As a member of Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins, musician Melissa Auf der Maur has seen her fair share of cities on tour. Six years ago, though, she settled in picturesque Hudson, New York—preeminent Northeast antiquing destination, population 6,600—and decided to make the music come to her.
As owners and creative directors of Basilica Hudson, a 14,000 square-foot industrial arts and performance venue, Auf der Maur and her filmmaker husband, Tony Stone, co-founded the Basilica Soundscape festival, which welcomes a lineup including Swans and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire on September 12 and 13.
In recent years, Hudson has become home to many noteworthy chefs, attracted by affordable space and proximity to fresh produce. Here are Auf der Maur's picks for where to get your fill.
Breakfast: Bonfiglio & Bread
748 Warren St., 518-822-1277
"The couple that owns Bonfiglio began baking in their basement—first baked goods, and then they started experimenting with bread, making incredible quinoa loafs and ciabattas to supply to the local coffee shops before finding the perfect storefront of their own. And then [owner] Gabby started cooking, and suddenly it's the best restaurant in town. They've got one thing called poached eggs over avocado, and it's poached eggs, avocado, thick Greek yogurt, lardons and croutons drizzled in chili oil and lime zest. And I'm like, 'Why didn't I invent this?'"
Lunch: Food Truck Court
347 Warren Street
"We have one cool little court in town that's next to a big antique store. One of the store owners made a kind of picnic area for three trucks to live in: Truck Pizza, a wood-burning oven on wheels that makes fancy thin-crust pizza, Once Upon a Taco, a taco truck that was recently taken over and now apparently uses all organic everything and the family-run A Taste of India."
Coffee at Swallow | Photo: Premshree Pillai
433 Warren St., 413-475-4982
"In the middle of town is Swallow, and it's everything you'd expect from a coffee shop: Lots of lounging, cute people and sometimes a bit of attitude behind the bar, but generally very nice. They source the best beans—this is how I know the '90s are alive and well in Hudson—there's always one guy who's been there for five hours reading a philosophy book. There's local art on the walls, and it's also the main flyer place, so I get nervous if I don't see our poster for upcoming events there."
Dinner: Swoon Kitchenbar
340 Warren St., 518-822-8938
"This is one of the oldest restaurants here, and they're also our partner in Ramp Fest, which celebrates the anomaly that is the Hudson Valley ramp. It's safe to say Swoon was the first gourmet high-end restaurant in Hudson. The menu changes every day, and it's consistently high-quality food, and local when it can be. I usually just get two or three appetizers, because they're very elaborate combinations. Visit on Monday for a four-course vegetarian Meatless Monday prix fixe."
Photo: Swoon Kitchenbar
Cocktail: Fish & Game
13 S. Third St., 518-822-1500
"Cocktails belong to Fish & Game, Zak Pelaccio's spot. The restaurant has a set tasting menu, but the bar is the same size as the restaurant, and you can just go in for drinks. There's a 10-foot leather couch, which I have occupied many times with many friends from out of town to show them how decadent Hudson can be. And these cocktails are insane and creative. There's a spicy mezcal one that is completely deadly—you do not need more than one."
Dive Bar: The Half Moon
48 S Front St.
"Walk downtown toward the train and end your evening at Half Moon, named after Henry Hudson's ship and the greatest dive bar to ever be reclaimed by a young couple from New York City. There's music sometimes, a basic cocktail menu and food that consists only of hot dogs and chips. The feng shui is just perfect for a dive. They've done all the right things, like get a neon sign on its last legs. Full disclosure: This is also where the official afterparty for Soundscape is happening."