There is something luxurious about brunch. From the societally condoned day-drinking to the rich dishes (think eggs benedict), and even just the time of day, late morning on a weekend, conveys a yummy, laid-back indulgence. But where to get a good brunch in Ulster County? If you’re coming from the city, chances are you have been spoiled rotten by gourmet farm-to-table brunch specials. But here in the Hudson Valley we are truly at the source, and Cafe Mio’s in Gardiner offers a dank farm-to-table brunch on par with the best spots in Brooklyn.
“In season, I’m sourcing produce from three to five miles away,” says Michael Bernardo, chef-owner of Cafe Mio. “The beef is from Gardiner, the eggs are from couple miles down the road, all the dairy is local. We are literally surrounded by farms. I couldn’t be in a better place to do what I’m doing.” When he opened the breakfast and lunch cafe in 2010, Bernardo’s vision was to create an inviting dining spot that could showcase his own creativity and the bounty of the local farms.
“I wanted a casual, everyday kind of place but with more creativity than most places,” Bernardo says. He specializes in classics with a twist, items he thinks will be “recognizable but fresh and a little bit different.” The specials, which change daily are where Bernardo shines. “I am definitely locally sourced but I’m all over the place with inspiration. I have a tuna poke bowl, Korean barbeque, huevos rancheros. The specials appeal to people who are maybe a little more adventurous.”
The rotating specials are part of what keeps Cafe Mio’s core group of regulars coming back time and again. “You can eat something different every time you’re here,” Bernardo says. “I have people who are in here three or four times a week. And some of them are driving 45 minutes to get here from Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, or Middletown.”
Bernardo is constantly juggling his core priorities of quality and local sourcing to provide the best dish for his customers. “The bread is from an artisanal bakery in New Jersey. If found something closer that was as good would get it, but no one can touch it,” he says.
The banana bacon French toast is made with thick slices of this artisanal bread, topped by caramelized banana, Applegate bacon, dulce de leche, and whipped cream. If sweet isn’t your thing, try the popular corned beef hash, topped by two eggs any style. And make sure you get an order (or two!) of parmesan truffle fries for the table.
Cafe Mio’s hallmark is delicious hearty food that leaves you satisfied and happy. The cozy spot lacks the pretension of upscale city restaurants without compromising on the quality.
I bet we can bet where you’re eating brunch this weekend.
Open 8:30am – 4:30pm Wednesday–Sunday, Closed Monday & Tuesday
This content is made possible by our sponsor Cafe Mio. It does not necessarily reflect the attitude, views, or opinions of Chronogram editorial staff.