When the Gilded Otter in New Paltz was purchased by Clemson Bros. Brewery in 2019, longtime employees Reshma Ramoutar and Juan Galvan decided it was time to paddle their own canoe. Both had started their hospitality careers at the Otter, and felt well-prepared for independence thanks to the management style of then-owner Rick Rauch.
“We’re here to make you, the customer, comfortable, safe, and happy. We’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.”
–Reshma Ramoutar, co-owner
“He believed in teaching his employees every aspect of the business, and was always available to answer questions, and still is,” says Reshma. “My husband Juan started working at the Otter when he was in high school as the dishwasher and did every job from maintenance to becoming the assistant general manager. I started there as a bus girl and worked my way up to manager as well.”
Given the choice between remaining with a larger company and striking out on their own, Reshma and Juan felt ready for the next big step.
Friends and family were encouraging. The quest for the perfect spot ended one night on a pizza mission. “We saw a ‘For Rent’ sign next to the pizza place and at that moment realized we needed to call the landlord,” says Reshma. “So we did, and the rest is history.”
Specials are constantly evolving, with “Burger of the Day” offerings, chili wings, steak quesadillas, and passion fruit margaritas enhancing a menu that’s full of choices, from lobster rolls to pork schnitzel to falafel.
The place they had found, which had most recently housed a Japanese restaurant called Matsu, is in a small plaza on Route 32 at the east end of Rosendale’s Main Street. The long dining room extends alongside the Rondout Creek, with plenty of big windows that bring the outdoors in. It felt only natural to name it Creekside Bar & Bistro. They opened the doors in November of 2019, and immediately started magnetizing a fan base that craves their tasty classic salads, sandwiches, and steaks, enhanced with housemade sauces and a lively cocktail program.
That fan base has sustained them through the long weeks of pickup and delivery. “It’s been a tough year on a lot of people, so if we can provide individuals with a little bit of happiness, we consider ourselves successful,” says Reshma. “COVID-19 was a hard hit for us, but we’re still going strong; we adapted by listening. What made people comfortable? How could we help? What did people want to see or not see? We made sure we were up-to-date on facts and able to answer questions. And as much as the pandemic changed things, it also has not.
"We’re here to make you, the customer, comfortable, safe, and happy. We’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.” A July 5, 2020 Facebook review indicates how well they succeed in doing just that. “Friendly, professionally face-shielded wait staff,” writes the guest. “Loved the modern, but cozy barn/ warehouse decor....The frozen margarita was very nice, ‘could taste the tequila’ pleasure; and the food.. BRAVO!... A thick, tasty, perfectly medium rare burger that the old man rated ‘better than good.’ I will be back to check out the rest of the menu; which is the equivalent of at least 2 Michelin stars.”
“We love making a name for our family,” says Reshma. “My family’s from Trinidad, and I think it makes them happy to know I moved here and am successful.”
“We put out great food, spectacular drinks, and memorable service.”
It may not have been the first year they imagined, but Reshma and Juan are relishing their independence all the same. “We love making a name for our family,” says Reshma. “My family’s from Trinidad, and I think it makes them happy to know I moved here and am successful. And I want our son to know what hard work looks like. I hope he loves the hospitality industry as much as we do.”
Specials are constantly evolving, with “Burger of the Day” offerings, chili wings, steak quesadillas, and passion fruit margaritas enhancing a menu that’s full of choices, from lobster rolls to pork schnitzel to falafel. (You can find the freshest news on Facebook or Instagram.) “We put out great food, spectacular drinks, and memorable service,” Reshma says. “Our clientele—retired couples, families, young adults home for quarantine or just to visit back where they grew up—are amazing, and we try hard to make everyone feel welcome.”
In a moment of enormous uncertainty for so many, Reshma and Juan are happy to have this opportunity and just plan to keep it going. “Keep showing up, keep the space clean and safe, and make people happy,” says Reshma of the immediate future.
“We have our family in here, and we would love to have your family join us. We come to work every day with a smile and that desire to make you happy, and we find that by being ourselves, every day’s a good day.”
Creekside Bar & Bistro
1128 Route 32, Rosendale