By Brian Rubin
Picture this: you've just gone hiking all morning in the Minnewaska State Preserve, and you're starving! You decide, enough of all this nature stuff — it's time to stuff your face. You begin the drive down Route 44/55 toward New Paltz and their list of eateries as long as your arm.
But just as you go to make a left onto Route 299, something catches your eye — what's this? The Bistro Mountain Store? You decide to stop in and have a look around.
Upon opening the front door, suddenly your pangs of hunger increase tenfold! Why? Because it smells delicious inside, that's why. You, my friend, have stumbled upon one of the area's best-kept secrets. The Bistro Mountain Store has fresh, fantastic food that is to die for, and will fill any hungry hiker's empty belly up to the top.
In order to better serve their climbing and hiking clientele, the Bistro Mountain Store is open every day at 6:30 a.m., just in time to serve up a piping hot egg sandwich prepared on their grill to folks who want to tackle the trails.
"On the weekends we have a line before 7 a.m. out the door, and we really try to be as fast and efficient as we can to get them in and out, because we know that a lot of people are in a rush and want to get out into the mountains, and they don't have a lot of time," says the store's owner, Joan Fall.
And if the breakfast sandwiches aren't enough to satisfy a nature-lover's hunger, the Bistro Mountain Store also offers Clif Bars and Shots to provide a little pick-me-up while exploring all the ridge has to offer.
Joan Fall bought the Bistro Mountain Store from her old boss, Doug Thompson, about three and a half years ago, after she had managed the Main Street Bistro, a mainstay in the heart of downtown New Paltz, for 18 years. She gave a year's notice, and told Thompson that she wanted to buy a restaurant. Knowing a good thing when he saw it, Thompson sold the Bistro Mountain Store to her.
Since that time, Fall has kept the tradition of the Mountain Store's delicious dishes alive and well, and makes sure to keep locals just as happy as hiking visitors who make their way to her store, which rests at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge's east face.
"The locals are great — I love all the locals who come in here. I'm fortunate — they get me through the winter, because the winters are slow over there," says Fall, citing the drop-off in hiking traffic that the cold months bring. To help make the restaurant more family-oriented, more tables and seating have been installed since Fall took over, providing a cozy and friendly atmosphere for people to enjoy while they dine.
So what's on this menu of deliciousness? The very reasonably priced menu items include your standard deli fare, including hot and cold sandwiches, but it's the unlikely combinations of the fresh and organic ingredients that set them apart from your average, ordinary deli…that, and the names, of course.
From the Don't Haskel Me, to the Abe Froman, to the Shaft 2A, and the Axel Rose, the Bistro Mountain Store's menu mixes pop culture references and in-jokes that are sure to please, especially considering how good they all taste.
Take, for instance, the aforementioned Axel Rose, named both for Guns N' Roses front-man Axl Rose and for the middle names of Fall's niece and nephew, this cold sandwich is definitely recommended. Featuring sliced buffalo chicken breast, red onion, tomato, and chipotle-blue cheese, all squeezed between two slices of pumpernickel bread, the dish is tangy, tasty, and filling. None of the ingredients overwhelm the other, complimenting each other in a perfect harmony of deliciousness.
Or perhaps you might want to sample the Adam's Apple, a favored item off of their hot sandwich menu. You should: it's got chicken, bacon, red onions, brie, apples, and pesto mayo, also on pumpernickel (but this time it's grilled). It's a good thing they slice this sandwich in half — you may need to save some for later, since it does an ample job of providing two meals to hungry patrons.
Best of all, the store also has some groceries, so if you plan on camping out and need a quick ingredient for your campfire meal, or maybe you just want some snack, this place has got you covered. They're open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, when they stay open an hour later.
So give'em a call at (845) 255-2999, or swing on by the Bistro Mountain Store at 3124 Route 44/55, Gardiner, right at the Route 299 intersection. You'll be glad you did.
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