The West Taghkanic Diner, on Route 82 just off the Taconic Parkway, at the Hudson/Ancram exit, had closed after being in business since 1953. We’ve been going there for occasional lunches for almost thirty years. While the food was not exceptional, it was a bit better than the average diner, and prices were quite low. I particularly liked the corned beef Reuben, and burgers were well-made. The building was thoroughly unaltered, giving it an old-fashioned charm.
The diner reopened last year under new ownership, after a thorough cleaning but with all the original features intact. Chef/owner Kris Schram, a Columbia County native and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, returned to his home region after working in major restaurants in the Napa Valley and Copenhagen. He focuses on locally produced ingredients and has created a limited menu of modern takes on classic diner specialties.
Though more expensive than it had been in its previous incarnation, it is still reasonable considering the quality of food, and it has become more popular than ever. Initially serving only breakfast and lunch, we had lunch there several times, and were excited when dinner was added recently.
We started with spicy chicken wings and a beet salad, moved on to Hudson Valley trout and roast pork shoulder. The food was not only delicious but also creative. For dessert, we had an excellent chocolate pudding. There is a nice wine and beer selection, along with cocktails. We drank a Snowy Night stout with dinner.
Lunch is also great, and they still serve a Reuben, though now it is made with pastrami.