From Life-Altering Biscuits To A Diner Approved By Lorde Herself, I'd Recommend These 12 Essential Restaurants To Anyone Visiting The Catskills This Summer
As a food writer, I've spent the past few years eating my way through the Catskills. Let me tell you, several of these spots — just two hours from New York City — have been nothing short of life-changing.
Ah, the beautiful, "forever wild" Catskills. If you're not familiar, New York's Catskills region — marked by four specific counties that surround the Catskill Mountains of New York state — is just a two-hour drive northwest of Manhattan, and IMO, it's one of the very best weekend trips you can take from the big city.
Last winter, my partner and I made the decision to buy a 500-square-foot fixer-upper cottage in the tiny town of Neversink, New York. Working on it constantly and enjoying all the peace and quiet it offers has been wildly gratifying, but as a food writer and recipe developer, I've honestly enjoyed eating my way through the Catskills even more.
So whether you're fueling up for a hike to Kaaterskill Falls, looking for a beverage or two after a refreshing dip in the Peekamoose Blue Hole, or simply seeking out more restaurants that match the impeccable vibes of the iconic (and worth-the-hype) Phoenicia Diner, you'll find some of the area's best restaurants, bars, and breweries below.
1. The Walk In (Livingston Manor, New York): Go for the best darn biscuits you've ever had in your life, stay for the impeccable vibes and friendly atmosphere...then go back whenever you possibly can to try every last Biscuit of the Week they come up with.
They bake their secret biscuits to golden brown, crispy perfection on the outside while somehow keeping the insides soft, impossibly fluffy, and full of more flaky layers than I could possibly count. It is, dare I say, the perfect biscuit. What are my credentials? Well, I've tried just about every iteration they've offered at this point, from the usual breakfast sandwich suspects to lamb and homemade herbed labneh. (And I clearly have the photos to prove it.)
Major bonus points are awarded to the interior itself, which is as charming as the food is delicious. You'll find everything from an upcycled vintage bar to a custom, biscuit-inspired neon light — both of which become vibrant focal points when 5 p.m. rolls around and this tiny biscuit shop becomes a full-out bar and dinner joint: the Stumble Out Bar. Whether you're in search of a quick pre-hike breakfast or an inventive, sit-down dinner (and a craft cocktail or two), you will absolutely find it here...and then some.
2. The Neon Croissant (Livingston Manor, New York): I'd be remiss not to mention the Walk In's sister business just across the street: a bakery that churns out, you guessed it, some of the most exquisite croissants I've ever laid eyes on.
Whether you're a Classic Croissant or Pain au Chocolat kind of person — I've personally been known to go both ways — you can't go wrong. I've even ordered their Ham & Cheese Croissants to go and heated 'em up in the oven for breakfast the next day, and y'all, that experience felt downright holy.
One last, very important tip: Order the Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie before you go...or several. In New York City, our cup runneth over with some of the most sought-after cookies in the country, from Levain to Chip City, but for a final hot take, the Neon Croissant's have become my new favorite. The combination of their signature crackly crust, a supremely chewy, light-as-air center, and a generous smattering of flaky salt makes for a cookie that you won't find anywhere else. So yes, order more than you think you'll need. (They won't go uneaten.)
Must-try: Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3.50), Classic Croissant ($5)
Website: The Neon Croissant