You can feel the love. Local since before local was cool, Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties blends modern dining with a cozy Grandma’s-kitchen vibe. At this place, the love of tradition meets the love of good, local at-their-peak ingredients.
Michelle Silver and Marc Propper’s ten-year-old restaurant makes Grandma’s place feel hip. Not just any old flea market finds adorn the walls, but items that please the senses and evoke memories: copper pots, cast-iron pans, vintage aprons galore and a fat, soft cutting board toted back from France, worn deep with years of cabbage-cutting. Fresh flowers from the home garden, shelves full of cookbooks, distressed furniture and mismatched chairs make things comfy.
Veterans of a Lower West Side “bistrolike” eatery called Grove, the couple was drawn to Saugerties. “This is a great town,” Silver says, citing the small shops, HITS (Horseshows in the Sun) and the proximity of the river and mountains. “It’s all here.”
Between the post-9/11 scariness and very young children to educate, they felt that the time was right to flee Manhattan and put down some Ulster County roots. They found an empty shell of a roofless storefront on Partition Street – it had been a florist shop that had burned in a fire – and they built their phoenix, with deep-hued thick wooden floors and period wainscoting and a tin ceiling to look like Miss Lucy’s had been there since Grandma was a little girl.
Ten years ago, “local” didn’t quite have the cachet that it has now; and a menu that changed constantly to take advantage of peak ingredients was a foreign concept for many, who would come in wanting “the usual,” or a repeat of a dish that they’d enjoyed at Miss Lucy’s at a previous visit. “Originally people didn’t get it,” Silver says, “but they came around. People are more sophisticated now; they watch the Food Network, and there are more younger people and transplants from the City.” They count among their clientele people from “the other side of the river,” and many from Brooklyn who like the “Brooklyn-of-upstate” feel of Saugerties.
And the locals have indeed come around: elderly women dropping off their old aprons to add to the continually changing roster of the garments in the windows and on the walls, one dating from a Home Ec class at Saugerties High School years ago. “It’s our signature look,” says Silver.