Stissing House, Clare de Boer’s new restaurant, will open in the Hudson Valley

PINE PLAINS, NY — It’s a fantasy shared by many New Yorkers: moving upstate, restoring an old house, escaping the noise of the city. But Clare de Boer, who will open her first solo restaurant, Stissing House, on Thursday, knows this is no romantic venture.

“It’s cute until you sign the dotted line,” she said on a recent Friday in the living room, once a lumber shed, of her tavern in this Hudson Valley town. The walls of the 6,000 square foot space were still being painted. One of the fireplaces was not working earlier in the day. A conventional the oven had not yet been installed and the pastry chef, Suzanne Nelson, was beginning to worry.

But there was good news: the pheasant dish Mrs de Boer was testing, roasted in the open kitchen’s wood-fired hearth with juniper and vermouth, was outrageously delicious.

“Wow, that’s crazy,” she said taking a bite. “It’s five weeks old.”

Ms de Boer, 32, who writes occasionally for The New York Times, is best known for making hand-cut pasta that glistens with olive oil and crispy fried sage panisses at King, a French restaurant and Italian from SoHo which she owns with Jess Shadbolt and Annie Shi. Ms. de Boer’s work at King earned her a James Beard nomination for Rising Star Chef in 2018. This summer, she, Ms. Shadbolt and Ms. Shi will open their second restaurant, the pasta-focused Jupiter, at Rockefeller Center.

With such a busy career in the city, Ms. de Boer had envisioned a solo restaurant in the Hudson Valley more like a retirement project. (She and her husband, Luke, own a home in Dover Plains, about 20 miles away.) But when she learned that the French restaurant occupying the Pine Plains building — also named Stissing House — would close early last year, she decided to stare into space.

“I could hear the sound of my kids running through the hallways,” she said. “I could see them getting married here.”

She also loved the idea of ​​restoring the building, which dates back to 1782, back to its roots as a tavern serving simple, homely food. “This restaurant has always been the center of this community,” she said. Stissing House was once one of the oldest operating inns in the United States.

“I’m not making up Stissing House,” she added. “I definitely see myself as the next keeper.”

His menu will revolve around dishes cooked over a wood fire, such as braised duck served with corn bread enriched with duck fat, game pâtés and pork shoulder simmered overnight with cider and celeriac. Ms. de Boer found inspiration in old Shaker cookbooks. (The name Stissing has Native American roots; precise origins are unclear, but the restaurant is on Munsee Lenape and Mohican land.)

“There are so many things I love about Shakers in terms of their approach to life, minimalism and purposefulness,” she said. “Luxuriously simple food.”

The Shakers, a Christian group that celebrated simplicity and celibacy, immigrated in the late 18th century from England, where Mrs. de Boer’s mother’s family is from. Ms de Boer found similarities between Shaker recipes and her grandmother’s in dishes like apple charlotte and sticky ginger cake.

Ms de Boer acknowledged that operating a two-story restaurant in a rural town can prove more challenging, especially compared to King, which quickly became a SoHo staple when it opened in 2016.

“In New York you have no room and lots of customers,” she said. “Here you have a lot of room and no customers.”

Pine Plains – population 2,392 – is not as busy as other parts of the region, such as Hudson or Rhinebeck. Many major train lines no longer run directly through the city.

Thus, Ms. de Boer intends to concentrate for the moment on serving a local clientele. It will host a “kids club” every Sunday, she said, with movie screenings and a playground; transform the floor into a space for weddings and other events; and host family-style Sunday lunches.

Decorations are rustic and minimal — the original plank flooring and roof beams remain — but the restaurant isn’t cheap. A bowl of seafood chowder is $33 and butter noodles are $15.

“I hope the price is broad enough to make the business work,” without feeling exclusive, Ms. de Boer said.

The restaurant will be open Thursday through Monday, and she plans to split her time between upstate and Manhattan, where she will open Jupiter and continue her responsibilities at King.

Jupiter will have more seats than King and will also serve breakfast. It’s one of many new restaurants — including those of Greg Baxtrom from Olmsted, and Elia and Junghyun Park from Atoboy and Atomix — opening at Rockefeller Center.

“It’s the perfect second city project,” said Ms. de Boer. “The resources are there. People want to work for us because we have a reputation.

But Pine Plains has a different charm to it. “It’s not a destination restaurant,” she said — or at least that’s not its goal. “It’s a local watering hole.”

Stissing House, 7801 South Main Street, Pine Plains, NY, 518-771-3064, stissinghouse.com.

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