Restaurants in Gardiner
The main climbing areas of the Gunks are in the town of Gardiner, which has a small number of restaurants. While there are a couple of eateries near the intersection of Rt. 299 and Rt. 44-55, most of the other places are closer to the village of Gardiner, which is further west (away from the Gunks) on Rt. 44-55. So when you leave the Gunks, keep going downhill on Rt. 44-55, past Rt. 299 and the deli, heading south and west towards the village of Gardiner.
3123 Route 44/55, Gardiner, NY, (845) 255-9766 – closed Mondays and Tuesdays
My FAVORITE restaurant in the Gunks area. Also happens to be the closest restaurant to the Gunks. Very popular with climbers, who tend to sit the bar dining area rather than the main dining room. The walls are decorated with climbing photos as well. First thing to note is that this place gets very busy. On fall weekends, you may have to start waiting for a table as early as 3pm. By dinnertime the wait could be well over 1.5 hours. If you have 6 or more people, you can make a reservation, otherwise they don’t take reservations. So where do we start… well, you’ve climbed all day in the hot sun, you’re going to want a beer. They have a nice selection of beer on tap, my favorite of all is the Spaten Octoberfest, which is served year round. I’ve eaten here for probably 20 years, and never had a dish I didn’t like. You must check their specials menu for creative, delicious dishes made with local ingredients when possible. And it’s not just German food. They always have a fascinating and creative vegan dish on the menu, unusual fare such as rabbit soup, kangaroo, or ostrich. Huge portions, tasty sauces, and the best bavarian pretzel you will ever eat. Kids will love the spaetzle with butter or gravy and a hot chocolate. Salads are fantastic, with creative local ingredients in season such as fiddleheads. If you like creamy dressings, try the buttermilk herb dressing on your salad. The german potato salad is a delicious substitute for fries. They also have sandwiches, wurst platters, and the best juicy burger anywhere. The Gunks burger is sandwiched between raisin pumpernickel bread and covered in sauteed onions. If you like creamy mushroom sauces, get the Jaeger Schnitzel, and good luck finishing all of it. I rarely get dessert here because I’m too bloated to even think about dessert, but what I have eaten has all been delicious. Don’t come here if you’re in a rush. Service is attentive and friendly but slow, especially if it’s really busy. Enjoy the good beer, take your time to chew the huge portions of food, and make it an evening.
Joanie’s Bistro Mountain Store (a.k.a. “the Deli”)
3126 Rte 44 55, Gardiner, NY – (845) 255-2999
This is THE place to go before climbing for coffee and breakfast and to mingle with other climbers. Located very close to the Gunks at the intersection of Rt. 299 and Rt. 44/55, it is across the street from the Mountain Brauhaus restaurant. Their menu has lots of tasty wraps and sandwiches with creative combinations, as well as soups and chili. It’s a deli, with various beverages, a small selection of grocery items, and lots of snack foods. There’s an ATM inside as well, and a porta-potty in the parking lot. There are a few tables inside, but most people are out on the deck at the picnic tables. On busy fall weekends, the line is huge. Call your order ahead of time so reduce your wait (grab a take-out menu when you’re there so you have the menu and phone number for the next time). They also have a freezer with various ice cream bars which hit the spot after a hot day climbing. If you’re stuck without a partner, go there in the morning and mingle – you might find a partner while you’re having your coffee.
2808 Rt 44/55, Gardiner, NY – (845) 255-9779
When we don’t want to drive into New Paltz and the Brauhaus has a line out the door, Lombardi’s is an alternative. It’s just a little further down Rt. 44/55 towards the village of Gardiner. I’ve only eaten there twice. It has standard Italian food, and I thought the prices were a bit on the high side.
20 Gristmill Ln, Gardiner, NY – (845) 255-4151
This is a fairly new restaurant in the historic gristmill. The fantastic Tuthill Spirits whiskey distillery is also located here and is worth a visit and tour (try their Baby Bourbon!). I’ve only eaten here once. The interior is very nice with the old workings of the gristmill still visible. This is a little fancier than the other restaurants in town, but Gardiner is informal to begin with. The food I had was pretty good, a bit expensive, but honestly, it was not the most amazing meal for that price.
2356 Rte 44/55, Gardiner NY – (845) 255-4949 – Closed Tuesdays
This is the best place around for breakfast and lunch. It’s a small cafe right in “downtown” Gardiner, in a shopping center where Rt. 44/55 makes a sharp “S” turn. They focus on local ingredients, and everything there tastes very fresh. They have the best french toast I’ve ever eaten, usually paired with decadent toppings such as strawberries and cream, or carmelized bananas and bacon. Everything comes with a small fresh salad. My daughter is obsessed with their Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Panini. Their omelets are creative and delicious. You won’t be disappointed!