Cheap Eats

Countryside Kitchen

Mahopac


Published:

The “Holy Cannoli”

Photograph by Jennifer May

Opened in 2008 by Lee and Christina Vataj, this upscale diner is insanely popular. On weekends, witness the crowds in the parking lot waiting to get in. “I stand at the door and yell people’s names. We don’t do reservations,” says Christina. Some of the most coveted spots are at the counter, where a lucky nine diners get a front-row view of Lee at work on the griddle, churning out all manner of breakfast foods, with all prices hovering around $11. Enormous pancakes are a specialty — the most famous is the “Holy Cannoli,” a footlong creation rolled burrito-style with a chocolate chip cannoli interior. But there’s lots more to choose from: coconut, fruit (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry), M&M, even a birthday pancake with buttercream frosting and a candle. The Jammed Pancake Tower alternates smaller pancakes with eggs, bacon, and sausage. If you’re not a pancake person, fear not. French toast bites sprinkled with powdered sugar and raspberry syrup, homemade biscuits with sausage gravy, and a slew of omelets round out the menu. At lunchtime, try Lee’s “almost famous chili” topped with cheddar. While the atmosphere is loud — “organized chaos” is how Christina puts it — the vibe is friendly and the décor is homespun, with retro mason-jar lighting over the counter, reclaimed barn-wood tabletops, and walls covered with vintage signs and mementos from customers. In warmer weather, the elevated timber porch out back opens up for decidedly calmer bistro-style dining in the treetops while wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. Closed Mondays. 845-803-8420; www.countrysidekitchen.biz

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