Restaurant Review: Phoenicia Diner, Catskills, New York

A few weeks ago I spent a weekend in the Catskills Mountains.  Specifically, Phoenicia.  Phoenicia is a small town (technically a “hamlet”), about 20 minutes from Woodstock (the more well-known town in the area), in the Catskills Mountains.  The town is tiny, with one main road, surrounded by mountains with lots of hiking.  Phoenicia has recently received press by way of a few new business ventures opening in the sleepy town, including the Phoenecia Diner – which is probably the most popular place to eat in the area!  Vouge magazine mentioned it in a piece on travel in the Catskills Mountains a while ago, and it seems to be all the rage with the hipster crowd.

A group of seven of us went to the Phoenicia Diner for brunch on Sunday, which is probably the worst time to go, as everyone is leaving town from the weekend…  We waited about 30 minutes for a table but it was well worth it, especially given some of the other choices in the area.

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Before even getting into the food, the diner itself is quite interesting.  The diner was built in the 1960s and was moved to the Catskills in the 1980s.

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More recently, it has been renovated into a diner that could be straight out of Brooklyn.  Read: it keeps the diner feel, but the owners have definitely spent a lot of money giving it that “diner feel.”

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For example, it boasts a giant pair of scissors branded with its name.  What original diner didn’t have that?

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It reminded me a lot of the Dogfish Inn that I visited in Delaware earlier this year.

Not surprisingly (given the decor), the menu offers a swanky take on standard brunch fare, especially for these parts of the woods, including a variety of benedicts and several dishes with trout.  Think Brooklyn goes to the Catskills for the weekend (which is kind of what we did…).  The menu has been described as “farm to counter,” as much as possible is locally sourced, and it even offers gluten free desserts…

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For my meal, I opted for the crab BLT with fries.  The crab cake was delicious, with lots of fresh crab and only a little bread.  The fries were also great.  My only complaint is that there was not a special aioli for dipping.  I look forward to those special aioli sauces.

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Dan ordered the standard eggs benedict with home fries.  He liked it but “did not love it.” He also was in a hurry to get home.  Our other friends seemed to enjoy their food, too.

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Aside from the food, the Phoenicia Diner has one of the few bars in Phoenicia, although it keeps rather short hours.  Like the rest of the diner, the bar area has a distinct “the investors spent a lot of money to make this look old,” but it did look adorable and right out of the 1960s.  I did not taste the drinks, so I can’t comment on them.

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STEAL OUR LUNCH

Phoenicia Diner: 5681 Route 28, 12464.  Open Thursday – Monday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (open more often in Summer).  Breakfast served all day.  Lunch 11:00 – 5:00 p.m.  Bar on premises.  T. 845.688.9957. E. info@phoeniciadiner.com.  No reservations; there is usually a wait.

ON A BUDGET

Located in the Catskills, Phoenecia is a pretty budget friendly town.  While the Phoenecia Diner was not expensive, there are certainly cheaper places to eat on the main street in Phoenicia.

 

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