Theresa Fall had to be coaxed into opening Jar’d Wine Pub. “I’m the event planner at Water Street Market,” she says, “and the landlord had been encouraging me for a few years to start my own business, in particular my own wine bar here at the market. The timing was never right and, quite frankly, I was afraid. When this spot opened up, he and I were discussing what would go well in here and he said it again: ‘Theresa, you are a natural host. You should take the spot.’ I was in the middle of a run when it hit me all at once—I needed to do this!
I was coming off the high of our first and very successful Hudson Valley Chalk Festival and I was bursting with a sense of accomplishment. I will never forget that moment and I will eternally be grateful for my landlord for having faith and confidence in me.”
The small size of the space tends to draw everyone in the room into a common conversation; the calibre of the hospitality makes the experience likely to be a memorable one.
Her landlord was absolutely right. Theresa’s 29 years of restaurant experience, eye for style, and warm, smart heart have come together to make Jar’d a beloved destination spot in the “village within the village” ever since it opened in 2013. Online reviewers rave about the chic, sweet, friendly, and eclectic gem. And Theresa hasn’t
stopped there, either; her newest venture, The Parish, also in Water Street Market, opened in early 2016 featuring Cajun/Creole cuisine, a dandy way to satisfy appetites whetted by the vino and small plates of Jar’d. A year later, it’s clear Theresa has another hit on her hands.
“My business partner and I gutted the restaurant (the former Bridge Creek Cafe) and worked day in and day out to create a beautiful space,” recalls Theresa. “We did all this while successfully operating Jar'd. It was a tug of war at times, but it balanced out and I am thrilled with the outcome. The two businesses play off each other well, with people making their way from one to the other.”
In opening The Parish, Theresa partnered up with Matthew Sweeney, who’d been general manager of the Rock’n’Rye. She nudged him into running his own place just as she herself had been nudged not long before. The team then brought in designers Kelly Cleary-Gersec and Johnny Poux, who’d created the unique “jewel box” look of Jar’d.
“I wanted to create a space that was welcoming, cozy, and fun. Fun is important!”
From the beginning, Theresa had a clear concept and vision for Jar’d. “I wanted to create a space that was welcoming, cozy, and fun. Fun is important! We are not pretentious about wine and food. We are pretty and casual,serving our wines in bistro-style glasses, similar to bistros in Europe. We serve food the whole time we are open and offer a little escape from the college bars. Our back porch is like no other in town.” The small size of the space tends to draw everyone in the room into a common conversation; the calibre of the hospitality makes the experience likely to be a memorable one.
With two restaurants and two kids, she still manages to find time to enjoy her beloved hometown in other ways. “I transferred to North Carolina State University when I was 21 and stayed in Raleigh for most of my twenties,” she says. “I loved it there, but it couldn’t compare to New Paltz. After I married, I came back to have and raise my children here. I am happy to have left for a while to truly appreciate the splendor of The Hudson Valley. I love the people, the mountains, and all the seasons. I love to run, travel, ski, and socialize, and so do my kids. I play hard but I work for it. And I love my time at Jar’d—my customers have become my friends. It’s that kind of place.”
She takes care to make sure her staff is on the same page. “It takes a special kind of person to work here. We work by ourselves, so we need to be self-motivating, engaging, outgoing, and talkative. There is nowhere to hide! My staff can make or break the experience here. I treat them like family, making sure they get the time off they need, checking in with their personal happiness often. Mutual trust and respect is of the utmost importance in this industry.”
For its first three years, Jar’d served only beer and wine; now that that restriction’s been lifted, Theresa says, “it’s been a blast having fun with craft cocktails.” Theresa’s brand of hospitality is classic—Happy Hour every afternoon with $1 off draught
With a heated back porch, customers can bring their dogs along, making Jar’d the perfect spot for a sunset glass of wine after a rail trail ramble.
beer and wine, great deals for colleagues on Sunday for Industry Night (Sunday also features $5 Mimosas all day long)—and improvisational. “Quinn, our newest bartender, will be bringing his record player and albums in and creating
theme nights, so bring your favorite vinyl! And I like to throw random specials out there on Instagram and Facebook, depending on the weather and my mood.”
She balances outreach to the wider world through print and social media with tender loving care for the existing clientele. “We make sure to treat people like they are special, because they are. It’s important to know their faces, their names, their drinks.” With a heated back porch, customers can bring their dogs along, making Jar’d the perfect spot for a sunset glass of wine after a rail trail ramble.
Theresa’s hoping she’ll get a chance to revive outdoor dance parties at Jar’d. “Halfway through the summer last year, the neighbors complained,” she says, “and the landlord asked me to hold off for a while. The dance parties are amazing and so important to adults who want to go out and dance and still be home before midnight! I hope I can come to a resolution with the neighbors and the landlord.” Meanwhile, the back porch, with its fabulous mountain view, is now heated for year-round use, and front-patio seating allows for epic people-watching in nice weather.
”I wouldn’t have done this on Main Street,” she muses. “It works in Water Street Market, which draws a blend of locals and tourists. I know the Market well, having worked for it for ten years. It’s also right next to my house! And the New Paltz restaurant community, both here and beyond, is overwhelmingly supportive, from first opening through the day by day. We all look out for each other.”
Once Theresa blew past her misgivings about independent entrepreneurship, there was no stopping her. “It’s important to stay on your toes and think of new and innovative ways to bring in business,” she says. “I love the flexibility of being my own boss. I love seeing my vision come to life. But, most of all, I love my customers! I’ve made so many friends here!”
Jar’d is located at 10 Main Street (in the Water Street Market) in New Paltz. For more information, call 845-255-8466 or visit jardwinepub.com