- Courtesy of The Athens Rooster
- The Athens Rooster interior.
The Athens Rooster
44 2nd Street, Athens
The activation of Athens' adorable little waterfront downtown continues with the opening of chef Melissa Chmelar's The Athens Rooster, a breakfast and lunch spot dishing up hot coffee and from-scratch goodness. Chmelar, whose Murray Hill restaurant Spoon Table & Bar was among Manhattan's many COVID casualties, is an expert in elevated comfort food—and in creating the type of neighborhood joint that regulars flock to. Breakfast kicks off with wholesome options like the Power Bowl, with steel-cut oatmeal, coconut flakes, flax and chia seeds, dried cranberries, and almonds ($6.50); indulgent picks like the breakfast panini with thick-cut bacon, scrambled eggs, housemade pimento cheese, and cheddar on a sesame roll ($5); or the hipster-friendly vegan avocado toast with turmeric-tahini-massaged kale, pickled red onion, and sesame seeds ($9). Lunch is all pizzas and paninis. For a pie, try the verdant Greene County with pesto, spinach, ricotta, and parmesan ($12) or the Mediterranean-inspired Athens with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, tahini, za'atar, flax seeds, fresh mint, and basil ($12). On the sammy side of things, try a classic pulled pork Cubano ($9) or satisfy your inner child with the gourmet grilled cheese, a crispy, melty mess of cheddar, fontina, tomato, caramelized onions, and rosemary Dijonnaise ($7).
Cacao Lab295 Wall Street, Kingston
Kingston's recent transformation can be illustrated in a single image: In the former Dunkin' Donuts location on Wall Street, you can now find Cacao Lab, a ceremonial cacao boutique. This is not your mama's chocolate shop. Here you can order a hot, frothy cup of cacao ($6.50), which you can customize with the addition of immune-supportive and brain-boosting foods like maca, rose, or cardamom, and mushrooms like reishi and lion's mane. Unlike most hot cocoa, this cacao is made from the whole bean, rather than powder, giving it 50 percent fat for a creamy, rich texture. Included with your order comes a vegan bonbon, available in alluring flavors like lavender ganache, lemon basil, and dulce de leche. (You can also buy these treats separately for $44 to $50 a pound.) While your cacao is being prepared, browse the selection of candles, clothing, pottery, and packaged cacao. With no additives, emulsifiers, dairy, or sweeteners, Cacao Lab's organic, heirloom-variety cacao, sourced directly from farmers in Ecuador, comes in grown-up flavors. Post-COVID, the Uptown Kingston location will be a space for community cacao ceremonies.
Black Dot3669 Main Street, Stone Ridge
Since Carthaigh Coffee closed, Stone Ridge hasn't had a proper coffee spot. Sure there's Bodacious Bagels, where you can get New York deli-style drip, with cream and sugar added for you. But for the espresso-fiending, latte-loving, purist types, there was nothing. Then, on Boxing Day, Black Dot opened its doors in the former Carthaigh location, serving up single-origin coffee in a white-washed minimalist space. On the food front, Black Dot currently offers an egg-and-cheese on a croissant (avocado and bacon extra, $8-$12); a smoked salmon tartine, with pickled shallots, radish, cucumber, and goat cheese ($12) on sourdough baguette; and a slow-roasted tomato confit tartine, with goat cheese and arugula ($9). Serving Bread Alone pastries, they also make fresh coconut chocolate banana bread daily in-house ($3 a slice). While you wait for your milk to steam, browse the shelves of ceramics by local artisans. They also have sleek electric kettles from Fellow, loose leaf teas and herbal blends from Aesthete Tea, and coffee beans from their Beacon-based supplier, Big Mouth Coffee Roasters.
One More Bite389 Main Street, Beacon
Pack all your favorite flavors into a single meal at One More Bite, the new Asian fusion restaurant heating up Beacon's Main Street. The menu leans heavily on Korean flavors and dishes, with classics like beef or spicy pork bulgogi (both $15); japchae, a glass noodle stir fry with shiitake, carrots, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, and spinach ($13.75); and ssambap, lettuce wraps served with rice, crispy pork belly, and pickled radish ($13). If you're feeling like a sandwich, try the Banh Mi French Dip, which adds pork bulgogi to the classic chicken liver pate, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, lemongrass aioli, and pho au jus on a baguette ($11.25). For something totally different, try the fried chicken sandwich, with Korean fried chicken, Nashville hot sauce, napa cabbage slaw, and seasoned cukes ($10.50). Wash it all down with Yuzu lemonade, a Sapporo, or a glass from their short, but well-curated wine list.
Bear Cantina295 Tinker Street, Woodstock
February marked the first phase of reopening for the new and improved Bearsville Theater complex, with the debut of the Tex-Mex-themed Bear Cantina. The new food concept is revitalizing the erstwhile Bear Cafe, which has been closed since 2019. The menu spans low-brow to high, from jalapeños rellenos (aka poppers, $9) to The Bear, a filet mignon drizzled with homemade tequila lime butter and served with fried onions ($32). In the middle of the road, the Taco Sabroso comes with three corn tortillas, caramelized onions, salsa verde, cilantro, queso fresco, and the meat of your choice ($16-$20). Or opt for a Mexican spin on an American classic with the eight-ounce Hamburguesa Loca, with cheddar cheese, jalapeños, fried onion, avocado aioli, lettuce, tomato, and a side of either hand-cut fries or rice and beans ($18). Music hasn't yet returned to the hallowed halls of the Bearsville Theater, but we're already dreaming of the day we can pregame a show with buffalo calamari and a pitcher of margaritas.