One of Rosendale’s most popular downtown eateries and watering holes, the Red Brick Tavern, has been sold to new owners and is currently closed for renovations. The transfer of ownership from Billy and Michelle Loughlin to the group who run the Santa Fe restaurants in Tivoli, Woodstock and Uptown Kingston took place in late June. The space at 388 Main Street (Route 213) is expected to reopen in the early fall of 2019 under the new name of the Santa Fe Burger Bar.
“We are in there and we’re working with people to renovate,” reports Annie Demosthenes, co-owner of the three Mexican restaurants with her husband Jim Demosthenes (a/k/a Jimmy Demos) and David Weiss, founder of the original Santa Fe in Tivoli. Roxana Guerrera, a longtime employee and now a manager of Santa Fe Kingston, wanted to run her own place and is coming in as a new partner on the Rosendale acquisition, Demosthenes says. “We will purchase the building down the road. For the time being, we’re leasing it and will purchase the business.”
Built in the 1890s, the brick structure was originally a lumber and coalyard and feed store, with a dimly lit interior that suited the working-class bar atmosphere of the Tavern and its predecessors, including the long-running Ray’s. Replacing the old floor is the most significant construction task to be done, according to Demosthenes. “We’re not going to change a lot inside. They already had beautiful tables and booths. We plan to brighten the place up a little bit. We’re going for an atmosphere that’s casual, comfortable and welcoming.”
One priority for the new owners is to reestablish outdoor dining on the patio behind the building. “We’re excited about expanding the back patio and making that a usable space,” Demosthenes enthuses. “It looks like the patio hasn’t been used in a while. We’re going to put in new fencing and nice landscaping. In the Hudson Valley, where we have such long winters, I think people should be able to be able to sit outdoors whenever the sun is peeking though and it’s warm enough to be outside.”
The new owners decided not to have the former Red Brick Tavern feature Tex-Mex/Southwest cuisine because “the location is too close to our Kingston restaurant,” according to Demosthenes. “We’re very interested in the craft burger movement that’s going on right now. We’re working hard on developing the menu. We’ll have some delicious local brews on tap, and serve grass-fed craft burgers and build them out in several different ways.” Vegetarian options and salmon burgers will be among the choices, she says. The menu will also include a variety of starters and salads, “outrageous and spectacular desserts” and a current hipster trend, “boozy milkshakes” for grownups.
But the plan is to make the space and menu family-friendly as well. “We hope that everyone will enjoy dining there: Red Brick Tavern regulars and locals from Rosendale, including those who remember back when the tavern was known as Ray’s,” in addition to out-of-town visitors and people who come for outdoor recreation on the rail trail. “We’re really excited to get into the Rosendale community.”
Demosthenes added that the new owners will seek to rehire and retrain Red Brick Tavern staff in time for the reopening, if they have not already moved on to other permanent positions. Days and hours of operation have yet to be determined. Updates, including the Grand Opening date, will be announced on the “New & Events” pages of the existing websites for the three Santa Fe restaurants, such as www.santafetivoli.com, until new social media sites are created specifically for the new eatery.