Downtown Highland has a new eatery destined to fuel many a Hudson Valley Rail Trail hike, bike ride or trans-Hudson stroll, housed in the former home of the Walkway Café. It’s called the Pomod’oro Pizza Café, and its mission is to blend the traditional flavors of Italy with fresh local ingredients and what co-owner Benedetto D’Alto calls an “eclectic” approach in the kitchen.
“I fell in love with the location,” says Benedetto — call him Benny — whose family operated restaurants in their native Teggiano, in the Italian province of Salerno. Teggiano is a spectacular spot: a medieval fortress town with a Norman castle and an eleventh-century church, perched atop a crag with a panoramic view of a broad agricultural valley and a mountain range on the horizon, with ruins at the hill’s base dating back before Roman times, to the Etruscans. So Benny and his brother Egidio know all about the important connection between tourism and a restaurant’s success. “It’s right by the Walkway,” Benny says happily of the Café’s site at 6 Haviland Road, at the intersection of North Roberts Road, a short block off Route 9W.
Considering that most people drawn to the Walkway Over the Hudson’s western access point will pass right by the Pomod’oro Pizza Café en route to the increasingly popular tourist attraction, it seems like a can’t-fail location for an eatery. But convenience to the Walkway is hardly its only strong suit. Egidio D’Alto studied at a culinary school in Maratea, Italy, and the brothers and their business partners Giuseppe Breglia and Kevin Meisner are committed to offering great food and a friendly atmosphere.
“Our priority is always to make the customers happy,” says Benny. “I always talk to the customers — about Italy, about food. I want to make sure that they’re happy with everything. And I have good people working for me.” He adds that he will gladly put together a dish that’s not on the menu if a customer requests “something different.”
It seems to be a winning formula; business is brisk, according to Benny, even though the Café has only been open since mid-January and prime Walkway season is still months away. “The whole town has been talking about it,” he says. “Our customers come from near and far.”
The casual restaurant space, which adjoins the Frozen Caboose ice cream shop, has been renovated and freshly painted. “It’s really cute,” says Benny. “We changed pretty much the whole thing.”
But mostly it’s all about the food. The D’Altos emphasize fresh ingredients, making their own mozzarella and bread on-site. You can get pizza by the slice or a sumptuous dinner. There’s a long list of appetizers, pizzas with 29 choices of toppings to choose from, meat and veggie sides, calzones and baked rolls, wraps, hot and cold subs, pressed panini, soups, salads, pastas, full dinners and desserts – all at reasonable prices. The most expensive item on the menu, a seafood platter, costs $20.75, and most sandwiches run in the seven-to-eight-dollar range. The Grandma Pizza is a particularly popular item, according to Benny.
The Pomod’oro Pizza Café is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Local delivery is also available for orders of $10 or more. You can see the full menu and prices (including catering options) online at https://pomodoropizzacafe.com, along with discount coupons. Or call (845) 834-3838 or visit www.facebook.com/pages/pomodoro-pizza-cafe for more information.