Food News: Le Pain Not So Quotidien
by Scott Baldinger
Warren Street in Hudson is an uphill climb from its start at Front Street to its commercial finale a couple of blocks past Park Place. Luckily there’s a quality pit stop every half a block or so for pedestrians in need of lattes, iced coffees and epicurean carbo-loading sessions to help them along. Starting at the bottom of the hill on Front is Strongtree Coffee; once on Warren, there is the Swallow café /Loaf bakery complex; then Nolita, Le Gamin, and Parlor, mixed up with many breakfast and lunch establishments along the way. One glaring exception, however, has been the length of Warren from Front all the way to the middle of Third, where the quick coffee experience has been oddly absent.
This void is now being more than amply filled by the resplendently Francophile Café Le Perche, a bakery, café and full bar that will be open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight (10 p.m. weekdays). Even though the official opening won’t be taking place for another two weeks, at which time the café/bakery’s oven, a behemoth imported from France, will be fully operational, Le Perche’s Lisa Brickman says that she’ll be “here at 2 a.m. baking for the soft opening ” throughout this weekend, in another sizable kitchen in the front of the store.
Café Le Perche is the brainchild of Allan Chapin, a New York investment banker and Claverack resident who bought a 1830s former bank building on Warren Street last year. He was looking around for the right concept to restore it to its commercial roots when he met Pain Quotidien general manager Jennifer Houle at a Second Avenue branch that Houle had opened for the company. Soon after, he moved Houle to Hudson to work full time on the project; she, in turn, hired Brickman from Charley Trotters in Chicago, where she was working as a pastry chef.
The ground floor complex is being transformed so wonderfully that it could end up offering the menu from Denny’s, and it would still be a great place in which to hang. As they say, no expense has been spared, a veritable DoublahVay-Pay-Ah (WPA) injection of capital and man hours into the economy of Hudson and Columbia County. The dark woodwork on the walls and ceilings and the tile flooring, all original, have been carefully restored; the bar will be covered in zinc to look just like a Tabac in Paris; a garden is being extensively planted. The restrained rustic furnishings are from Hammertown in Rhinebeck. And then there’s that oven, one of only three in the United States,and so large it needed a building all its own—a former carriage house also being extensively refurbished in the rear of the property. It’s a sight worth seeing, even for those who have gone totally gluten free.
Café Le Perche
230 Warren Street
Sunday - Thursday, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 7 a.m. to midnight