For restaurateurs Mark Proper and Michelle Silver, the recent opening of ‘Cue is the fulfillment of a dream. Eight years ago, the couple opened Miss Lucy’s Kitchen, also on Partition Street, and Silver says that ever since then, she has been contemplating the next step, running ideas through her head, and making plans.
“It’s been in my head for so long, and now it’s real,” said Silver.
‘Cue isn’t quite finished yet. The walls are still bare for the most part, wearing only a coat of fresh yellow paint.
“We’re really still figuring it all out,” said Silver. “There are definitely some spaces that need to be filled visually.”
Little pieces are still falling into place. ‘Cue just got its own phone number, and take-out menus were just printed.
“We’re really taking our time,” said Silver. “We’re in this to have fun, not to have a heart attack.”
The next step, she says, is decorating. She has been busy the last few weeks planting flowers on the grounds, many in old toolboxes that she has collected over the years, adding antique charm. This is in line with the simple decorations inside. Tables within the restaurant feature sauces and condiments standing in cardboard six-pack holders from various types of domestic and exotic beers.
“I’ve really been channeling the appeal of the ‘shacks’ on the Cape,” said Silver. “They’re simple, fast, fun, relaxed, and family-friendly. And, the price point is right.”
‘Cue is a self-serve establishment. No wait staff exists to cater to customers. Orders are placed at the counter and customers seat themselves, either inside at one of the antique austrian tables, or outside in the tiered picnic area. So far, Silver says, an amazing amount of pulled pork sandwiches have been served at $5 each.
Proper and Silver have developed a basic menu, and add daily specials to keep things interesting. Like Miss Lucy’s, offerings will change seasonally with the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. Vegetarians aren’t being left out of the fun, either. Silver says the “Faux ‘Cue” sandwich allows them to enjoy the restaurant as well.
“ Everything we make is from scratch,” said Silver. “Some places just doctor up cans of baked beans. We don’t do that. Everything is homemade. It really makes a difference.”
Many of the side dishes and desserts are similar to what customers might find at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen. It’s all packaged a little differently, though. ‘Cue does a lot of take-out business, and the foods are packaged accordingly. Desserts, rather than being served on plates as they would at Miss Lucy’s, are layered in small mason jars.
There is no natural gas in the kitchen. All of the food is smoked by chef Justin Sedlak in one of the three hickory wood smokers on site. With Miss Lucy’s only a few doors away, some foods are cooked there and carried to ‘Cue.
It’s not unusual to see Proper walking back and forth between the two establishments, pulling a wagon full of cooked macaroni or cornbread batter.
‘ Cue doen’t yet have its own large mixer, or ice maker. And with no gas for cooking, macaroni for macaroni salad is cooked at Miss Lucy’s and brought over ready to use. Silver says that ‘Cue is about 95 percent self-sufficient, though.
Silver says the couple originally considered opening ‘Cue on Route 212, between Saugerties and Woodstock, where they would likely attract tourists traveling between the two towns. All in all, though, she is happy with the location.
“When this [place] became available, we knew we couldn’t pass it up,” she said.
Not only did the former tattoo parlor serve as the perfect home for ‘Cue, but Silver says keeping the restaurant has also served the village. What is now a tiered picnic area, she says, used to be a dirty parking lot, where people could often be seen working on project cars.
“It’s just so much nicer now,” she said.
In the middle of the picnic area sits a large bench swing, perfect for children or adults to relax on while sipping a homemade frozen lemonade.
“It’s all very fun and safe,” said Silver. “We wanted to have something for kids and families, and the swing is perfect. The kids really love it.”
As a mother of two children, Silver said she understands what families are looking for when choosing dining options. Sometimes, she says, you just don’t want to sit in a restaurant. You want the kids to be able to run around and play. You want them to be able to make noise without worrying about disturbing other diners. ‘Cue provides an atmosphere that allows exactly that.
Though ‘Cue has been open less than a month, Silver says she gets a really good feeling from the community. “It’s almost like having a baby,” she said.
She knew she wanted ‘Cue to be open in time for Memorial Day weekend- the same weekend that Miss Lucy’s Kitchen opened its doors eight years ago.
“We didn’t have menus or a phone,” said Silver. “We hadn’t been able to work all the kinks out, but we did it. I was really psyched to get it open. It’s really satisfying.”
Next, Proper and Silver plan to apply for a liquor license, which would allow them to serve beer, wine, and maybe Sangria. Silver says that ‘Cue likely won’t offer a full bar. Live music outside the establishment and a dessert cart located on the grounds may also be in the works.
‘Cue is open Tuesdays through Sundays, from noon to 9 p.m. On busy nights, though, Proper and Silver say they don’t mind keeping the doors open and the smokers smoking a little longer.