The Return of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week

Cell phones at the ready, foodies. Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back.

For those who have not yet dialed the reservation hotline, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, or HVRW, is a biannual event that takes place in spring and fall each year. This month’s celebration kicked off on the 12th and runs until the 25th of March. During that time, the region’s most celebrated restaurateurs band together to showcase their finest culinary creations for a prix-fixe price. Diners who visit participating restaurants can score a three course lunch for $22.95 or visit later in the day for a $32.95 dinner that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week launched in 2006 when Janet Crawshaw and Jerry Novesky, founders of The Valley Table magazine, collaborated with top food professionals to highlight the valley’s local bounty. Since its introduction into the community, HVRW has more than doubled the number of participating restaurants from the initial 70 to more than 200, according to the event website. Those numbers include eateries north, south, east, and west along the Hudson River, from Dutchess and Rockland counties to Orange, Westchester, and beyond.

So what’s the appeal? Consider the discounted prices and one-of-a-kind eats to start. Visit The Valley Table’s comprehensive list of participating eateries to see each location’s customized lunch and dinner menus. Often, chefs serve new or seasonal dishes that are available only during the two-week window as an incentive for diners to make a reservation. To reap the rewards of the fixed cost, visitors must order dishes that are included on the prix fixe menu. It is an ideal way to sample some of the finest cuisine the valley has to offer without racking up a frighteningly steep bill along the way. Notably, beverages, taxes, and tips are not included in the cost, although many restaurants do offer drink specials to pair with the HVRW specials.

For restaurateurs, HVRW is a unique opportunity to unite with fellow chefs and owners and spread awareness about upstate New York’s culinary scene as a whole.

“Restaurant Week is exciting for us because it signifies the return of spring in the restaurant world,” says Josh Kroner, chef and owner at Terrapin in Rhinebeck. “After a quiet winter, it gets diners excited about dining out in the Hudson Valley and gives chefs an opportunity to showcase our food and restaurants to new people.” He and Terrapin have been active participants in HVRW since its inception in 2006. This year, Kroner looks forward to serving popular dishes like the Barbecued Duck Quesadilla with Mango-Avocado Salsa and the new Venison Bolognese, made with venison raised locally at Highland Farm in Germantown.

To experience the best of the Hudson Valley’s food fare this month, the first step is to select a participating eatery and choose which day to visit for lunch or dinner. Some spots accept reservations through OpenTable, while others do so via phone. Although certain restaurants require a reservation in advance, it is recommended to inquire ahead, regardless, to confirm seating availability.

For 2018, the presenting sponsor of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is Hudson Whiskey, the upstate New York spirit concocted and bottled by Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner. In other words, you can expect Manhattans and Old Fashioneds to be shining stars at the bar. (See also companion article, “Farm to Flask,” on page 19.)

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week will not return until the end of October, so take advantage of the opportunity to eat local while it lasts. After all, it is the perfect excuse to celebrate a birthday, treat a loved one, or simply try out that new neighborhood spot that has everyone buzzing. Order up!

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