All through the tiresome weeks of New York’s “Pause,” Stone House Tavern in Accord has been keeping us enticed: Buddha bowls, Taco Tuesdays, burgers in your choice of turkey, salmon, black angus, or veggie, steamed clams and mussels with chorizo over linguini, spectacular salads. They’ve been rockin’ the lockdown with a full menu of upscale comfort food à la drive-through, curbside, and delivery, complete with robust drinks and dessert, all while helping feed the community through Ulster County’s Project Resilience.
They’ve been rockin’ the lockdown with a full menu of upscale comfort food à la drive-through, curbside, and delivery, all while helping feed the frontlines through Ulster County’s Project Resilience.
“We are the only restaurant in Accord,” explains owner Linda Bradford, who fell in love with the Hudson Valley while earning her bachelor’s degree at SUNY New Paltz in the early 80s and never left. “When the previous owners closed, it created a void, and a community in need of a social gathering place that served great food and drinks with exceptional service in a warm and cozy atmosphere.”
Bradford knew more than a little bit about how to make that happen. After starting out as a bartender at Bacchus in New Paltz, she eventually became manager and co-owner of the restaurant, from 1989 to 2019, running the front of the house and helping her then-husband Wayne grow the place from simple pub to noteworthy restaurant serving Southwest and New American cuisine, with live bands and a billiard hall.
Newly divorced, she met a nice guy named Alan P. Roberts who’d just moved to Stone Ridge to accept the job of SUNY Ulster president. The two had their first date at what was formerly Family & Friends Hillside Restaurant, and more than one love match was off to a good start. They began to frequent the place, enjoying the great simple food and community vibes—but Linda couldn’t help thinking about what she’d do with the place if it were hers.
Each day brings two specials, a gourmet choice and a more budget-conscious option, along with a full and robust menu. There are family meal packages and kids’ meals.
New Year’s Eve of 2017 was the Hillside’s final night in the Accord location, and of course Linda and Alan were there. That was the night that the “what-if” discussion started to sound real. After months of mulling it over, Linda and Al became partners in bringing Accord the restaurant it deserved. The closing happened on August 1, 2018 and the major renovations began the following February.
Linda opened up the space, raising the ceiling, exposing vintage beams, and adding interior stone and a central gas fireplace.
“We believe in creating that Cheers vibe, the place where everybody knows your name, and you’re always glad you came... we have a strong focus on friendliness and community. ”
–Linda Bradford, co-owner
“The overall effect...feels as if somehow this is always how it should have looked,” wrote Chelsea Miller in BlueStone Press soon after the Stone House Tavern opened.
“The warm gleaming wood is complemented by stone, earth tones and buttery lighting.” (The first party Linda threw when the doors opened on August 30, 2019 was for the contractors, stonemasons, and tradespeople who’d helped make the dream real.)
Linda is a people person: She grew up bouncing around the US as a military kid and had been majoring in communications, marketing, and advertising at SUNY before her restaurant career took off. And it’s the people side of running Stone House—both the warmth she feels toward her regulars and the mentoring she does with her team—that satisfies her most; that and the creative freedom of running her own show.
And in these odd times, she’s managed to cast her warm, hospitable magic beyond the bricks and mortar, sending love with every order of takeout.
“Post-Covid-19, will be about making people feel safe: a super-sanitary environment, shields strategically placed, more spacing between tables, an outdoor picnic area, continuing to offer takeout and delivery.”
–Linda Bradford, co-owner
“We believe in creating that Cheers vibe, the place where everybody knows your name, and you’re always glad you came ... we have a strong focus on friendliness and community. Now we’re trying to keep that vibe alive through takeouts and deliveries.”
The food helps. Accord was more than ready to appreciate truffled pot roast, pan-seared sea scallops, and gluten-free entrées. Pre-pandemic, people raved over “flavors to die for” in reviews—and when the shutdown came, Linda and her team moved quickly to shift into safe mode, adding online ordering and a drive-thru window. Each day brings two specials, a gourmet choice and a more budget-conscious option, along with a full and robust menu. There are family meal packages and kids’ meals.
“We had to move from a community gathering place with a lot going on—rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, anniversaries, wine tasting dinners, sip & paint parties, trivia nights—to takeout and delivery only,” she says. “We had to totally reinvent ourselves.”
And the team’s willingness and ability to do just that has proven remarkable, indeed. “The service was superb! The tacos were divine and after a 10 hr work day as a nurse during a hellacious pandemic the spicy blood orange margarita was just what the MD ordered! HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!” wrote a satisfied customer in the midst of lockdown.
Linda is looking forward to welcoming guests again, adding outdoor dining space and safety measures. “Providing a quality product and great service in a comfortable atmosphere, post-Covid-19, will be about making people feel safe: a super-sanitary environment, shields strategically placed, more spacing between tables, an outdoor picnic area, continuing to offer takeout and delivery.
The ability to be resilient, adaptable, and roll with the punches is key to staying relevant and real in a business.”
It doesn’t get much more real than this: Linda’s ultimate goal is to create a team “that can run the place without me” and transition to employee ownership. “We’ll continue to be adaptable and resilient,” she says.
“Practicing gratitude, maintaining a positive attitude, finding pleasure in the little things—that’s what makes it worth it, no matter the circumstances.”
Do yourself a favor: browse the tantalizing food on Stone House Tavern’s Facebook and Instagram feeds, then wander to the website for the current menu and try out the online ordering system.
After your convenient pickup, you can park for a socially distant picnic that will have you purring with satisfaction. You’re in the very heart of Accord, and life is delicious, indeed.
stone house tavern
4802 Route 209, Accord | 845-626-1500