Going out on top

Although the upscale Partition Street restaurant Cafe Tamayo enjoyed its most profitable summer season ever, owners Rikki and Jimmy Tamayo have decided to close permanently on October 30, after 24 years in business. The Tamayo’s adjacent retail tenant, DIG, will expand into what’s currently the gourmet eatery’s front dining room, and the Tamayos will be selling most of their restaurant equipment and furniture inculding their renowned rose gold silverware and antiques. The property itself, which the Tamayos own, is not for sale.

Eventually, Jimmy Tamayo, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, will offer cooking classes to be held in the kitchen and back areas of what was formerly the restaurant. And for now, the four-room Inn at Cafe Tamayo will remain open for business. However, the Tamayos, who also own a home in Sarasota, Florida, plan to eventually move back to the village and live upstairs once again, once they’ve sold the 1730s farmhouse on ten-plus acres they own on Old King’s Highway.

“Jimmy is 60, I’m 55, and after having shut down the restaurant for the winter last year for the first time, we realized that we’re ready to do something else,” said Rikki. She added that while her husband enjoys excellent overall health, he has some foot problems, and the long hours standing by the stove have become extremely wearing.

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“We don’t want to have employees running the restaurant,” said Rikki. Besides, “who made that rule, that just because we had our best season we can’t make this choice,” she said.

The Tamayos bought their building, a former speakeasy, when most of Partition Street was boarded up.

“We literally kicked the pigeons out,” laughs Rikki.

Renovating real estate has proven a successful enterprise for the hard-working couple, who have twice purchased dilapidated historic Saugerties structures.

Although they had more lucrative offers, the Tamayos chose to lease space to DIG when it expanded in 2006 because boutique owners Van and Daisy Bolle valued the Tamayo building’s architectural features as much as their landlords do. The Bolles agreed to keep key details intact while renovating the space to fit the brighter-light and other requirements an apparel retail venue demands. The two couples are also very friendly personally.

“Book your dinner reservations now,” said Van. “Rikki and Jimmy are just ready to (partially) retire. Cafe Tamayo was Saugerties’ first fine-dining restaurant and it still draws people from all over to the village,” the boutique owner said.

DIG plans to use the additional 600 square feet it will rent from the Tamayos to better display sale items. They’ll also create a better “photo studio” for their Internet-based clothing and accessories business, www.digtheshop.com, which is currently run out of a small and cramped converted closet. Neither the Tamayos nor the Bolles would discuss financial terms of the expanded lease agreement, which Rikki said is still being finalized. Van said he expects DIG to open in the new space at the beginning of December.

“We love this building and we plan on being here for as long as they’ll have us,” said Van.

There are 3 comments

  1. KURT BOYER

    Thank you Rikki & James for being at the center of the revitalization of the Village of Saugerties, and providing us with our favorite food for
    the last twenty years. I believe your restoration and the draw of the restaurant really spurred the growth of Partition Street in the late 80’s. Your success gave others confidence to take a chance on their dreams. All the best, Kurt & Cynnie Boyer

  2. JENNIFER FARLEY

    I am SO sorry I mispelled Rickie Tamayo’s name. I was working at a friend’s house in New Paltz and I just messed up. Mea culpa for promulgating this endless confusion about how her first name is spelled.

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