Renovation & Innovation: Silvia | Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

Food & Drink » Restaurants

Renovation & Innovation: Silvia

A Historic Woodstock Establishment is Reborn


  • Teresa Horgan


Diners will find fresh ingredients and from-scratch dishes at Silvia, which opened recently in one of Tinker Street's most infamous buildings. "The building was built at the turn of the century, and amazingly not too much is known about its use at that time," says Silvia co-owner Betty Choi. 

"Local folks who come in like to remember its former uses—an ice cream shop which goes back to the '50s, and a hardware store at some point." Prior to Silvia, its most recent incarnation was Not Fade Away, a tie-dye and music-themed tourist trap, but of all its past lives, the building is best known as the former Joyous Lake. The mere mention of the Joyous Lake still brings a sparkle to the eye of many Woodstock boomers. The Lake was known for its raucous nightlife in the '70s, with living-legend performer-patrons (the Rolling Stones, the Band, Charles Mingus) and the spirit of rock 'n' roll. But, while the memories live on, long gone is the Lake, the ice cream parlor, the tie-dye head shop. The building had been on the market for a year before Betty Choi and her sister, co-owner and chef Doris Choi, decided to buy it.

Because the building hadn't been updated in decades, renovations were extensive; everything but the floors had to go. Over time, the building's new design came to life. "We were inspired by a trip to Iceland, so we painted the building black, which is offset by the rich wood of the porch and its canopy," Choi explains. "We wanted the building to look a little striking, and even stark, with the contrast enhancing the experience of warmth and light upon entering its foyer and dining room."

Silvia's menu can be described as hyperlocal new American food with global inspirations, and an emphasis on Korean and other Asian influences. "Some of our most popular items are our Korean bibimbap, sustainable seafood bouillabaisse, and our ash-roasted squash which we cook in the hot ash from our wood-burning oven," says chef Doris.

"Betty goes to great lengths to research and visit each farm we work with to ensure we are getting the highest-quality product. We buy whole grass-fed steers and pigs, and make our own sausage and bacon. You will never see a can in our kitchen—everything is made from scratch, even the ketchup and mustard."While many parts remain the same, Woodstock has developed a new identity since the '70s, and Silvia encompasses the essence what the town has become: homegrown, diverse, innovative, and authentic—with a respect to the spirit that has not yet faded away.

Read about the other new and newly renovated restaurants we profiled in January 2018: The Amsterdam and Heritage Food & Drink.

Smoked swordfish escabeche, fennel, blood orange, green Thai chili, chives
  • Smoked swordfish escabeche, fennel, blood orange, green Thai chili, chives

Add a comment

Latest in Food & Drink

  • Kingston Standard Sets The Bar for Community Breweries
  • Kingston Standard Sets The Bar for Community Breweries

    The Kingston Standard Brewing Co. aims to bring local folks together in a community-oriented space to drink and enjoy each others' company. The company strays from the popular IPA driven mission of most breweries, and instead provides light, drinkable beer and fresh, succulent oysters to foster a satisfying night out. While they primarily produce traditional Ales and Lagers, they also craft mixed fermentation style beers, including lambics and Flemish reds. However, this recently opened brewery is ever-expanding its drink list, so repeat customers will see more options arise in the future and can enjoy local wine and cider options available in the meantime.
    • May 24, 2019
  • Fresh As It Gets: Berkshire Co-op Celebrates its Fourth Expansion
  • Fresh As It Gets: Berkshire Co-op Celebrates its Fourth Expansion

    The Berkshire Food Cooperative, which began in 1981 as a buying club of Great Barrington families, now does $8 million in annual sales with over 3,500 member-owners and about 60 employees. The co-op is preparing to move into a new custom-built location, with twice as much space for more organic produce, meat, dairy, seafood, fresh flowers, and bulk foods along with a comfier, bigger cafe.
    • May 17, 2019
  • Lola's Cafe in New Paltz Offers Locally Sourced Catering
  • Lola's Cafe in New Paltz Offers Locally Sourced Catering

    Chef Ed Kowalski founded Lola’s in Poughkeepsie in 2005, as a casual, health-supportive alternative to fast food restaurants. In 2017, he opened a second location in New Paltz that serves up Lola's signature sandwiches, salads, bowls, and homemade soups, plus offers full service catering.
    • May 15, 2019