The Beacon Hotel will open in April, though its first floor restaurant is now open and serving fine foodie fare.
Walking down the streets of Beacon you’ll find touches of old and new. A once dilapidated diner breathes new life through the Beacon Bread Company, a former textile factory has been transformed into The Roundhouse, and the latest project – a historical 19th-century hotel and restaurant – has been revived.
The Beacon Hotel, previously the Dibble House and Mt. Beacon Hotel, is the oldest continuously operating hotel in Beacon. It has roots dating back to the 1870s, first purchased by local entrepreneur Warren S. Dibble, who built 75 single-occupancy rooms and a horse stable for guests. It once was a vision of opulence, hosting many of the century’s most renowned actors and entertaining the local elite. The hotel has changed owners through the last 140 years (rumor has it that it was won and lost during a poker game in the ‘60s), perhaps losing a touch of sparkle each time – until now.
The hotel was purchased in 2015 by owner Alla Kormilitsyna, a luxury townhome renovator, plus friends and veteran Brooklyn restaurant renovators, Greg and Evey Trautman. With a passion for restoring old landmarks and huge support from the Beacon community, the team began the treacherous construction process – and it wasn’t easy. In fact, the interior required a full gut. They were only able to keep the exterior walls, though even the outdoor facade detail had to be reconstructed.
“The process was extremely hard and labor intensive,” said Kormilitsyna. “Site work took a lot of time and effort. We wanted to implement the best possible infrastructure going forward.”
The hotel is scheduled to open at the end of April, boasting a warm, eclectic vibe with the design-conscious traveler in mind. The Beacon Hotel Restaurant opened earlier this month, operating on a limited schedule, and will launch a weekend brunch program by mid-February.
The menu itself has been thoughtfully crafted to restore many traditional dishes reminiscent of culinary favorites during The Beacon Hotel’s prime years. Era throwbacks, like stuffed quail, beef filet, and frog legs have each been amped with a 21st-century twist. The quail is stuffed with fig and walnuts; the frog legs, almond-crusted and served with whipped lardo-caper brown butter; and the beef tenderloin bathed in a béarnaise sauce, then dressed with leek confit.
Although these items may sound appetizing (don’t get us started on dessert), the menu is changing constantly – practically every week. Executive Chef Matt Hutchins, a CIA grad and alum of Beacon’s The Hop, strives to use ingredients that are seasonally available, sustainable, and local. You’ll spot many dishes incorporating often-overlooked meats and butcher cuts peppered throughout the menu, along with familiar Valley names like neighboring Beacon Bread Company, Chaseholm and Sprout Creek farms, and Old Chatham Sheepherding Company.
So what’s his favorite dish? The pâté. Well, there are two of them on the menu, though Hutchins has a soft spot for the chicken liver pâté (above), served with brandied dried fruit, black trumpet mushroom dust, locally-sourced grilled bread, and semi-soft “Ouleout” washed rind cheese. In fact, Hutchins has served it on every chef table and tasting menu of his in the past several years, and he says it’s always a hit.
And through those budding relationships with local businesses, he says that the Hudson Valley has helped his culinary prowess come to form. “I’m not just cooking for this community,” said Hutchins. “I’m very much a part of it, and they have become a part of me as well. I feel like we’ve been learning and growing together.”