“We have tremendous support both for and from the community—I like to think we have a good local reputation. You’re likely to see a mix in the parking lot that includes beater pickups, Maseratis, and everything in between.” –Co-owner Alex Lamb
On your next visit to Saugerties, let your hunger guide you down Partition Street to Stella’s Station, a hometown place with a quirky concept and a solid menu that works equally well as both the highlight of a family day out and a place to chill with some friends and a few cold ones.
Located in a renovated service station, Stella’s is the brainchild of a pair of Saugerties natives who knew that locals and visitors alike would love the kind of oasis they had in mind. And with a menu full of starters like steamers, soft pretzel nuggets, and spicy cheese curds, as well as classic sandwiches, salads, skewers, and grillers, everyone is likely to find something to love—vegetarians can feast on a tomato and mozzarella or falafel wrap, while omnivores enjoy a Jalapeño Cheddar Bratwurst—all of it done to Culinary Institute standards.
“I like to think we rebranded it,” says chef Mike DePoala, one of the partners who’s been running Stella’s since 2013. “We built it into a summer destination bar for locals and gave the menu a glow-up, reimagined it in our own image. We have great frozen drinks. We want people to come here, sit down, and feel like they’re on vacation.”
“We want people to come here, sit down, and feel like they’re on vacation.” –Chef Mike DePoala
That summertime vibe includes Stella’s Scoops, an old-fashioned ice cream shoppe serving 24 flavors of Jane’s and Hershey’s premium ice cream that can be enjoyed on the spacious, family-friendly front patio while the back patio maintains a more private, pub-style feeling.
The former gas station had already been renovated as a restaurant, so Mike and his partner Alex Lamb built upon the unique character of the space. Their journeys had converged at the Dutch Tavern on Main Street. Mike had previously ventured to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and then to Manhattan, where he honed his skills for a few years before heading back upriver to home.
Alex followed a different route to hospitality. “Both my parents were attorneys, which made me realize that was something I didn’t want to do,” he says. “I went to college and got my degree in political science. Then I took a bartending job to save up for grad school.” But the restaurant world got into his system, and grad school never happened. When Mike, who’d been a year ahead of Alex at Saugerties High, suggested they team up and go out on their own, he was ready. That was in 2013, and Stella’s Station is entering its ninth season under their stewardship. With ninety percent outdoor seating, Stella’s has always operated on a seasonal basis, opening the first Monday in April and serving till Columbus Day. Being outdoor-oriented in the first place was a huge plus when it came to Covid safety. “We didn’t have to pivot to outdoor dining,” Alex observes. “So we were situated better than most and didn’t have to shift away from our established brand. We spaced the tables six feet apart. But, post-Covid looks a lot like pre-Covid here—relaxing in the fresh air. It’s been a comfort.” Also comforting: The partners’ devotion to serving all Saugerties residents, keeping the fun at a price point that locals can manage, and treating employees well. “We have 30 employees who come back year after year, and everyone is comfortable, so that tells me we’re doing it right,” says Alex. “And sure, we benefit from
With a menu full of starters like steamers, soft pretzel nuggets, and spicy cheese curds, as well as classic sandwiches, salads, skewers, and grillers, everyone is likely to find something to love.
“Our main focus is on the core concept: Delicious eats, good drinks, and a judgement-free vibe that can carry your troubles away.” –Chef Mike DePoala
tourism, but we have tremendous support both for and from the community—I like to think we have a good local reputation. You’re likely to see a mix in the parking lot that includes beater pickups, Maseratis, and everything in between.”
The partners close in the winter and take stock, brainstorming and researching new menu items before the eagerly anticipated opening and a fresh summer of fun. “We’re part of the community’s First Fridays,” says Mike, referring to a monthly Saugerties specialty when businesses stay open later and offer specials and discounts. “And we do our own thing on July Fourth, with a tent in the driveway. But our main focus is on the core concept: Delicious eats, good drinks, and a judgement-free vibe that can carry your troubles away.”
150 Partition Street, Saugerties