40 Cannon in Poughkeepsie has been rejuvenated and repurposed
by Pawling residents Jim and Gina Sullivan.
Recent revitalization efforts in downtown Poughkeepsie are beginning to bear fruit. This Dutchess county town of 30,000 is becoming worthy of a second look for nearby residents, those who perhaps want to dip their toes in an urban environment for the day without making a trip into Manhattan.
Mainstays like the Bardavon and the Mid-Hudson Civic Center have always drawn visitors, and now older industrial buildings are being repurposed to create hip new spaces like The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, which hosts a coffee shop, lofts, art studios, and other venues.
About six years ago, with a project like that in mind, Pawling residents Jim and Gina Sullivan purchased the once fabled King’s Court Hotel building on Cannon Street in downtown Poughkeepsie. In its heyday in the first half of the twentieth century, the hotel housed visiting business people from New York City and artists performing at the historic Bardavon Theater, located just around the corner. In the 1970s, having lost its luster, the hotel was converted into apartments. The building was damaged by a fire in 2011 and remained unoccupied until the Sullivans purchased it in 2013. “When you came into the building you could look up and see the sky,” says Gina Sullivan’s sister Lillie Muscente, who now runs the coffee and gift shop on the first floor.
Last year, after five years of work, the building was fully restored. Named for its address, 40 Cannon is the tenth Poughkeepsie property renovated by the couple’s company, the James J. Sullivan Corporation. Exposed brick walls, a marble staircase and many other original architectural details were preserved, and modernizing touches like concrete countertops, solid wood cabinetry, and contemporary fixtures were added to blend the old with the new. The luxurious apartments, some with stunning views of the Hudson, went on the market last summer and almost all were promptly snapped up. Commercial space on the first floor is now occupied by a gallery, a wine bar, a brewery, and the latest addition, the aforementioned Café 40 & Co., which opened in early April.
Writing in a recent issue of Chronogram magazine, Anne Pyburn Craig says Sullivan’s project provides “a nice case study of mixed-use urban redevelopment done right.” Gina and Jim Sullivan were given a Hudson Valley Magazine Hero Award in appreciation for working closely with the community and drawing on local labor to complete the renovation.
The 40 Cannon website lists these other conveniences: laundry rooms on each floor, outdoor spaces, grand lobby, gym, sauna, library, bike loaners and storage, pop-up shops, and a yoga space. The lucky residents of 40 Cannon need only go downstairs to enjoy the public amenities, but without a doubt the brewery, gallery, wine bar and coffee shop are sure to attract people from neighboring parts of the city, and even out-of-towners.
King’s Court Brewery, operated by Caroline Bergelin and Cortlandt Toczylowski, has an airy, family-friendly (check out the board game stash) vibe, from the well-lit front, straight through the exposed-brick-lined space to the outdoor courtyard in the back. To keep customers interested in coming back for a new taste experience, King’s Court has twenty beers on tap and rotates its selection, introducing a new one every Thursday. They are committed to offering a wide range of flavor profiles, not just for their patrons but to help push themselves to keep exploring new brews. “Craft beer is such an evolving market, and our goal is to keep putting out new and creative styles that set us apart,” says Bergelin. “We don’t have a signature beer, and we’d like to keep it that way.” Although they’re relatively new on the local beer scene, King’s Court beers have already garnered two medals at the NY State Craft Brewers Festival in Albany. Bergelin credits Toczylowski, who has eight years of experience working in California breweries and a master’s degree in Brewing from the University of California at Davis.
Plans for a kitchen are in the works, but in the meantime some snacks are available at the bar. The owners also encourage customers to patronize the food trucks that will be located nearby on Saturdays this summer. King’s Court also features live music – check their website or Facebook page for upcoming events.
If it’s too early in the day for a beer, step inside the homey Café 40 & Co. for a toasted coconut latte or an avocado toast. Owner Lillie Muscente dreamed of opening a giftware shop in St. Augustine, Florida, but wasn’t quite ready to be that far away. She appreciates that 40 Cannon is a family business. Her sister and brother-in-law have their office across the hall, and her son Nick, who has an extensive restaurant background, runs the café during the week. Says Muscente: “My mom owned Corinthian Beauty Salon in Kent, and my kids grew up at ‘the shop,’ and they loved going there. It means a lot to me to see my four-year-old grandson excited to go to the café and see his dad at work.”
Tasteful decor and lighting is complemented by a small but well-curated choice of jewelry, bags, pottery and other gift items. Café 40 also carries a selection of gifts produced by local artisans and small businesses like Hudson Beach Glass and Pawling’s own Blue Olive.
The private and cozy atmosphere and appetizing selection of snacks and beverages make it the perfect place to enjoy panini with a friend or just get comfortable on your own with a book or laptop and a specialty coffee drink. Café 40 also stocks vegan and gluten-free options from local vendors, EmmyD’s and Madbatter.
Muscente is excited to be part of the collective of other businesses at 40 Cannon and will be collaborating on special events: “Together with King’s Court Brewery and 1915 Wine Cellar, we are all working to make our businesses and 40 Cannon a destination.” Next up is the First Friday Poughkeepsie Kick Off event, which takes place on Friday, May 3. The Cinco de Mayo-themed, citywide food, art and music celebration will take place from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in downtown Poughkeepsie. The after party will be at 40 Cannon beginning at 8:30 p.m. There will be live music and specials at the café, brewery, and wine cellar.
“The local response has been wonderful,” says Muscente. “We are grateful for all of the support from the residents at 40 Cannon and the local businesses and organizations. We are off to a fantastic start and are very excited about the future!”
Currently Café 40 & Co. is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They’ll be extending the hours soon, so follow them on Facebook or Instagram, or check their website at Cafe40Co.com for updates. King’s Court Brewery is open Thursdays and Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can find more information about the apartments and links for all the 40 Cannon businesses at 40Cannon.com online.
Café 40 & Co. offers trendy coffees in a chic setting.
King’s Court Brewery has twenty selections on tap.