Need to refresh and recharge out in the Sullivan County Catskills? Need a good excuse to go exploring out in that wild and lovely terrain? Head to the cozy hamlet of Mountain Dale, located within the town of Fallsburg, and hit up the High Voltage Kitchen and Bar. You’ll find the warmest of welcomes in a beautiful setting, with exquisitely crafted brunches and dinners served from the vintage trailer, to be enjoyed creekside with your choice of craft beverage.
Co-founders Jason Thomson and Sonia Jozajtis were based down on the Jersey Shore (Thomson still edits a small alternative weekly in Asbury Park) when they started feeling the timeless pull of the Catskills, and Asbury Park started feeling a bit too crowded. “I grew up on the beach,” says Thomson, “but I started traveling to the Catskills about eight years ago and fell in love with the rural setting. I think I really enjoyed the feeling of space and a strong connection to nature that I was craving more and more. Eventually I was offered an opportunity to open a restaurant in Mountaindale. I ultimately sold my other businesses in New Jersey and moved up here full time three years ago.”
A restaurateur friend, Nhi Mundi, was helping co-curate the Mountaindale business community and believed Thomson would be a great fit. He’d already experienced the kind of trial by fire that makes or breaks a restaurant pro: “Working as a busboy and bar back for a really hardcore restaurant owner taught me how to pay attention to detail,” Thomson says.
“I grew up on the beach, but I started traveling to the Catskills about eight years ago and fell in love with the rural setting. I think I really enjoyed the feeling of space and a strong connection to nature that I was craving.” - Jason Thomson, co-owner
“If the tablecloth wasn’t perfectly aligned, or the ketchup bottle was half empty, you’d get yelled at. So I learned to follow directions and do things exactly the way the owner wanted them, even if I thought there was a better way. I think that really shaped the way I look at things. My favorite saying is that the only thing that matters is everything. It’s the little things that count.”
At High Voltage, the little things that make all the difference add up to a strikingly original vibe. “We definitely have a strong sense of design and aesthetic, and it was important for us to create something that felt like it belonged in the Catskills,” says Thomson, who dreamed of becoming an architect as a kid and then studied graphic and interior design. “We didn’t want to do something you would see in a big city, and so you’ll see lots of antique and vintage items inside High Voltage, lots of taxidermy and a real lived-in vibe. Our Creek Bar is one of the most unique establishments you’ll ever visit. A vintage travel trailer bar in the woods with the Sandburg Creek running through it, and picnic and biergarten tables scattered about, tons of candles at night, a firepit, a stage for live music and lots of cozy Moroccan blankets and pillows throughout. Pure magic is how most people describe it when they pass our garden and enter through the woods.”
“We didn’t want to do something you would see in a big city, and so you’ll see lots of antique and vintage items inside High Voltage, lots of taxidermy and a real lived-in vibe.”
The menu makes its own kind of magic, with lots of comfort food choices and a rave-worthy burger. On it last June were Brioche French Toast at brunch-time and honey-drizzle chicken for dinner, to name but two treats; it may change with the seasons, but the philosophy of excellence isn’t going anywhere.
“My goal is to create a special restaurant environment and experience that people will remember,” Thomson says. “To constantly grow and change, to keep things exciting and fresh and cool and unique.”
Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday and brunch on weekends; with live music on Fridays and Saturdays, drawing what Thomson calls “a mix of true locals and new locals, plus a substantial base of AirBnB guests” for delicious eats and drinks by the creek.
“The best part of running a restaurant is the people we meet and the reactions we get when they come to our establishment,” says Thomson. “We’re always working on our spaces and this year we’ve added more seating, a new stage and covered pergola for bad weather days; and our neighbors and regulars keep cheering us on.”
“Our Creek Bar is one of the most unique establishments you’ll visit. A vintage travel trailer bar in the woods with the Sandburg Creek running through it, and picnic and biergarten tables scattered about.”
The last couple of years haven’t been the easiest in Mountain Dale or anywhere else, but Thomson and Jozajtis’s solid foundations and love of what they do have pulled High Voltage through. “My dad owned a deli and a grocery and was always an entrepreneur, so I think it’s just in my blood,” Thomson says. “The restaurant world is challenging these days, but working outside in the woods with a solid playlist and a fire pit burning definitely makes the day more special. And we’re excited to be playing a role in revitalizing this truly amazing community.”
High Voltage Kitchen & Creek Bar
47 Main Street