Rosendale’s Red Brick Tavern has reopened as Santa Fe Burger Bar, under the day-to-day operational leadership of Roxana Guerra, a longtime manager at the Santa Fe Kingston branch. New owners, Annie and Jimmy Demosthenes and David Weiss, have put their own brand on the place. It’s not the same Mexican food as the Santa Fe chain, the menu features craft burgers, craft beers and fancy milkshakes.
Renovation of the brick-fronted building – originally a lumber/coalyard and feed store, built in the 1890s – is now complete. The façade’s signature red brick has been painted a pale grey, and that motif carries over into the interior walls, tables and seating.
Most of the old wooden booths and steel chairs remain, albeit in a lighter shade. The beat-up floors have been resurfaced, but the big rectangular bar remains, now fronted with sections of the wrought-iron scrollwork panels that used to flank the front entrance. Behind it, four red-bordered blackboards have been installed to display the beer list and daily specials; beneath them are 16 new taps in a gleaming row.
Perhaps the most enticing change has occurred in the building’s long-neglected back yard, which faces a parking lot, the base of Joppenbergh Mountain, the filled-in remains of the D&H Canal and a spur to the Wallkill Valley Rail-Trail that should lure in hikers and cyclists. “When we started, we already had a plan for outdoor space, but when Covid happened, we realized how instrumental outdoor seating would be, so we made a much larger outdoor dining area,” Annie explains. An eight-foot-high fence has been torn down and replaced with a much wider perimeter of low grey barn-boards. The new patio is more than twice the size of its predecessor, with a fresh gravel surface. In the center is a long wooden planter surrounded by counters; its upper level helps secure four big overhead sails that provide shade for outdoor dining.
And what of the food? True to the venue’s new name, burgers are the primary focus, featuring wagyu beef sourced out of Texas, served on potato buns baked in Vermont. Other menu items include a crispy cod sandwich, crispy chicken sandwich and salads.
Then there’s the beer menu. “Our craft draft beers are all going to be New York State-based,” says Annie. “We’re using Craft Beer Guild out of New Paltz for product such as Keegan Ales from Kingston, Sloop Brewing Company from East Fishkill, Mill House Brewery from Poughkeepsie, West Kill Brewing from West Kill, and so on. We’re also excited to offer a large selection of canned beers (bottled, too, but we’re particularly excited about the cans), which range from local to international.” Ciders and kombucha are also on tap, and there is a fully stocked bar.
In the rear, across from the kitchen, is a new structure that serves as the dessert bar. Milkshakes made with ice cream from the Gillette Creamery are a specialty, with flavor combinations ranging from plain vanilla to fanciful constructions topped with cake, brownies, cookies or candy
The Santa Fe Burger Bar is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. For updates, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/santa-fe-burger-bar-109873757152877.