So, you’re planning a weekend getaway upstate this fall. How original. While much of upstate no longer feels all that different from much of Brooklyn, the good news is that the eating & drinking situation keeps getting better and better.
We’ve put together a guide to our favorite spots in three main upstate destinations: Hudson, Woodstock & Phoenicia, and Beacon. This guide is by no means exhaustive - we understand there are many more places to check out than what we’ve listed below. But if you’re in or around these areas for the weekend, our guide is meant to point you in the direction of the restaurants and bars you should be prioritizing.
Now go enjoy that apple picking or hiking or antiquing or self-discovery or whatever it is you set out upstate to do. We support you.
If you’re looking for a great dinner in Hudson, but don’t necessarily feel like shelling out more than the cost of a night at your (extremely hip) Airbnb, consider Hudson Food Studio. It’s a casual, cozy spot serving modern Vietnamese, and we loved our dinner here. The vibe is super relaxed yet lively, and the noodles and pho are exactly what you want to eat on a chilly fall night after a long day outside.
If you’re heading out into nature for the day, you can’t pack a better picnic than with what you’ll find at Talbott & Arding, a specialty grocery store and market in the middle of town. Everything about this place is well thought out, and after loading up on sandwiches, salads, sides, and cookies, you’ll probably have to resist the urge to grab some of their merch too. We own a tote bag from here and feel great about it.
Fish & Game is easily the most-hyped restaurant in Hudson. But in this case, hype doesn’t quite translate to quality - the space is absolutely beautiful (you feel like you’re in an extremely fancy country club lodge), but the food is pretty underwhelming - and for the high price, there are much better ways to spend your dollar in this town. But we do like Fish & Game for one situation: get here on the early side, snag a seat at the bar or in the lounge, and order a cocktail here before you move on to your main event meal elsewhere (ideally Farmer & Sons or Food Studio).
A step down from Fish & Game in terms of fanciness, but a step up in terms of food is Farmer & Sons. This restaurant is connected to a hotel, but it’s about as far from a hotel restaurant as you could imagine. The vibe in the room is awesome, it’s typically packed with people, the service is great, and the food is all familiar stuff executed very well. The crowd here is everyone from big families to couples on weekend trips.
This place does not fit in with the rest of its quaint, homey, Hudson-y surroundings one bit. Nor does it fit in into one specific category. Or Gallery & Tavern is somewhere between a bar, a restaurant, a store, and a gallery - and the look of the place is about as edgy as you’ll find in Hudson. It’s a big, cement-covered converted garage, with a nice patio for the warmer months and plenty of seating inside for when it’s cold. If you’re looking to kill some time between lunch and dinner, come here to sit at the big circular bar, have a beer on tap and a charcuterie plate, and talk up some locals (or more realistically, some other NYC people who are visiting for the weekend).
If you get excited about craft beer, stop into Spotty Dog, a bookstore/craft beer bar. Get a local brew, pick up a book, park yourself in a comfy chair, and you’ll wonder why people don’t mix literature and alcohol more often.
woodstock & phoenicia
It’s not like we thought Woodstock was still all tie-dye and Birkenstocks, but we were nonetheless still pretty surprised to find Cucina. It’s a big, beautiful Italian restaurant inside a converted farmhouse - and if the idea of the L’Artusi of upstate New York is at all exciting to you, then you should make it a point to get to here. From the seasonal, modern Italian food, to the upscale yet cozy interior, to the wraparound porch, this place is easily one of our favorite dinner experiences in all of upstate.
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 Phoenicia or Woodstock. The atmosphere feels like a giant ski lodge, with two options for seating depending on your vibe (the dining room’s more formal, and the tap room’s more laid-back), and a lovely deck if you’re here when it’s warm. As for the food: the menu seems to have been created so you want to order everything - think short ribs, rigatoni and meatballs, and wood-grilled octopus.
Shindig is new-ish to Woodstock, but already giving longtime local staple/breakfast favorite Oriole 9 a run for its money. With its light wood covered interior and vintage details, Shindig definitely falls into the category of “would be more at home in Brooklyn,” but it still maintains enough of a local feel that you won’t hate yourself for enjoying yourself here. There’s lunch and dinner too, but we like the place best for its classic breakfast foods: granola, veggie scrambles, egg wraps, pancakes, and the like.
The other, older breakfast/brunch/lunch go-to in town. Oriole 9 feels a little more true to what you might expect to find in Woodstock: an “artsy” vibe, inspirational quotes written on chalkboards, and plenty of vegan options.
You might buy this brand of bread at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, but you might not 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, or a low-key sit down meal if Oriole 9 and Shindig are swamped.
Phoenicia Diner may as well be called The Instagram Diner. Even if you think you’ve never heard of this place, you’ve probably seen its waffles, or its chilaquiles, or its Bloody Mary - all under excellent natural light inside the perfectly-updated classic diner space. As insufferable as that prospect might sound, and as much as you’ll feel like you’re walking into Portlandia Goes To Woodstock, it’s pretty impossible not to love this place: the vibes are great, the menu is full of stuff you want to eat, and the food is actually good (get the buckwheat pancakes or huevos rancheros). Yes, you’re almost sure you’ve seen at least three of the people eating around you on your coop shift, but it’s okay - you can all share in the joy of being in not-Brooklyn. Word to the wise: this place isn’t actually in Phoenicia proper (but a quick five-minute drive from it), and it’s the only spot around with wifi (and therefore cell service).
Should you find yourself on Route 28 in need of coffee or a rest stop, make Scandinavian Grace a priority. It’s a vintage/Scandinavian home goods store, and also a coffee shop, and also an extremely photogenic space. Stop in to get a cappuccino and to start truly plotting how the hell you’re going to find a way to move here.
If you’re up in Beacon to do some hiking, fuel up before all that nature at Beacon Bagel. It’s not going to compete with the city’s best, but considering you’re 60 miles outside of NYC, it’s a pretty good bet for an egg and cheese (or whatever your morning go-to) on a bagel.
The bad news: the most popular bakery in town is gluten-free. The good news: the pastries and desserts are good enough to almost make you forget what you’re eating.
Looking for the kind of healthy-ish lunch that won’t make you want to take a nap instead of going on that hike you planned for? Homespun Foods is a great bet for salads and sandwiches that will leave you feeling nice and not-terrible. Make sure to grab a spot on the back patio if it’s warm enough. If you’re visiting Dia:Beacon, you’ll also find a Homespun Foods outpost inside the museum.
This is Beacon’s go-to indie coffee shop. As you might expect of a coffee shop in upstate New York, it’s an exceedingly cozy place for a latte (or a beer) while you plot your next move around town.
After a day at Dia:Beacon (or hiking in the mountains), you probably want some beer. And a burger. SURPRISE, so does everyone else. The Hop is solid for craft beer and fancy bar food - just make sure you get there early, or prepare to wait, or if you think ahead, just make a reservation.
Similar in cozy vibe to The Hop, Dogwood is another gastropub in town you’ll like. It’s especially useful on Tuesdays, when, unlike most other places in Beacon, it’s actually open. There’s also sometimes live music here, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Roundhouse is the most upscale dinner option in town, but you’re not really coming here for the food. The picturesque space is enough reason to stop by - it’s in a converted old factory, and its floor-to-ceiling windowed dining room looks out over a waterfall. We’d advise you stop in just for the views, and to have a drink in the lounge (or on the patio if it’s warm) before you move on to Dogwood or The Hop for your meal.