At this writing, locals and visitors to southwestern Ulster County around Kerhonkson are hungrily awaiting the opening of the hamlet’s newest casually fabulous dining destination, Mill & Main, the heartfelt project of a family with superb hospitality chops who let themselves be drawn in as full-timers just two years ago after five years of weekend-home ownership.
“Staying close to food was always something that provided me with great satisfaction, even though it’s a demanding business.”
– Claudia Sidoti
Mill & Main opened its doors in October as a coffee bar and local marketplace, and lost no time in winning fans. “A true gem of a find! Haven’t had such a great cappuccino since I left the city…and don’t get me started on the baked goods...in a word, fantastic!” wrote neighbor Janine Carchidi in October.
“Our neighbors in Kerhonkson, upon hearing that we had owned food businesses in the past, half-jokingly suggested we should open a cafe,” says Paul Weathered. “We have all had professional hospitality careers, both as entrepreneurs and working for others.” Although Paul admits he’s not actively worked in restaurants in decades, his wife, Claudia Sidoti, and son, Christopher Weathered, have.
Paul, who describes himself as “the Jack of All Trades,” spent 30 years in the film business after spending time in the restaurant world as a young man. Sidoti, who comes from a long line of “great home cooks—my mother, father, grandmother and mother-in-law all excelled in the kitchen,” devoted her talent to food and hospitality as a chef, caterer, and test kitchen director.
“Staying close to food was always something that provided me with great satisfaction, even though it’s a demanding business,” Sidoti says. “Each job I’ve ever had, whether behind a counter or a stove, serving customers, developing recipes, catering an event, or heading up culinary teams at places like Food Network or HelloFresh US, has offered me an opportunity to learn, grow, and apply those learnings into the next venture. After 40 years in the industry, it’s in my DNA. “
“We did our research and [the building] just felt like the perfect location for us because it was so close to Minnewaska and the Rail Trail, nestled between New Paltz and Kingston.”
That DNA was clearly in play as their son Christopher grew up in the kitchen at Mom’s side and opted for a bachelor’s degree in Food Sustainability from Evergreen State College, then an internship at Blue Hill @ Stone Barns in Tarrytown. Paul has fond memories of climbing the ’Gunks as a teen, and ski weekends at Belleayre followed by hearty meals in Big Indian were a family favorite. Seven years ago, they found their upstate haven. “We wanted a weekend place that was within two hours of NYC,” says Sidoti. “We looked at many houses and towns, and ultimately fell in love with the quiet little hamlet of Kerhonkson.
“Our neighbors in Kerhonkson, upon hearing that we had owned food businesses in the past, half-jokingly suggested we should open a cafe. We have all had professional hospitality careers, both as entrepreneurs and working for others.”
I love the nature, the fresh air, the slower pace, and the amazing people I’ve been fortunate to get to know. I also love how close it is to the city so when I get the urge to visit, it’s easy enough to do.” At the end of the hamlet’s Main Street was a disheveled and flood-damaged 1971 building that struck Paul and Sidoti as just the spot for a food destination. “We drove past it every weekend and kept our eye on the building,” says Sidoti. “We did our research and it just felt like the perfect location for us because it was so close to Minnewaska and the Rail Trail, nestled between New Paltz and Kingston.”
“I want to grow a talented team at Mill & Main and develop a staff that shares our passion for food and hospitality. I also want to create energy within the community that supports other small business owners, and work collaboratively to produce fun events in the downtown area that bring people together.”
Becoming an anchor business in the heart of the hamlet is something Sidoti, Paul, and Christopher see as an honor and an opportunity. “I want to grow a talented team at Mill & Main and develop a staff that shares our passion for food and hospitality,” says Sidoti. “I also want to create energy within the community that supports other small business owners, and work collaboratively to produce fun events in the downtown area that bring people together. I love the idea of having Kerhonkson Day, a food, wine, music, and art event…But first, we need to get the doors to the restaurant open!”
“I want to keep curating interesting things, offering samples, and creating events that bring people in, like our Mill & Main After Hours events.”
At this writing, Mill & Main offers that fabulous coffee, a few prepared choices, and a curated selection of local groceries; the full restaurant menu will be unveiled in April. Expect to be astonished. “We are a unique family with a very hands-on approach,” says Sidoti. “Our multicultural roots (Sidoti’s are Colombian and Italian, Paul’s are Caribbean) offer unique diversity. Our business is a reflection of our heritage and culture and work ethic, and the food is a reflection of that.”
“Our goals are simply to create an establishment where hospitality, comfort, and community are priorities,” says Paul. “The kind of place we like to go back to regularly. We’ll have a full menu with specials based on seasonal availability. We take the concept of hospitality to heart.”
Grocery offerings are expanding as Sidoti discovers new goodies and takes the suggestions of her clientele. “I love our customers,” says Sidoti, “getting to know them, finding out what they want, and listening to feedback. I love discovering delicious new treats I know they’ll love. I want to keep curating interesting things, offering samples, and creating events that bring people in, like our Mill & Main After Hours events.” There will be outdoor seating and considerable rejoicing going on this spring, as Mill & Main ramps up to full speed and the talented trio can finally invite you to their table, with a simple business philosophy baked in the fires of downstate sophistication and seasoned with local love. “Treat others as you want to be treated,” says Sidoti of Mill & Main’s company policies. “Respect the work and work will pay off. Cook from the heart and serve from the soul.
mill & main
317-319 Main Street, Kerhonkson