10 Can't Miss Dishes
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“When I find something I like, I stick to it,” declares Loren Kashman, citing his 40-year marriage, and 39 years running this quirky shop-café in Tannersville. Here, he has steadily served fondue through several cycles of fondue fashionability.
Brooklyn bred, Kashman moved with his wife, Anita, to Tannersville in 1971 “to try an alternative lifestyle,” as he puts it. That meant opening an antiques store that also carried what he merrily describes as “the biggest collection of bongs in the region... I was a long-haired hippie. Now I’m a pillar of the community!”
It soon became clear that he’d go broke selling antiques in a ski town. “The head paraphernalia wasn’t a big business, either,” he recalls. “But I sold a lot of munchie food. My dad had a store in the city selling smoked fish, caviar — Jewish specialties. So I knew food. I started selling soups and sandwiches.”
Kashman soon added imported beers and cheeses to the mix, and began serving the famous fondue. After a fire in 1977, he restored the gutted building and reopened half of it as a full-service restaurant.
Today, there are still antiques for sale, as well as about 100 cheeses, including local ones from Painted Goat, Old Chatham, and Byebrook Farm. You’ll also find dried fruits and nuts, local honey and syrup, Swiss chocolates, old-fashioned candy, and baseball caps with the Last Chance logo.
The beer list has grown to 300 brews, and the menu includes rib-stickers like chicken pot pies, meatloaf, and — a house invention — the knishwich; a knish topped with corned beef, pastrami or turkey, and melted cheese.
But fondue’s the favorite: “It’s an old-fashioned, romantic dish,” Kashman says. “You can have a bottle of wine, sit by the fireplace...” A pot of molten Emmental and Gruyère spiked with white wine, Kirsch, and garlic comes with fresh-baked bread to dip, sliced apple, or spicy sausage, if you like.
An expansion with décor reflecting Tannersville’s glory days will offer live music and finger foods for a target audience that, as Kashman puts it, “are in bed by 11:30, 12 o’clock.” Otherwise, Last Chance is much as it always was. And you can expect to find antiques, cheese, and fondue well into the future. As Kashman says: “My dad had his business for 50 years. I’m looking to beat his record.”