21 Church Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
Monday – Thursday, from 4 PM | Friday – Sunday, open at noon
You will find Huckleberry tucked away in a corner off of Church Street, across from Hokkaido. The pub is exactly that, and nothing more, and I say that in a most complimentary way. The place has the look and feel of a European village pub, but one that caters to the locals and not the tourists, where families out for a bite are as common, and as welcome, as the locals stopping in for a pint and some conversation on the way home from work. Night owls will like the pub’s hours, which will keep the doors open until 2 AM on weekdays and 4 AM on weekends. I suspect that the New Paltz fraternity of restaurant workers might make Huckleberry a new night shift watering hole.
If you find nothing more beautiful than a blackboard full of craft beer offerings, you will love the back-bar at Huckleberry. The tap system brings eleven (11) microbrewery beers up to the bar, each tap topped by an antique doorknob, a style I am told was copied from the owners’ other pub in Park Slope. (And yes, the owners moved from Brooklyn, and yes, the Gunks are featured in the story. You can read that whole story here.)
The first-floor dining space is limited, but a second-floor dining room will accommodate the overflow. The pub is surrounded by a very nice looking enclosed outdoor patio, which will undoubtedly be the preferred seating when the weather is more accommodating. The warmer weather will also bring full dining room service, according to co-owner Billy Simkiss, who checked in on us during our dinner last Wednesday. At the moment, customers order at the bar, and the waitstaff runs the food to your table when it is prepared. (If that bothers you, eat at the bar, which was our choice when we visited. Then you will also get to chat with your new favorite bartender, Josiah.)
The menu is limited, but offers a nice selection of pub fare, all made on premise by Chef Kyle Chandler, formerly of Tuthill House in Gardiner. The offerings were all reasonably priced, and judging by what we sampled, all very well made. The choices include burgers and sliders, salads, and a very nice selection of small plates. You can view the entire menu here.
Three burgers were listed on the menu – a Wagyu beef patty with home-made pickles, lettuce and tomato, a house made Berkshire pork chorizo topped with cheddar, cilantro and pickled jalapeno, or a vegetarian white bean quinoa patty with pico de gallo and avocado. Each were $12, or $4 for a smaller slider. After some quick arithmetic calculation, and concluding that there was no premium for the three slider “sampler” combo, we opted for “all of the above”. Good choice, especially the home made chorizo. Don’t miss that one.
A winter salad tossed the requisite heap of kale with chunks of roasted butternut squash, and sweet cubes of apples, with a yogurt dressing spiked with za’atar, the Middle Eastern spice mixture made with toasted sesame, ground sumac and thyme. Wonderful stuff, and not something you see on the average pub menu.
We also sampled the Stout mac ‘n cheese, made with fusilli pasta blended with a hearty cheddar and smoked bacon. The chicken wings are also worth a taste, tossed with a sweet and spicy honey sriracha sauce.
My absolute favorite dish was a simple sounding “white bean dip” ($8) that had me asking for the recipe – made with cannellini beans, roasted garlic, spinach, basil, and bacon, served with fantastic toasted tortilla chips that most certainly did not come out of a bag. Killer dish.
Huckleberry has only been open for a few weeks but we predict great things for this new venue and the Wednesday Night Dining Crew will most definitely be back soon.