Schatzi’s Pub & Bier Garden, Poughkeepsie
One of the Hudson Valley’s best new restaurants in 2014
A glass of one of Schatzi’s many beers
Photographs by Eve Fox
When you first step into Schatzi’s, your eyes are immediately drawn to a two-chambered glass and metal contraption that dominates one end of the long, hammered-copper bar. It’s called a Randall, a mad-scientist-y device that has become a “necessary accessory” on the rapidly growing craft beer scene. One chamber chills the beer while the other infuses it with whatever ingredients you choose — fresh hops, spices, fruit, and more. “We like to start with something kind of neutral,” says Jeremy Phillips, the owner and “beer brains” behind Schatzi’s, “and then play around with it until we find a killer combination — like our chocolate stout with spicy chipotle chili and vanilla bean coffee.” The bar’s 15 tap lines offer patrons an ever-changing roster of craft and German beers in addition to whatever brew/infusion combo happens to be “on the Randall” that day.
But the beer is only part of Schatzi’s appeal. The food is delicious, surprising, and unquestionably hearty. Favorites include the Schatzi burger, which arrives skewered by a large steak knife. In addition to the dramatic touch it adds, the knife is completely practical: You’d have to unhinge your jaw to take a bite without it. At the base of this tower of tastiness is a crisp, house-made green onion potato pancake. Then comes the burger, a decadent blend of short rib and chuck meat topped by grilled pork belly and a slice of aged New York cheddar. The whole is drizzled liberally with the signature Schatzi sauce — an eye-catching and addictively tasty braised purple cabbage aïoli — and served on a toasted pretzel bun.
Jawohl! From left: Schatzi’s enormous burger uses a steak knife as a toothpick; Korean food truck tacos are filled with barbecued pork belly, kimchi, pickled red onions, and avocado; braised short rib sliders
Although the menu primarily features fresh twists on traditional German fare, there are a few departures like the Korean food truck tacos that have become a house favorite. The combination of barbecued pork belly; kimchi from Perry’s Pickles in Kingston; crisp, pickled red onions; fresh avocado; cilantro; and chipotle mayo is an explosion of flavors that leaves you eager for the next bite.
Phillips says that he wanted to create a menu unlike any other in the area, hence the idea of pairing great food with great beer. The result is a gastropub that happily straddles the line between a bar and a restaurant. “We’ve got this tiny kitchen, but [head chef] Zach Wade puts out such good food that we can cater to both the beer heads and the foodies,” he says.
Although Schatzi’s has only been open since August 2013, it has the easy camaraderie of a well-established neighborhood favorite. The long bar and small dining room have a cozy feel, and the exposed brick walls are hung with chalkboards that list the day’s offerings. But step out the door in the back and you find yourself in a surprisingly expansive patio/garden that offers plenty of dappled sun, greenery, and a pleasant break from the city.
The Crowd: Decidedly post-college, ranging in age from 25 to 60-something. You’ll find locals who live within walking distance, beer aficionados, and visitors from NYC and New Jersey.
Don’t Miss: To drink: whatever’s on the Randall. To eat: Try the frickles — beer-battered garlic dill pickle chips served with horseradish sauce.
The Basics: Dinner daily; bar is open until 2 a.m. Plates range from $6-$15
If you go...
Schatzi’s Pub & Bier Garden
202 Main St., Poughkeepsie