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any good food recs for Monticello, Liberty NY

ellen4441 Aug 19, 2007 08:20 PM

The Sullivan County Catskills looked so neglected last time I went there a few years ago.
Anything new and exciting up there?
Or anything old that is still holding up nicely?

Is that Mr. Willies Restaurant in Monticello still around? Any good?
Hows the buffet (prime rib?) at the Monticello Raceway?

I'll be renting a car and driving all around, South Fallsburg, Woodbourne, the good 'ol former Borscht Belt.

thanks from ellen

  1. m
    Miss Rennie May 22, 2009 10:22 PM

    For research purposes (a book I'm working on): what was the name of the fantastic kosher deli in Monticello, back in the Woodstock days? We would often stop there on the way to and from college in Ithaca, and get fabulous roast beef sandwiches, but the name escapes me. Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Miss Rennie
      a
      addictedtolunch May 23, 2009 01:13 AM

      You mean Kaplan's, on Broadway? If you go on the Brown.edu Catskill's website there is a picture of the place. Most of my fellow Hebe-sters usually preferred Char-Lou's for Roast Pork on Garlic Bread sandwiches across the street, since we came from the city where decent deli could be had on any corner once upon a time. (Besides, pork seemed so "wrong", and what happens in Monticello stays in Monticello, right?)

    2. g
      gleng1 Apr 29, 2009 05:09 PM

      Sigh... I moved here three years ago from NYC and I LOVE living here. (We traded a tiny fifth-floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn for a four room house with 11 acres down a dirt road), but there is, alas, not a single restaurant here worth going out of your way for.

      I keep asking what the "regional specialty" is here (Buffalo has its famous wings, Kansas City has several notable barbecues, NYC has bagels..). Sadly it appeasr that the "regional specialty" is the deep-fried mozzarella stick; bought frozen by every local restaurant from Sysco or some other monster food service provider and tossed in to the fryer. Goes great with a really bad beer.

      There are a few local restaurants that are OK or better:

      Benji & Jake's pizza in White Lake for new-age-y thin-crust pizza plus music upstairs with a nice view of the lake.

      Len and Joes Pizza in Port Jervis. Can't swear that it will be your favorite pizza of all time, but interesting Sicilian style in a nice family-friendly bar/restaurant at a good price. Pleasantly slow service. (Beer? We have Coors, Coors Lite, Bud, Bud Lite, Miller, Miller Lite...)

      Arlene and Tom's in Port Jervis (right off of Ext 1 on Route 84). Try the Meanie Burger -- a gigantic and lovely hamburger worth checking out.

      Homer's Coffee Shop in Port Jervis -- the atmosphere may trump the food, but both are fine and worth visiting.

      Main Street Cafe and also 15 Main in Narrowsburg, NY -- probably the best two places around and worth dining at. 15 Main is fancier. Like a fine (but not earth-shaking) Manhattan restaurant at half the price.

      Le Gorille (closed right now; due to re-open in the fall) in Shohola, PA

      You'll get a good meal at any of these places, but not a one to be found anywhere around here that I would say, "This is worth driving 25 miles out of your way to get to," or "I found a little diner with the BEST pie..." (Don't even THINK about ordering Chinese or barbecue around here unless you're suicidal.)

      If I'm wrong and there's a hidden gem nearby, I would be honored to be proven wrong.

      All this means is that every time I head back to NYC for business or fun, my FIRST thought is, "OK, what should I EAT while I'm in town?"

      Glen

      8 Replies
      1. re: gleng1
        h
        HowieC Apr 30, 2009 05:39 AM

        I have been eating at The Old Homestead in Bridgeville for probably around 40 years. The food has always been very good - certainly the best in the area.

        The Front Porch in White Lake is also very good. Owners and staff are very nice.

        The Fat Lady in White Lake is also highly thought of, but for some reason I am not as big a fan as most. The owner often has a foul attitude - sometimes she doesn't "feel" like taking reservations.

        1. re: HowieC
          c
          corky Apr 30, 2009 07:38 AM

          i heard that the fat lady cafe closed

          1. re: corky
            b
            barbara0621 Apr 30, 2009 10:01 AM

            She closed for the winter but is re-opening around Memorial Day.

            1. re: barbara0621
              c
              corky Apr 30, 2009 10:19 AM

              thank goodness...its fun appetizer hopping among the 3 (or is it 4?) establishments there...sitting out on the decks

        2. re: gleng1
          a
          ajs42548 Apr 30, 2009 02:35 PM

          Is Homer's still in business? The last time I was there, which was several months ago, it looked closed.

          Aroma Thyme Cafe in Ellenville is supposed to be excellent, though I've never been there yet.

          1. re: ajs42548
            g
            gleng1 May 10, 2009 02:25 PM

            Homer's has re-opened. I haven't heard the story yet about why it was closed for so long, but...

          2. re: gleng1
            g
            gleng1 Jan 23, 2011 08:24 AM

            UPDATE -- There now IS worthwhile BBQ in the region (but it's outdoors, so not available in the winter).

            Big Kev's BBQ
            1032 Route 17
            Mongaup Valley, NY

            You can see the details on Chowhound here:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/722966

            1. re: gleng1
              ellen4441 Jan 25, 2011 02:04 PM

              Hi gleng1,
              nice heads up on BIG KEV'S BBQ !!!
              Glad to hear you have a "real" bbq up there now..

              p.s. just noticed your nice bunch of restaurant "quickie reviews" you posted on April 2009..
              I may be a year & a half late responding, but I really enjoyed looking at your list !

              lol @ mozzarella sticks bought at the local Costco !

              and you may want to add "pastrami" to your list of NYC regional speciaties, as I love my
              Carnegie Deli !

              pps Congrats on your lifestyle trade off....... your 5th floor Brooklyn walk-up, to your current home on 11 acres in the Catskills !!

          3. a
            addictedtolunch Aug 22, 2007 02:04 AM

            I remember getting decent pizza at a place called Crossways. Have no idea if it's still there.

            4 Replies
            1. re: addictedtolunch
              ericalloyd Aug 22, 2007 03:30 AM

              crossways is, unfortunately, long gone.

              1. re: ericalloyd
                f
                FrankMess Jul 9, 2008 05:18 PM

                I know this post is a year old, just wanted to add my dad owned the Crossways and yesit is closed and recently demolished. He closed the restaurant after a fire consumed it. I spent most of my teen summers working in that restaurant doing everything to doorman,, dishwasher, cook, and I probably would have been a parking valet if it would have still been there by the time I got my license. We still make our famous pizza, just now we make it for family events.

                1. re: FrankMess
                  michele cindy Jul 11, 2008 05:52 AM

                  Can you tell us about the famous pizza, and how you make it?

                  1. re: michele cindy
                    g
                    grindy1 Mar 28, 2009 06:59 AM

                    Lefty's is back! Maybe just in our minds! LOL

                     
            2. g
              grindy1 Aug 21, 2007 04:10 PM

              I grew up in South Fallsburg. I go back once a year. VERY DEPRESSING! Best places to eat are:

              The Old Homestead - Bridgeville
              Bernie's Holiday Restaurant - Rock Hill
              Frankie and Johnnies - Hurleyville

              Mr. Willy's is still around...

              3 Replies
              1. re: grindy1
                ellen4441 Aug 21, 2007 09:13 PM

                thanks grindy1 for being my first (and maybe only) response!

                I find it depressing , as well, cause I always go up there thinking of the Catskill glory days, and when I get up there, the sad reality sets in. Very disenchanting.
                (espescially when the top exciting hot-spot in Monticello is the new 24 hour Wal Mart)

                I worked at Grossingers from 78-80 as a cocktail waitress, which may have before your time. Those were the best times of my life!!!

                I still have never tried the Old Homestead and Bernies, (and I love a good steak)
                We used to eat at Twin Bridge Junction for steaks (along with a great salad bar) in Ferndale.
                It's long closed, more than 20 years already! And we went to the Red Barn in Swan Lake, also long closed. I still remember hating to see both those steakhouses go under. (hard to believe it's been over 20 years already)

                My memory of those places makes them probably taste even better than they really were.

                thanks again, grindy...

                ellen in AC

                1. re: ellen4441
                  L_W Aug 22, 2007 06:24 AM

                  I have a feeling it is also long gone, too.....but is Lefty's still around?

                  BTW, my parents met at Grossingers in the late 60s :)

                  1. re: L_W
                    ellen4441 Aug 22, 2007 06:39 PM

                    Lefty's is long gone, too (RIP). It has been a Chinese buffet for awhile now.
                    I used to LOVE going to Lefty's with my Grossingers boyfriend (I was a cocktail waitress and he was a bellhop)

                    We would always get their french onion soup and their char-broiled burger.
                    The atmosphere was so comfy, as well. You just ordered at the counter , and they called your # out when it was ready.

                    After , we would sometimes go to Busby's ice cream parlor across the street
                    (also long gone). It was by the movie theatre.

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