When Kitty’s Cafe and Market opened in September 2020, it brought a much-needed jolt to the Hudson waterfront. Across from the Amtrak station, the place, originally run by chef Lauren Schaefer and Anna Morris, offered hot coffee, breakfast items, killer fried chicken and a deli that included foods from base and local products at prices close to the wholesale price. For its tasty dishes and reliable provisions, Kitty’s quickly became a favorite of locals and weekenders hopping on and off the train.
From the start, Kitty’s team planned to open a more formal restaurant in the larger space next to the cafe/market. But COVID has brought seemingly endless pushbacks, including hiring issues, construction delays, leadership changes, and general uncertainty over the industry landscape. It took longer than expected, but in June 2022, Kitty’s restaurant finally opened.
The restaurant’s menu, open Wednesday through Sunday, is a globe-trotting greatest hits list that changes with the season, rather than adhering to a single cuisine. “Our number one driver, artificial as it sounds, is local ingredients and seasonality,” says restaurant manager Brendon Clark. “We really play on seasonality, especially with the vegetable options.”
Snacks and small plates are almost entirely vegetarian, save for the chicken in a blanket ($12) and the standout lamb tartare, a bright, lemony take on a classic ($20). “A lot of people forget that our small plates are vegetable plates,” Clark says. “Nothing is grouped together like a veggie option, there are no apps, sides or entrees. You can see it as a la carte sense – “that’s how I feel, c is what the table feels like.”
Eat fried oyster mushrooms ($11) served with tartar sauce for starters or, for something lighter, a relish platter with fresh, pickled, marinated vegetables and French onion dip ($20). If you’re going for the homemade chips and dip, splurge and get the smoked trout roe for an extra $12. July’s small plates include butter beans, baby radishes, grilled carrots, Hakurei turnips and broccoli ($14 to $16) with tasty flourishes like candied lemon, labneh and anchovy mayo. “We’re flipping the script a bit,” Clark says. “The meat shines with its simplicity while the vegetable dishes offer layered complexity.”
There are three options for the sector. Half Chkmeruli Fried Chicken, a classic Georgia dish served with a garlic cream sauce, builds on the already excellent reputation of Kitty’s Fried Chicken ($35). The rainbow trout, served with fennel, celery and lemon, uses sustainable seafood from nearby Hudson Valley fisheries ($29), while the pork schnitzel is adorably simple , served with cucumber and Hudson Valley Ranch ($30).
The restaurant serves up chic, old-fashioned vibes with a white-tiled backsplash behind the bar; retro formica tables with rounded corners; and wicker-backed red leatherette chairs. The U-shaped five-tap bar serves four Hudson Valley beers and a Left Bank cider, made across the river in Catskill.
There’s also a low-touch wine list with around 10 selections you can order by the glass ($12-$18) or bottle ($42-$160), curated by Sage Redmond and Sienna Lesley, who run Kitty’s sister natural wine shop, Grapefruit. “There’s no Sauvignon Blanc on the menu, no oaky Chardonnay,” Clark says. “These will be quite unique varietals that most people have never heard of, but nevertheless people have been drinking for hundreds of years. We want to be a platform for people to comfortably explore and guide them in a direction that would satisfy them while bringing a bit of adventure to their drinking.
The craft cocktail program, a collaboration between Clark and Kitty’s beverage director, Shannon Rice, offers options ranging from two types of martinis to an Old Fashioned rye as well as rum and pisco drinks ($12 to $16). “We wanted to have an equal balance between wine and cocktails,” says Clark. The bar is stocked with New York State spirits, in small batches, and “maybe a few little esoteric Italian amaro producers,” Clark says.
Leave room for dessert. Pastry chef Kat Gormaley whips up an average orange ice cream pavlova that’s as good as ice cream ($10). There is also a chocolate pudding made with oat milk. (She’s also the brains — and hands — behind the cafe’s breakfast treats like homemade pies and cinnamon rolls.) And even if you skimp on dessert, your check comes with homemade mints.
Whether you’re popping in for a glass of wine and a bite to eat after work or a languorous dinner for two, Kitty’s Restaurant serves up the same high-quality food and relaxing vibes that have made coffee a staple. Don’t be put off by the construction happening next door, it’s the Caboose, an ongoing private event space that will exist under the Kitty umbrella. Kitty’s dining room and bar are open Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Our number one goal is to be a welcoming presence for anyone who gets off that train,” Clark explains, “and to be a reserve for people who live in the area.”