Renovated Airstream trailers, spiked milkshakes, and simple food done just right: We take you on a tour of the area’s most iconic and eclectic roadside restaurants.
Photography by Ken Gabrielsen
The Taconic Trio
Roosevelt brought us our beautiful parkway but it was Bert Coons who supplied the food. Throughout the ’50s this culinary-minded entrepreneur opened diners after each phase of the parkway’s construction, leaving us with the Historic Village Diner in Red Hook, the West Taghkanic Diner in Ancram, and the Martindale Chief in Craryville. A drive through this portion of the Valley (northern Dutchess and Columbia counties), filled with rolling hills and farms, carries a delightfully sleepy vibe — it’s not far from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, incidentally. Eat at one of the following diners then find a shady place in one of the many fields to slip into your own 20-year food coma, just like old Rip.
A new crop of diners has popped up over the last few years designed to merge authentic feel with locavore ethics, high-quality food, and Instagrammable style. The following four will knock your socks off and inspire jealousy on your social media feeds.
America’s culinary story, and its story in general, is one of immigrants. Some high profile personalities in the food world have recently spoken up about the assets these individuals have always added to the kitchen, all while being undervalued. For many, the restaurant business offers a path to prosperity in this country; and for those who enjoy food, we owe our respect. Here are a couple of examples of people who have used the all-American diner as the vehicle through which they present the gift of their native cuisine.