sourced from Kingston’s many antique shops, and a restroom that we plan to steal interior design ideas from. For an up close look at all of that, you can sit at one of the tables available for limited indoor dining. Otherwise, opt for a table out on the side. Either way, make use of the highly curated by-the-glass wine list, and snacks like shrimp rolls, hot dogs, and trout roe nachos.
The best place for cocktails in Kingston. Stockade Tavern has an old-timey feel to it, with a fireplace, tin ceilings, and plenty of candles. Until you can experience those aspects of it again, though, make use of their outdoor seating, which is available Wednesday through Saturday from 4-9pm.
Half antiques shop, half all-vegetarian cafe, full-on upstate New York. While Outdated is typically packed with people who live around here - studying, getting coffee, playing cards, and eating all organic, all locally sourced foods - it’s currently a place to pick up those things to go (at least the coffee and local food) Wednesday to Sunday from 10am-2pm. Call 845-331-0030 to place your order ahead of time.
Stone Ridge & Accord
Cherries Ice Cream Bar & Grill
Cherries is nothing more than a tiny deli by the side of the road, but don’t let its size fool you. This is maybe the best “deli” in all of upstate New York. The counter-service space with an attached covered patio has a full menu of things that are exactly what you want to eat in the middle of your road trip (fantastic sandwiches, chicken tenders, and curly fries to name a few). But you’re here for one thing above all else: their soft serve. Get it until 8pm any day except Monday.
Hasbrouck House is an old inn that was taken over and renovated, and it has a nice restaurant called Butterfield. The walls are stone, there’s a fireplace, and the whole place generally makes you feel like you’re in the upstate New York version of a castle. A low-key castle, but still. The restaurant is serving brunch and dinner Friday-Sunday both indoors and outdoors, with high-end American dishes like garden squash gazpacho with squash blossoms or dry-aged steak with shallot agrodolce.
This is one of our favorite places in all of upstate New York. Westwind Orchard is a fully-organic farm and pick-your-own-produce destination - a thing that, as it turns out, is actually pretty rare. Once you finish picking your raspberries, pumpkins, or apples, it’s time to eat, and that’s when you’ll head back to the yard that’s covered with picnic tables and a wood-burning pizza oven. Their margherita pizza is on par with what you’ll find at the best spots in NYC, and they also do creative things with their own produce - like the raspberry and sausage covered pie. If it wasn’t clear from everything we’ve already said, Westwind Orchard is perfect for kids, but it’s also perfect for pretty much anyone else. It’s absolutely worth going out of your way for this place.
City Winery, which has locations in NYC and around the country, opened a massive multi-use project on a 22-acre plot centered around a converted mill. Along with making their own wine from grapes grown on the property, they have a tasting room and restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking a river and waterfall. You can make a reservation for a table Thursday through Sunday through their website, where you’ll also find details on their on-site concert series.
Ella’s Bella’s is entirely gluten-free. Whether or not you care about that, you should still drop in whenever you’re in or around Beacon. Their fantastic breads, pastries, and cakes, which you can order up to a week in advance, are available until 4pm every day except Tuesday.
Homespun Foods serves the kind of food that won’t derail your hiking plans before you’ve decided on a trail. Thursday through Sunday, order a gouda pecan salad and turkey avocado sandwich at a table in the backyard or the tented front patio, both of which are open for lunch and dinner.
The Roundhouse is the most upscale dinner option in town, and the picturesque space is enough of a reason to stop by on its own. The big, string-light-covered outdoor patio looks out over a waterfall, and is a great place to eat some duck confit steam buns and housemade pasta on a nice evening. The restaurant is open every day, and on weekends, they also have a BBQ pop-up where you can order 12-hour smoked brisket and barrel-aged negronis all day long.
Bank Square Coffeehouse
This is Beacon’s go-to independent coffee shop. As you might expect of a coffee shop around here, it’s an exceedingly pleasant place with a nice outdoor patio where you should have a latte (or a beer) while you plot your next move around town.
Dogwood is a solid pub with very good cocktails and hand-crafted sodas. They’re offering an abbreviated food menu focused on different types of open-faced sandwiches topped with things like roast beef and horseradish mayo or chipotle pulled chicken and cheddar cheese. The indoor space is currently open from 5pm-12am Wednesday through Sunday.