The manicured fields between Historic Huguenot Street and the Wallkill River just became a little greener. Garvan and Leonie McCloskey, owners of Garvan’s Irish Gastropub, located at Locust Lawn next to the New Paltz Golf Course, just signed a long-term lease to run a new American-styled bar and restaurant where the Upstairs on 9 bistro used to be.
This is not going to be an extension of Garvan’s, but a “complement to Garvan’s,” said McCloskey. “It will still have that warm Irish welcome and the same level of service that Garvan’s is known for, but in quality it will be an American bar and restaurant with a more casual feel to it.”
The couple have had the two-story building – perched right above the ninth hole on the nine-hole public golf course – gutted, and are in the process of intense renovation to give it the kind of interior design aesthetic they want. To that end, they’ve already put “quite an investment of love equity” into renovating the building, which is old, but not quite as historic as the Colonial home, built in 1749, in which their Irish restaurant is housed next door. “Leonie has already chosen the colors and much of the décor, so you know it will be inviting and comfortable.”
The restaurant will be open to the public as well as golfers, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and will be named Maggie Mae’s after Leonie’s mother (Mae) and grandmother (Maggie). Leonie also operates and bakes for Garvan’s Irish Sweet Shop, which is open during the non-winter months for fresh scones, soda bread and other Irish treats.
Although the menu at Maggie Mae’s will differ from the traditional Irish fare at Garvan’s, McCloskey was quick to point out that head chef Josh Page will serve as the “executive chef for both restaurants. He makes all of his food from scratch and will do an excellent job with this restaurant. We’ll have steak and prime rib, and we’ll also be able to do things like clambakes and Taco Tuesdays and have rock ‘n’ roll and TVs – things we don’t really have or do at Garvan’s.” McCloskey also noted that they’ll be bringing in Pete Holmes, the former head bartender of the popular Red Brick Tavern in Rosendale, to operate the bar end of things.
“We’ll also have parties and do catering once we get going. We’re excited to welcome the golfers back and welcome the public in. We’re going to be offering great food and drink and service, but what we’re also offering is one of the best views in all of New Paltz! You get to look across the fairway to those stunning views of the Shawangunk mountains.”
Because of his enchanting brogue, McCloskey could be describing the back of a town dump and it would sound almost as enticing. But in this case, he’s not far off. Maggie Mae’s will have one of the more scenic and panoramic view of the Wallkill River, the valley and the foothills that lead to the Gunks.
On the family side of things, they’re bringing their son Conor, 26, who already works at Garvan’s, into Maggie Mae’s on the managerial side, which “will be great fun,” said McCloskey. “He’s real excited about it.”
To add to the facelift of the pro shop and the unveiling of Maggie Mae’s, McCloskey also noted that this will be “the 50th anniversary of the Huguenot Street Public Golf Course, which makes this even more festive.”
There has been a fairly recent changeover with Caren Fury, who used to run and operate Upstairs on 9, deciding to retire from the café business and her husband, Larry Fury, the longtime owner of the golf course, having sold it to a new proprietor, Tom O’Brien. “We’re looking forward to working closely with Tom O’Brien,” said McCloskey, who also wanted to be clear that this would be a public restaurant and not a members-only private clubhouse. “We welcome all of the golfers, but this will be open to the entire public. We think having the breakfast will be a nice offering for those that want to start the day with a beautiful view and a homemade Irish scone.”
Their plan is to open the restaurant in early April: just in time for the golfers to tee off, the lunchgoers to have some teatime and the evening diners to soak in the sweet spring air, some ribs and some freshly shaken drinks.