Bartlett House: Newly Reborn As Kitchen, Bakery & Cafe
Photos courtesy of Bartlett House.
By Hannah Van Sickle Barrett
After 11 years of standing dormant, the three-story square Italianate-style brick building on Route 66 in Ghent, New York has been revived by a trio of entrepreneurs keen on curating a neighborhood destination known for its hospitality and old-world charm. Unyielding devotion to authenticity, craftsmanship and hospitality permeate the newly reborn Bartlett House Kitchen, Bakery & Cafe.
Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg have spent the past 25 years cultivating their passion for transforming everyday routines into sensorial rituals; the founders of the iconic oval-shaped Fresh soaps, in a new collaboration with partner Damien Janowicz, have their sights set on coffee, pastry and hospitality in an often overlooked corner of the Hudson Valley. For this trio, inspiration comes from 18th century French chemist Antoine Lavoisier’s sentiment, “Nothing is lost, everything is transformed,” beginning with the very building in which they have set up shop. “A destination that you actually name is one thing; a destination that already has a name is a whole other thing” remarks Roytberg of the historic railroad hotel built in 1870 and resuscitated over the past year.
In this case the destination, on an unassuming stretch of Route 66, is well worth the drive. Upon crossing a full-width front porch, and spilling through a pair of original mahogany swinging doors, “individuals are greeted as if they are coming into [our] home not into [our] business” says Janowicz. This old-world sense of hospitality is quickly nourishing the community.
The flour-laden surfaces visible through windows on the ground floor reiterate that this place is, first and foremost, a bakery. “As long as I’ve known Lev, he’s been dreaming of baking bread,” says Roytberg. This 26-year dream came to fruition in the waning days of August. Head Baker Craig Escalante’s ovens are turning out myriad offerings from traditional baguette and pain de mie pullman, to multigrain pullman, country sourdough and apricot currant walnut sourdough loaves. The bakery menu is punctuated by croissants — classic ($3.75), dark chocolate ($4) and twice-baked pistachio ($4) — as well as muffins ($3.75), running the gamut from a traditional whole wheat buttermilk blueberry to the seasonal zucchini and the exotic pear rosewater. Cherry cornmeal scones ($4) are a staple, along with dark chocolate chip cookies and candied lemon zest shortbread ($2.50). The sleek coffee bar serves up exceptional coffee sourced from Sightglass, a San Francisco-based company specializing in sustainable harvests, as well as a carefully curated selection of fine organic teas from Divinitea.
Executive Chef Amy Stonionis has a penchant for creating menus around local farms and artisan producers. Her breakfast menu includes yogurt, house-made granola and berries ($8), a farmer’s breakfast consisting of two farm eggs, breakfast potatoes, toast, choice of bacon, house sausage or vegetable ($9) and French toast served with strawberries, balsamic reduction pistachio, creme fraiche and mint ($11).
For lunch, the local bounty is transformed into Grains and Greens ($7) featuring kale, quinoa, radish with shallot dijon vinaigrette; burrata, basil, pea greens, olive oil and sea salt ($12); the more substantial chicken salad available as a sandwich or a plate ($9/10) made with creme fraiche, radish, dill and scallions; and the house-cured salmon ($12) served with horseradish, creme fraiche, cucumber, radish, dill, scallions and multigrain. For the more traditional palate, there is the Bartlett House burger ($14) served with aioli and fries, as well as a fried chicken sandwich ($10) that comes with red cabbage slaw, sweet pickles, chipotle aioli, on a house-made sesame bun. Bartlett House also offers a cold deli case with daily prepared specials for quick pickup.
The collective passion among Roytberg, Glazman and Janowicz translates as palpable energy; what ensues is a veritable hub of culinary creation, inspired by the area’s rich harvest. The convergence of these three is nothing short of “kismet,” a word they use to describe the fate of their meeting. “People are always drawn to authenticity” says Glazman and this sentiment, echoed by his partners, is what has allowed for them to simultaneously build a dream while nourishing the community in a place firmly rooted in the history of the Hudson Valley.
Bartlett House Kitchen, Bakery & Cafe
2258 Route 66, Ghent, NY
Thursday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.