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RI Archives: Food

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Another Fork in the Road: A New Diner Off the Taconic Parkway

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Overqualified diner chefs Figgy DiBenedetto and Jamie Parry

“Lunch is the new dinner!” exclaims Jamie Parry, who once cooked fancy French food at three-star Montrachet in Manhattan before heading to the culinarily ambitious Swoon in Hudson. Now he’s making scrambled eggs, pancakes, cheeseburgers and club sandwiches at Another Fork in the Road, a new “finer diner” on Route 199 in Milan, about a mile west of the Taconic State Parkway.

Another Fork in the Road does not serve your run-of-the mill club sandwich ($6.50). This one’s made with local mushrooms, paprika mayo and local turkey “I drive down to Millbrook for the turkeys,” says chef/owner Figgy DiBenedetto, who is attempting to source locally as much as possible when she’s sure of a steady supply of menu staples.  For the burgers ($7.50), she’s using locally-raised beef and hoping that the weekday-contractor crowd will be willing to pay a slight premium for a better burger and hand-cut French fries ($2) made from real potatoes. “I want people to understand that the best way to preserve our rural environment is to support local farms which means you may have to pay a little more for food,” she says. “But it’s worth it in so many ways.”

Rural Intelligence FoodNeither DiBenedetto, who attended the Culinary Institute of America, nor Parry ever expected to be short-order cooks. “Jamie and I are still working out the grill thing,” she confesses. Earlier in the decade, when she owned the Red Hook fine-dining restaurant Mina, she was praised for her use of Hudson Valley ingredients and was asked to cook one of the prestigious Friday luncheons at the James Beard Foundation in New York City.  She and her husband, John, whom she met at the CIA, closed Mina three years ago when they decided to have a child and knew the demands of the restaurant business would make it tough to be good parents. And then tragedy struck when John was killed in a motorcycle accident. Now as a single mom,  Figgy decided that opening a breakfast-and-lunch spot called Another Fork in the Road was the best path for making a living doing what she loves while spending afternoons and evenings with her three-year-old son.  “We may open one night a month for dinner because Jamie and I love to do that type of cooking,” she says.

She wants the diner (which was the ill-fated La Cienega and before that a diner called Another Roadside Attraction that had lines out the door every weekend) to be a hangout, and she put two big sofas smack in the middle of the dining room and hung chic sheer curtains on the windows to soften the spare architecture. The diner serves breakfast all day, and lunch is available from 11:30 AM with soups, sandwiches— pulled pork ($7.50) and Croque Monsieur ($7.50)—and hot plates such as North Wind Farms fried chicken with mashed potatoes ($10),  Mac N’ Cheese ($7), and Veggie Shepherd’s Pie ($8). After one week,  the diner already has regulars, including Susan Orlean, The New Yorker staff writer, who lives in Pine Plains. “It’s gotten great word of mouth” says Orlean. “Funny how good food can really get attention. “

Another Fork in the Road
1215 Route 199; 845.758.6676
(about 1.4 miles west of the Taconic State Parkway)

Thursday - Saturday and Monday: 7 AM - 2:30 PM; Sunday 8 AM - 3 PM
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 05/27/09 at 12:06 PM • Permalink