They’re Fixin’ Up Some #FoodPorn at Fiddlestix Cafe | Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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They’re Fixin’ Up Some #FoodPorn at Fiddlestix Cafe

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IMAGE COURTESY OF FIDDLESTIX
  • Image courtesy of Fiddlestix

John Van Houten—known to all as “Johnnie Bats”—had been a cook and a kitchen mainstay at Cornwall’s Fiddlestix Cafe for a decade before it closed in the autumn of 2020. A local favorite, Fiddlestix had served up breakfast and lunch since 2004. Rather than let the cafe fade into memory, Johnnie Bats and his wife Samantha Van Houten took a leap of faith and bought Fiddlestix in March, reopening it this past May. Now, with Johnnie back behind the grill, customers are once again lining up for trademark dishes like breakfast nachos and loaded paninis.


“It’s like I never left,” Johnnie Bats says. “I worked here for a long time, and buying the business seemed like the rational thing to do. I know the menu like the back of my hand.” Taking inventory and doing payroll were new territory for Johnnie and Samantha, but they knew how busy the place gets, and their familiarity with Fiddlestix’s operations made the transition easier. He’s hired back some staff favorites including head waiter Ian, whose trademark smile welcomes new and longtime customers alike.

IMAGE COURTESY OF FIDDLESTIX
  • Image courtesy of Fiddlestix

A large chalkboard describes the day’s special, and the names of the dishes are as creative as the food itself. The Lost in NY Benny is a twist on eggs benedict, but with pastrami, sauerkraut, tomatoes, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, and Dijon hollandaise ($14). The Ol’ Yule Log is another eggs benedict variation with sausage, asparagus, spinach, goat cheese, the aforementioned onions, and parmesan cream instead of Hollandaise ($14).

PHOTO BY LUCIA CIVILE
  • Photo by Lucia Civile

The most popular breakfast dish is Fiddlestix’s chicken and waffles, served with maple Dijon ($11.50), while lunchtime customers make a run for the BBQ Pit: a pulled chicken panini with bacon and cheddar ($11.75).

A quick glance at Fiddlestix’s Instagram page not only stirs the appetite, but is a testament to the cafe’s popularity. “My Dad had The Ol’ Yule Log this morning. I asked if he was sure he didn’t want to lick the plate when he was done,” writes one customer. Fiddlestix’s merchandise options—t-shirts, hoodies, and eponymous tumblers—carry an emblem that sums up the offerings here: #foodporn.

IMAGE COURTESY OF FIDDLESTIX
  • Image courtesy of Fiddlestix

One of the benefits of Johnnie Bats’s long tenure at Fiddlestix is that faithful customers can still rely on familiar sandwiches, burgers, and salads. But the owners keep the menu fresh with a rotating series of yummy new recipes. “In the beginning, we stuck to the menu because we knew the fan favorites,” Johnnie Bats says. “Now, the sky’s the limit, and we push the envelope. Every week we try to outdo ourselves.”

PHOTO BY LUCIA CIVILE
  • Photo by Lucia Civile

In the future, Johnnie Bats and Van Houten say they might consider applying for a beer and wine license. For now, they’re happy reinventing breakfast and lunch for their long lines of hungry customers. “Every day is an open canvas for us, and we couldn’t be happier,” Johnnie Bats says.


Fiddlestix is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 7am-3pm; and weekends 8am-3pm.


Fiddlestix Cafe

319 Main Street, Cornwall

(845) 534-3866

fiddlestixcafecornwall@gmail.com

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