WAPPINGERS FALLS – Friday night’s Launch Party at Heritage Food + Drink was a Who’s Who in the Hudson Valley. Among the few hundred close friends and relatives was names like Butch Anderson, Shelia Appel, Craig Wallace, Mike Betros, Rick Brownell, Wappinger Town Supervisor Lori Jiava, and so many more, all coming out to support co-owners Jesse Camac and Amanda Baxter’s new venture; a 250 seat New American cuisine restaurant on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls.
The partners took over the space that was previously owned and occupied by Greenbaum and Gilhooly’s.
“It took 13 months.”said Jesse Camac . “It’s been a long path that took some significant renovations and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.”.
Amanda Baxter took the lead on the new site’s design. While she never attended school for design, Baxter feels designing just comes natural to her “I guess I would have to owe most of my design expertise to my father. He has a great design background for spacial things.”
The 6,400 square foot space has two floors of unique dining areas, two bars, and a seating capacity of 250. The bar area provides seating inside with access to an outdoor patio that wraps around the side of the building and boasts a 32′ long bar. Beyond the bar is a more intimate dining area with lower lighting and a window area that looks right into the kitchen’s big smoker and wood-burning grill.
The second floor is splashed with brighter colors, accent lighting, and a unique wall design of fresh oranges in jars on display.
“The upstairs area is perfect for private parties and holiday gatherings”, commented Camac.
Camac’s background spans years of working in the family restaurant business. ” Since I was fifteen I’ve done everything in the business; started as a back waiter, picked herbs in the basement, I did it all. My dad always felt it was important to understand all of the positions within the business before I got into management. So, I thought that gave me a good foundation for the restaurant business, in general.
The family business spread out to restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn and even Hong Kong.
Camac’s got engaged to Alisha Albinder, who wanted to move back into the area to be part of her family’s generational apple farming business that has been growing apples in Ulster County’s Millerton. They have grown apples in Milton in Ulster County for four generations, Camac said.so they set up shop at 1379 Route 9 in Wappingers Falls.
“We can’t be prouder of how things turned out”, said Alisha. “I think when people come to the restaurant they can expect to find a real comfortable atmosphere, beautiful space, really great food, and something for everyone on the menu.”
Executive Chef Shawn Burnette comes from Hasbrouck House and Sous Chef Frank Camey is from Mill House in Poughkeepsie.
Heritage Food + Drink will specialize in slow-cooked New American cuisine, and pride itself on home made bread and hamburger buns, home made ketchup, dry aging of steaks in house as well as handcrafted cocktails, and craft beer from Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie.
Jesse and Alisha were just recently married, in May.
“We don’t have kids yet,”, laughed Camac, but I almost feel like this is how it would be if you had a kid. To see how everything turned out after 13 months of hard work, and the great feedback we’re getting, makes this the proudest day of my life”.
For more information and hours of operation, go to www.heritagefooddrink.com