The Tavern at Diamond Mills Restaurant, Saugerties
One of the Hudson Valley’s best new restaurants in 2013: The Tavern at Diamond Mills in Saugerties
With its 24-foot ceilings and numerous windows, the dining room at Diamond Mills feels airy and elegant
Photographs by Jennifer May
Family Luxury: When you pull into Diamond Mills parking lot and behold the somewhat formidable building, your first impression is unlikely to be “tavern.” Or “boutique hotel,” for that matter: Much of the sprawling brick edifice, which is modeled after a paper mill that once stood on the site, is given over to luxury rooms intended to shelter the horsey set that descends on the town every summer for the Horse Shows in the Sun.
In-demand dishes include Prince Edward Island mussels paired with Chinese sausage (above), and king salmon poached in sake flavored with lemongrass
But any Dickensian atmosphere is dispelled once you get in the door. There’s an invitingly pubby taproom. The bright, 150-seat dining room beyond has enormous windows overlooking the falls in the Esopus Creek (spotlit at night), a 24-foot ceiling, and a big stone fireplace. It’s snazzy, modern, and dramatic. Last summer, the horsey set “poured in” as anticipated, reports chef Giuseppe Napoli. The big question, though, was would a workingman’s town like Saugerties be able to support such an ambitious endeavor after the horsey set rode off again? The answer appears to be yes.
“We worried about being thought of as an occasion place, but it’s very family friendly,” Napoli says. Locals might hang out in the bar and nosh on flatbreads, or grab a burger in one of the dining room’s booths. The spaciousness and easygoing grandeur of the room lends itself to family dos, especially on holidays, when the chef offers a grand buffet. Local businesses have held events there, and the patio was a big draw in the warm months. “This year will be phenomenal,” Napoli predicts.
The Menu: A wide choice of dressed-up New American fare ranging from shareable flatbreads, charcuterie, and cheese boards to pastas, steaks, and seafood, along with a couple of vegetarian and vegan dishes. There are salads and sandwiches at lunch time.
Crowd-pleasers: “The petite osso buco flies out the door, and people go crazy for the braised short ribs with purple sweet potatoes,” Napoli reports. Also high on the list: the lobster corn chowder, the skillet burger and the tavern salad. Pastry chef Andrew Comey’s maple pecan crème brûlée is a winning dessert.
The Tab: Starters and flatbread $6-$15; mains $17-$38.