Last Chance Cheese and Antiques Cafe Restaurant Review in Tannersville: Gourmet Food and Dining in Greene County
Off the beaten path: Tannersville’s Last Chance Cafe is equal parts gourmet shop, antiques emporium, and restaurant — oh, and there’s a tavern, too
Cheese it! Last Chance Cafe’s French onion soup is piled high with Swiss cheese melted on toasted garlic bread
Photographs by Teresa Horgan
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During the week, Tannersville is a quiet little Greene County village that looks much as it did during its Catskills heyday, when the mountains were studded with Dirty Dancing-style resorts. On weekends in winter, the 500 or so residents are joined by swarms of skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers and other snowy-activity enthusiasts who drift into town after disporting themselves at Hunter Mountain, which is a few miles up the road. On summer weekends, the town comes alive with bikers, hikers, and various outdoorsy types, along with a raft of low-key second-homeowners.
Above: Last Chance manager Michael Thorpe, owner Dave Kashman, and waitresses Sabrina Svwech and Jaki Elmo-Emel; the bison burger (below) comes topped with garlic goat cheese and sautéed onions
Among the local charms are Rip Van Winkle Lake, where you can boat, fish, or let the kids romp in the playground or zip around the skateboard park. There’s a nine-hole golf course; bike paths; hiking trails; and the Mountain Top Arboretum, where nature lovers can ramble over 23 acres of trees, shrubs, and plants tough enough to grow at high elevations. Cultural highlights run from music festivals to the Crazy Race, in which participants tear down Tannersville’s Main Street in homemade “vehicles.”
In recent years, several buildings in the village have become tourist attractions themselves. Spruced up in vibrant pastels as part of the Paint Program — a scheme dreamed up by a local artist and implemented by the Hunter Foundation — they’ve drawn media attention as well as tourists, and give the village a lively look.
One of those gaily painted buildings houses the Last Chance Cheese and Antiques Cafe, a quirky gourmet store and eatery that’s been a Main Street fixture since 1971. In its earliest incarnation, Last Chance was an antiques shop with a sideline in bongs and head-shop paraphernalia, opened by Brooklyn transplant Loren Kashman. Back then, Kashman was, as he puts it, “a long-haired hippie” who soon realized that there wasn’t much demand for antiques and bongs among the après-ski set doing much of the spending in town. But they did buy the snacks and munchies he offered. So he branched out with soups, sandwiches, and simple fare, and went on to add imported and specialty beers and cheeses. After the building was badly damaged in a fire in 1977, Kashman restored it and reopened using half the space as a gourmet shop specializing in cheeses, and the other half as a homey restaurant, decorated with antiques and bric-a-brac for sale. Fondue, all the rage in the 1970s, has been a staple all along, and remains a favorite.
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» 10 Can’t Miss Dishes: the fondue at Last Chance Cafe
» Visit Last Chance Cheese and Antiques Cafe in Tannersville, NY
» Go to www.lastchanceonline.com
» Go to the Hudson Valley Restaurants Guide
» Go to the Hudson Valley Food & Drink Guide