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Warm up on a cold winter’s night with some delicious food in a cozy atmosphere at these fireside dining destinations.
Good morning! Today is Tuesday, February 8, and you are reading today’s section of Examiner+, a digital newsmagazine serving Westchester, Putnam, and the surrounding Hudson Valley.
To me, there are really only two ways to dine out: al fresco and fireside. In the fall and the spring, we often do both at the same time but now, in January, it is all about the fire. In our house, the fireplace is roaring all day long, which is one of many work-from-home perks. However, I’m still feeding it, it has a job to do, so it isn’t quite the aesthetic focal point I’d like it to be. The truth is I don’t even need to be seated in front of the fire; just being in a restaurant that has a fireplace changes the vibe on a cold winter night. The Hudson Valley is replete with choices that will keep you toasty warm and feeling like indulging in a hot toddy or hearty bowl of chili. I also think the quintessential winter night out is casual, layered in cozy sweaters and wraps, warm boots, and even a furry hat. Dressing up, another passion of mine, is on the back burner when it’s time to leave the house at night. It is all about conjuring up that vision of the vintage ski lodge and warming hut on a frosty, star-lit night.
Located in the renovated barn on Tilly Foster Farm, Tilly’s Table is a rustic and warm restaurant, bar, and event space, with a massive fieldstone fireplace at one end. It sets the tone for the nourishing and plentiful farm-to-table menu and impeccable service. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Saturday night from 5 pm -10 pm, and on Sunday for brunch from 11 am – 2:30 pm and dinner from 5 – 9 pm. There is a robust Happy Hour and a full calendar of events throughout the year. The location includes an opportunity to visit the farm, and on certain nights dine outdoors under the stars in a cozy winter igloo on the deck.
100 NY Route 312
Serving fine Mexican cuisine, Las Mananitas is one of those restaurants where dining al fresco stretches far into the fall and intersects with the winter fireside dining season. Located on the East Branch Reservoir on lushly landscaped property, there are tiers of stone terraces to dine on in warm weather, and at least one is available to dine on in the winter. Solidly inside the dining room is a large stone fireplace and a blue-painted cathedral ceiling with hanging lighted stars that looks like the night sky. The festive space is family-owned and operated and the owners are always on-premise which is evident from the service and consistent quality of the broad array of fresh menu selections. Whether you are enjoying a margarita the size of my head at the convivial bar, or beginning your meal with their signature, prepared table-side guacamole, a night out this winter at Las Mananitas is a seasonal must.
1250 Route 22
Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish
At Purdys Farmer & the Fish, the stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the restaurant, located in a renovated farmhouse on part of the Purdy Land Trust in North Salem. The hearth’s location ensures that every diner can enjoy a fireside meal. Long known for their farm-to-table cuisine, exclusively sourced fresh fish, and local and regional dairy products, a visit during the winter is cozy indeed. The menu focuses on the fresh and healthy, and the serving staff is exceptionally knowledgeable about the menu selections and their provenance. The vibe is warm and friendly, with a sit-and-stay-a-while atmosphere at both the bar and in the dining room. During the warmer months, guests who dine al fresco can enjoy the gardens and the Farm Shop is open for pick-up year-round. Order online from a wide variety of produce, fresh foods, bakery items, provisions, and more.
100 Titicus Rd
Char Steakhouse and Bar
Char Steakhouse and Bar is a classic, yet contemporary steakhouse, with a busy bar and a large dining area. While the fireplace is not the focal point, it is certainly a perk to get to sit in front of it during a cold winter night. The restaurant’s business may be brisk, but the staff encourages lingering, and this is especially appreciated when at one of the coveted fireside tables. Char is known for meticulously sourced seafood and chops, including Certified Black Angus Beef, locally sourced produce, and a variety of specials including Prix Fixe Family Meal, Sunday Brunch, Tuesday Dining Special, Wednesday Night Prime Rib Special, and a popular Happy Hour from Tuesday to Friday and all day on Sunday.
151 Bryant Pond Rd
La Camelia Restaurant
It is hard to go wrong in the Hudson Valley when you dine in a converted farmhouse. There is nearly always a fireplace. La Camelia, perched above Mount Kisco doesn’t disappoint. It has all the vintage, cozy feels, and the requisite fireside dining. On a cold winter night, it is just the spot to enjoy classic Spanish or Portuguese cuisine, on authentic dishes, surrounded by all the comforts of a European country home. The tapas bar is a casual option for (a wide variety of) light bites and a more formal dining room. The owners are accessible, the staff is friendly, and the vibe is definitely sit-and-stay-a-while. The food is fresh and much of the produce is grown on the property. Do not miss the sangria no matter what season it is!
234 North Bedford Rd
It is always about the farmhouse. Another converted home in the picturesque town of North Salem, Restaurant 121 “feels” warm before you even approach the fireplace. The restaurant is cozy, yet contemporary, as is the menu, with a nod to an American/Italian blend of choices featuring local and regional beef and fish, and a nice selection of homemade craft pizzas. There is a window facing the open kitchen and wood-fired oven which brings diners closer to the cooking process and furthers the intimacy of the space. The bar is large and convivial with a creative cocktail menu and wine list. Restaurant 121 is the spot to drop into on a cold winter night and linger while watching the snow fall outside the front windows just beyond the wraparound veranda.
2 Dingle Rd
Born and raised in Westchester, Nancy Sorbella’s lifestyle stories have been featured in several local and regional publications where she has also been a style and community columnist. She is the resident wordsmith for the Arthritis Foundation of NY and the Community Engagement Director by day, spending her free time exploring and experiencing the Hudson Valley. Follow Nancy for more of her adventures on Instagram @DetoursColumnist, Twitter @jsorbella, or on Facebook at Nancy Niskin Sorbella.
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