Let’s be clear, Hudson isn’t really an escape from New York City. Warren Street, the main drag, is filled with vintage furniture stores and places where you can spend $105 on a spoon rest or $65 on a healing crystal. In other words, it feels like an extension of Brooklyn. Whether that bums you out or makes you want to request Monday off immediately, know that the restaurants in Hudson keep getting better and better. Plus, this upstate town lies just a short (beautiful) train ride away, and therefore makes for an ideal weekend trip. Here are our favorite places to eat in the area - all of which are better decisions than a $105 spoon rest.
Lil' Debs Oasis
After shutting down for much of the pandemic, our all-time favorite Hudson restaurant is back open again. From the outside, this pink little spot with a neon sign in the window looks like a dive bar. But step inside and you’ll feel like you’ve arrived at a tropical artist retreat - with food better than anything you would ever find at an artist retreat. Like sweet plantains with cilantro cream sauce, a fermented lentil dosa, whole fried fish topped with herbs and ginger vinaigrette, and pork tamales. Everything we’ve tried at Lil’ Deb’s is wildly delicious. They’re also serious about wine here, and by serious, we mean they have a huge list of interesting options described with words like “hiding from the chaperone, gucci loafer, nilla wafer, stained glass, Sunday gossip.” We wish we lived in Hudson just so we could be regulars here.
We recently took a last-minute train to Hudson for a weekend trip and ate three of our five meals at Kitty’s, a daytime cafe located right across from the train station. In addition to running a market, Kitty’s sells some very good rotisserie chicken plates, pastries, and one of the better breakfast sandwiches we’ve consumed in recent memory. Between the blanket of mild muenster cheese, smoky bacon, and a bun that’s been blasted with sesame seeds, this unit should have its own Hudson tourism ad on Amtrak. There’s a free option to add housemade, chunky sauerkraut, which only makes the BEC flavors pop even more. Prioritize Kitty’s while you’re in Hudson (especially before noon when they stop selling the breakfast sandwich).
Feast & Floret
Feast & Floret took over the space of longstanding Hudson spot Fish & Game - which sadly shut down in the fall of 2020. It wouldn’t be wrong to consider this place a curated playground for adults who like Nice Things. They sell everything from flowers and honey from their very own farm, to glasses of 20-year-old port, and eight different kinds of amari. You can even put together your own bouquet from a cart with various Hudson Valley flowers that are priced per stem. Stop by Wednesday through Sunday from 12-9pm for Italian-leaning dishes like chicory salad, tagliatelle bolognese, and flatbread topped with smoked trout.
Think of Rivertown Lodge as the real-life amalgamation of every well-styled photo of upstate New York on the internet. There’s blonde wood everywhere, mid-century furniture, and walls plastered in old books - and they both use and sell the kind of ceramic mugs you need for your apartment. Starting at 10am on weekends, they serve one of our favorite Hudson breakfasts, with dishes like chicken hash, eggs, and salsa verde, and a maple ricotta Dutch baby. If you’re looking for dinner options outside, they have a great patio space you can stop by for dinner (served Fridays through Tuesdays). Remember this place whether you’re staying in the hotel or not.
If you’re looking for a backyard where you can eat a simple, extra thin-crust pizza and drink an interesting $25 bottle of wine, head straight to Half Moon on Front Street. They also serve pizza by the slice in case you show up at 8pm on a Sunday and need some sustenance fast. You won’t be unhappy with the classic cheese pizza, but we’d also recommend exploring the white pies and a special pizza with meatballs and ricotta.
Hudson Brewing Company
In case you’re going upstate with someone whose ears perk up when they hear about mosaic hops and New England IPAs, take that person to Hudson’s best (and only) brewery. Most of Hudson Brewing Company’s beers are named after historic tidbits about the area, like an homage to a legendary female Hudson River river robber pirate named Sadie the Goat. Our favorite approach here is to order a flight, which costs around $15. If you have your dog with you, know that they are more than welcome at the brewery. Tell Sadie’s ghost we say hello.
Located in the back of one of the 3,000 antiques stores on the main street in Hudson is Backbar, a cocktail bar that also serves small plates like ham biscuit bao buns and dan dan noodles. It’s a funky spot with big garage doors that open up onto a string-light-covered backyard great for outdoor dining. We’d recommend trying Backbar for a pre-dinner or late-night drinks-and-snacks scenario - the atmosphere is great for tipsy chicken wing eating.
Halfway through a meal at Barlett House, we felt the need to ask our server if there happened to be a hotel hiding on the premises. We did not want to leave. Technically this place is in Ghent, about a 15-minute drive outside of Hudson, but you should make the drive for it. In an old brick building with a striped-awning-covered front porch, Bartlett House is the kind of exceedingly pleasant place you picture when you start daydreaming about a weekend escape when it’s only Monday morning. They serve a big menu of French-ish farm-fresh classics, and we haven’t had a disappointing thing here. Hot tip: if you don’t have a car to drive to Bartlett House, the new Maker Hotel on Warren Street sells bread and pastries from Bartlett House in their cafe during the day.
Cafe Le Perche
Le Perche has been in Hudson for years, but it was recently revamped by the people behind one of Hudson’s most established restaurants, Swoon Kitchenbar. The wood-covered interior and long bar would be nice places for a low-key dinner or drinks, and you should keep the greenery-covered patio in mind for all your brunch needs. If that’s when you’re here, get a chocolate croissant (they make their own, and they’re excellent).
Hudson Food Studio
If you’re looking for a great dinner in Hudson, but don’t necessarily feel like shelling out more than the cost of a night at your AirBnb, consider Hudson Food Studio - a casual spot serving excellent Southeast Asian food like pork larb wraps, spicy shrimp noodles, and cups of ramen broth (just the broth). The atmosphere is relaxed but not boring, and the noodles and soup are exactly what you want to eat on a cold night after a long day outside.
Oak Pizzeria Napoletana
This is Hudson’s go-to place for Neapolitan pizza, although the menu goes way beyond pizza. They have a huge selection of small plates ranging from cheese and charcuterie to vegetables to seafood, all of which you can order on their own, or as tasting flights in groups of three or five. The wine list has tons of interesting options by the glass and bottle. This would be an ideal place for a group lunch or dinner. Just know that Oak is only accepting walk-ins right now.
Talbott & Arding
If you’re heading out into nature for the day (like to Greenport Conversation Trails or Olana State Historic Site), you’ll find everything you need (and definitely don’t need) for a picnic at Talbott & Arding, a fancy market in the middle of town. Everything about this place is well thought-out, and after loading up on sandwiches, salads, sides, and sweets, you’ll probably have to resist the urge to grab some of their merch too. Do not skip the chocolate chip walnut cookie. Also, on weekends they sell focaccia and it’s incredible. Make sure to go early, they sell out quickly.
Wm. Farmer & Sons
This American spot might be connected to a hotel, but it’s much more appealing than your average hotel restaurant. The dining room is attractive, the service is great, and the bar burger never fails.
An old-school diner setup with definitely not old-school prices, Grazin’ is a good, casual option for lunch in Hudson. They’re known for their super local, non-GMO, all-those-good-things burgers, and the rest of the farm-to-table food is solid overall as well.
Swoon has been around a lot longer than most of the Hudson restaurants people tend to talk about, but it’s still very good. Come for wine and cheese at the bar, or a dinner full of reliably satisfying things like pan-seared scallops and salmon, as well as rhubarb galette.