Personally speaking – Justine and Phil Leger

Phil and Justine Leger in their recently opened Bridge Creek Café. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Phil and Justine Leger in their recently opened Bridge Creek Café. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Justine and Phil Leger, owners of the über-popular Bridge Creek Catering company, have just this past week opened up their first restaurant: the Bridge Creek Café, located on the upper floor of the Water Street Market in downtown New Paltz.

“Our catering business is fairly mature, and we felt the need to expand our presence and give people the opportunity to enjoy our food beyond a wedding or a specially catered event,” said Phil. They kept their eyes open for an opportunity, and when the former Harvest Café space at the Water Street Market became available, “We were ready.”


The Café is what they describe as “casual, relaxed, serving beer and wine with a serious, chef-driven menu.” One word that Phil uses to describe their cuisine is that is filled with “international comfort foods,” ranging from Latin to Mediterranean to Asian dishes, as well as a great homestyle hamburger. “There is something for everyone, and at the same time quite a few dishes that you can’t get anywhere else. The shrimp with angel hair pasta and our housemade green sriracha is my current favorite. And the blistered green beans with red curry, dried shrimp and bacon I find quite addictive.”

Not surprisingly, both Justine and Phil came from families who “love to cook and entertain,” so catering came naturally to both of them. Justine went to the Culinary Institute of America and Phil to engineering school, but after they fell in love and moved in together, they combined their various talents and started Bridge Creek Catering and now the Bridge Creek Café. Justine is the “creative force,” says Phil, and he is the “business and logistics guy. For 15 years it’s been a great combination!”

Bridge Creek Café and Bridge Creek Catering.

Phil: Owner/manager/handyman.
Justine: Chef/owner.

Where are you from originally?
Phil: East Coast: Boston, Staten Island, Atlanta, Ridgewood, NJ, Garrison, NY.
Justine: Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

What makes the New Paltz/Gardiner area unique?
Phil: The community. The letters in the New Paltz Times are a great example of how much everyone cares and is engaged in our local issues. And as you go about your daily errands, there is a social aspect — seeing folks you know — that is fun and satisfying.
Justine: The openness of the people, and its proximity to the great economic engine of New York City.

What do you like about this community?
Phil: I like the vibrancy.
Justine: I like the people, how everyone gets involved, either in a heated disagreement or to come to help others with tragedy or those less fortunate.

What is your favorite hangout?
Phil: Minnewaska State Park and the Mohonk Preserve. I enjoy the natural landscape, exercise and views!
Justine: Minnewaska and my house — not that I can remember what it is like to hang out.