Page 22 - Valley Table - Spring 2021
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In a year that shuttered many restaurants, the Kingston food- and-drink community saw an unexpected spike in creative, delicious, new business. By Samantha Garbarini
“Since we opened, a lot has changed in Kingston
— especially since the arrival of the pandemic,” explains Anthony Stromoski, co-owner of Rough Draft Bar & Books. He and his wife, Amanda, opened the independent bookstore-meets-craft-beer-bar in 2017, and have watched Kingston transform into one of the Valley’s most vibrant dining destinations. Though they’ve had to pivot to a pick- up and delivery model due to COVID, they’ve managed
to remain open. But not all Kingston businesses have been so lucky. “We’ve unfortunately lost some beloved places, including Elephant, Duo Bistro, Alebrijes, and Crown,” says Stromoski. “But, [we’ve also] gained some new favorites.”
In the past year, Kingston has seen a surprising boom
of new food-and-drink businesses. There’s Tortilla Taco Bar, which opened in the Rondout neighborhood in June, with an emphasis on house-made tortillas and deep-fried vampiros tacos. First Capital Poké Bar opened in Uptown, as did Gráinne, housed in the former Duo space, where chefs Christine Campbell and Jennifer Cruz turn out plates like chimichurri-rubbed local skirt steak, cassoulet, and house-made pastries, including whoopie pies, cinnamon buns, macarons, and more.
Another anticipated opening was Kingston Bread + Bar, co-owned by the Stromoskis. “We started as a pop- up and weekly community-supported bread pick-up over
three years ago, and then expanded to a brick-and-mortar in February 2020,” says chef/owner Aaron Quint, whose passion for artisanal baking yields crusty loaves and shatteringly crisp croissants. “We had grand ambitions
of being an all-day bar and restaurant, but had to pivot during the pandemic to keep our staff and customers safe.” Currently, the 16-tap bar only pours draft beers for growler fills and loyal patrons wait in line for hand-rolled bagels, naturally leavened sourdough, daily sandwiches, and fudgy- centered chocolate chip cookies to-go.
“What’s incredible is that now, within the city of Kingston, I can get locally sourced meats from a really thoughtful butcher. I could walk down the hill from my store to get an amber wine from Georgia poured by the glass at Brunette, or walk up the hill to Lis Bar to get an incredibly curated beverage program,” espouses Michael Drapkin. In 2013, when Drapkin opened Kingston Wine Co., it was one of
   20 the valley table
april – may 2021
photos courtesy of brunette, by nicole franzen (kinsley)

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