by Devon Walsh
It’s a lazy day in the mountains, and you’re hungry after an early morning hike. Is there really anything that will hit the spot quite like diner food? Even more so when that diner’s edifice transports you back to the sixties with its midcentury architecture and stools lined up in a row. But, we discovered recently, it turns out there is something better.
Phoenicia Diner on Route 28 in the Catskills possesses all that characteristic diner charm—the building itself was constructed in 1962 and the paper placemats serve as both menus and as a medium for local advertisements—and the grub is sustainably sourced. Phoenicia uses ingredients from surrounding farms in the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley as much as possible. This diner food isn’t just delicious because it’s greasy—in fact, it’s not that greasy at all.
Higher brow dishes like pole caught smoked trout with crème fraiche scrambled eggs and grass fed short ribs accompany staples like beer battered onion rings and a house-cured corned beef sandwich. Wash it all down with a delectably thick milkshake from ice cream made on site or a bloody with tomato juice and vodka from—you guessed it—nearby.
It’s highly likely that during your time there, owner Mike Cioffi will stop by your table to say hello and you’ll argue over who (between your table and him) deserves a thank you. The Sheepshead Bay native, and Cobble Hill transplant is new to the restaurant scene and remains alarmingly humble about the enterprise.
If you're beating the heat in the Catskills in the summer or working up a sweat walking in the fall, be sure to make Phoenicia your brunch destination. You won’t regret it! And, if you’re more partial to martinis than burgers, Cioffi’s Cocktails in the Catskills, off the main dining room opens its doors on Friday and Saturday nights.
Address details: 5681 NY-28, Phoenicia, NY 12464 (off Route 28).