by Linda Viertel
What better way to enjoy a warm summer evening than to relax on the deck of a restaurant at the Hudson River’s edge, surrounded by the Tarrytown Boat Club Marina with a view of both the rising Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge and our very own Tappan Zee Bridge lit up behind it? Barley on Hudson, is the place. Locals will know the site as the former Striped Bass restaurant, a property owned and operated by the Tarrytown Boat Club, which held onto the property when the restaurant closed. And thank goodness for that!
When Bobby Harris and his partners, Liam O’Keefe and Christopher Surace, first heard from one of their regulars at their popular Barley House Restaurant and Tavern in Thornwood that the Boat Club was looking for a summer tenant, they called Commodore Burt Hurvich. He and Vice Commodore Jerry Gregory were excited at the opportunity, and, two weeks later, as Harris said,” A collaborative effort was made for us to be open by July 4th; it was important for us to be a part of the community on that day.” And, they opened with a bang – a packed outdoor seating experience for close-up viewing of the fireworks.
Since then, Barley on the Hudson has been a popular spot to enjoy casual dining, beer, wine or sangria, for lunch, or dinner with a leisurely viewing of spectacular sunsets on the Hudson. Diners line up to place their order at the outdoor kitchen, pick up their pager, find a table to settle in with a drink, and then get called to pick up their order.
Everything is prepared fresh to order in Barley on Hudson’s outdoor kitchen. Burgers are made with premium Pat LaFrieda beef – a blend of short ribs, brisket and chuck. You can build your own burger (beef, fresh turkey or veggie) with a variety of cheeses and toppings or enjoy the Barley House made with apple wood-smoked bacon. The Tzatziki Burger is a house-made turkey burger served with baby spinach, avocado, tomato, and tzatziki cucumber sauce. Signature presentations include the giant pretzel – a 10- ounce soft pretzel served with a warm amber beer cheese sauce and spiced brown mustard. Hand-made buffalo wontons combine roasted chicken tossed in buffalo sauce with sauteed peppers and onions folded into wonton wrappers. The crab cakes on spiced cole slaw are served with aleppo aioli and a balsamic glaze.
Main plates include the tuna poke bowl for those who enjoy a light dinner and sushi grade tuna slightly seared. The salad is a full mélange of avocado, scallions, cucumber, and fresh greens or a quinoa and couscous blend if requested, all sprinkled with sesame seeds, chili flakes and a sesame oil based dressing. Kids (and adults, let’s face it) can enjoy a Nathan’s hot dog or a fried chicken sandwich. Another favorite, the Wicked Tuna Sandwich – yellow fin tuna, smoked bacon, avocado and aleppo mayonnaise on whole wheat bread, seems to fly out the door – or would if there was a door.
Barley on the Hudson has a definite down-home, casual style: paper serving plates or bowls, disposable silverware, find your own table and serve yourself, which makes for an easygoing riverside experience.
Twelve beers are on tap, plus a variety of cans (no bottles due to breakage possibilities on the patio). Red and white sangria, served with blueberries, apples, strawberries, and grapes is “a drink and a snack altogether,” says Harris. The liquor license should arrive in August, so margaritas will be on their way soon! There’s room for 20 at the bar, with four 50-inch flat TV screens busy displaying the Mets and Yankees games. Twenty-five tables on the patio give 100 customers a chance to experience the majestic Hudson and Tarrytown’s scenic marina close up.
Many on staff, whether behind the bar, in the kitchen or keeping the patio in shape, are Tarrytown residents. “My hope is to be here for 20 years,” explains Harris. “Our immediate goal is to serve the community by doing a good job for people and serving quality food. But, come the fall we will start to work on the inside and do whatever needs to be done to create our interior dining space.”
And, thanks to the Boat Club volunteers and staff, boaters can now “dock and dine” for no extra charge. When the need arose, the Boat Club rearranged the docks to make it possible for boaters to tie up, place their orders and dine on board or at Barley on Hudson. A unique opportunity along Tarrytown’s shoreline.
No reservations are accepted on the patio—it’s first come first served. But when the restaurant opens in the fall, not only will reservations be taken, but Barley on Hudson will be available for special events, parties and catering.
The response to Barley on Hudson has been overwhelmingly positive. Starting with a collegial team effort in collaboration with the Boat Club to get the restaurant opened in such a short time – it took a village, as the saying goes. Now, our village is happy to have a new opportunity for laid- back shore dining and drinking in the dog days of summer and beyond.
If You Go
236 Green Street (next to Losee Park)