In spite of its proximity to one of the world’s largest urban centers, the landscapes of Sullivan Catskills are ripe for farming. And it’s got the restaurants to prove it.
Following the explosion of the farm-to-table movement, chefs across the country (Brooklyn, anyone?) are opting “local.” Though the reasons are numerous—i.e., it tastes better, is more nutrient rich, and protects the environment—at its heart, it supports the local economy. This economy not only includes the restaurants themselves, but also the farming communities that supply them—or even a neighboring book shop who picks up foot traffic from the restaurant. It’s a beautiful cycle.
It’s the notion of supporting the local economy that excites some of these restaurants the most. The owners, chefs and staff support both the old and new generations of farmers, fellow business owners, and of course, provide community spaces where ideas are shared over a delicious meal. It’s with that same sentiment that Escape Brooklyn (whose new home base is Sullivan County) paired up with Sullivan Catskills to highlight some remarkable farm-to-table restaurants in the region. We hope you enjoy!
The Heron: Narrowsburg, NY
Inspired by the vast resources of the region, Paul Nanni and Marla Puccetti traded their lives in NYC for Narrowsburg to open The Heron. Since their pioneer-esque arrival in 2011, Narrowsburg has transformed from sleepy river town to a bustling, artist-friendly haven. The menu, created by CIA-trained Paul Nanni, sources from as many Delaware River Valley farms as possible, in both New York and Pennsylvania. The menu is very southern-inspired, with comfort food favorites like buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken. Weather permitting, grab a seat on the outdoor terrace overlooking the big eddy, the deepest part of the river—otherwise, soak in the atmosphere of the beautiful and intimate dining room. After dinner, grab a drink downstairs at the Emerald Ball Room, their bar with regular live music events.
- Culinary Highlights: Mushroom pâté (appetizer), buttermilk biscuits (side), fried chicken (entrée)
- While You’re in Town: Grab a book at One Grand Books; grab something to decorate your home with at Nest.
The Kaatskeller: Livingston Manor, NY
The newest addition to Sullivan County’s restaurant offerings is one of the best. Located in Livingston Manor, The Kaatskeller serves up wood-fired pizza in the most Instagram-able space, ever. In the summer, feast outdoors at a picnic table, while fall and winter meals can be enjoyed inside the intimate dining room or at the bar. The pies are cooked in outdoor wood-fired oven—using Sullivan County kiln dried ash—and turn out Catskill-inspired pies. The descriptions of each menu item include the farm where the chef sourced their ingredients, the most common being Neversink Farm (18 miles away) or Agrarian Feast, which just up the road. After dinner, grab one last cocktail, and head to the firepit to socialize.
- Highlight: Paid Vacation (cocktail), the White Album (pie), salty caramel gelato (dessert)
- While You’re in Town: Peruse the selection of local produce and artisan goods at Main Street Farm; grab a beer at Catskill Brewery; pick up some outdoor gear or hiking maps at Morgan Outdoors.
North Branch Inn: North Branch, NY
An incredible restaurant nestled within a hotel seems unlikely, but the North Branch Inn is such an enigma. Here, Executive Chef Erik Hill cooks up a menu that takes “local” to another level. Ingredients are sourced mostly from farms within 5 miles of the restaurant—even the sugar is local, which is boiled down from maple syrup. Since produce offerings vary so much through the seasons, the menu is fluid, and changes often. Meals are prepared in an open kitchen on a single stove just steps from a hand-set bowling alley, which guests are welcome to indulge in. And as if a bowling alley and a constantly evolving menu wasn’t enough reason to visit, events like trivia night, Ramen Tuesdays, and Sunday Supper Clubs pull in additional crowds.
- Culinary Highlights: Fish and pasta entrées, custard (dessert)
- While You’re in Town: Stay in a room above the restaurant at North Branch Inn; take a tour at Apple Pond Farm.
Henning’s Local: Cochecton, NY
Pulling up to Henning’s Local offers quite the juxtaposition: one of the regions best farm-to-table restaurant sits above Heinle’s General Store, which is also a functional gas station. As bewildering as it is, there’s a definite charm to it… plus, the food is fantastic. Norwegian chef Henning Nordanger has a serious love for fish—going so far as dividing his menu between “fish” and “not fish”—and offers up inventive Scandinavian dishes like trout sashimi and gravlaks. You won’t find anything else like it in the Catskills. For the price, portions are generous, and leftovers are sent home in foil creations like swans and turtles. (Let’s not overlook the free warm dinner rolls, either.) From start to finish, the entire experience is refreshingly unpretentious, when it could’ve easily gone the other way.
- Culinary Highlights: dinner rolls, absolutely any appetizer or entrée with fish
- While You’re in Town: Visit the site of Woodstock at Bethel Woods Arts Center; stock up on local goods and produce at Callicoon Farmers’ Market; fill up on gas downstairs.
Northern Farmhouse Pasta: Roscoe, NY
This family-owned pasta joint is also New York’s first pasta shop to use 100% NY grown wheat. At Northern Farmhouse Pasta, Chef Bob Eckert is especially passionate about ravioli, whose fillings are based on what’s in season… Think wild ramp in spring, roasted sweet corn in summer, pumpkin in fall, and roasted garlic spinach in winter. You’ll see Bob’s pasta all over the Catskills, and at many of the restaurants listed above–but best try it straight from the source. Bring your own bottle of wine to this BYOB joint in Roscoe, NY.
- Culinary Highlights: garlic bread (appetizer), seasonal raviolis (entrée)
- While You’re in Town: Visit the adorable Buck Brook Alpacas; grab a beer at Roscoe Brewery; go for a hike at Russel Brook Falls.
This post was created in collaboration with Sullivan Catskills. However, all views and recommendations are our own.