Olde Hudson Wants To Do Your Shopping For You
“I was bored,” says Dena Moran when asked why she decided to open an antique-furniture/body-and-bath shop in Hudson in 2001. In Manhattan, she had worked with her husband Dick Moran in the domestic textiles business—designing, merchandising and selling. Initially, their house in Claverack had been a weekend place, but, “It completely seduced us,” she says. “We had flexible schedules, so every weekend, we’d stay longer. Finally, I decided it was time for a change. Then I discovered that being up here was fun but doing nothing was not. So I started the store in a tiny location with a mixture of everything I wanted in my own home.”
Within six months, Olde Hudson had outgrown both its original premise and its original premises. By the time she moved it to its present location on the north side of Warren Street, Dena found herself growing more interested in an aspect of the business that had begun almost as an incidental sideline with a small inventory of non-perishable food items—pastas, olives oils, jarred-spreads. “The turning point,” she recalls, “was after the move, when I bought an open-air refrigerator and started selling cheese.”
“I introduce a new cheese every other week,” Dena says. Among her best sellers: an Ossau-Iraty from the Pyrenees—“It’s a raw sheeps-milk cheese with a wonderful nutty flavor, but it’s not tangy like most sheeps-milk cheeses— it has a very smooth finish.” Another crowd-pleaser: a triple-creme, Rochetta, from the Piedmonte in Italy, which is made from three different milks—cow, sheep and goat.
Today, in addition to artisanal cheeses from around the world, Olde Hudson carries beef from the same purveyor that supplies Peter Luger’s famous steakhouse in Brooklyn, fresh breads from Grandaisy (formerly known as the Sullivan Street Bakery) in SoHo, Pastosa ravioli from Bensonhurst, and sopressata and fresh Italian sausages from another Brooklyn resource. They carry a full-range of top-of-the-line lamb, pork, veal, poultry, as well as fresh fish, a recent addition. It is among the few things in the food inventory that they have shipped to them. Most of her fresh stuff comes from New York City. “If you call me for a special cut of meat or fish, I can do that,” Dena says. “I’ve had special orders for monkfish, catfish fillets, flounder, and halibut. You have to pre-plan a little bit, but you’ll get what you want, and you’ll know that what you are getting is the best. The fish is purchased at auction, and I receive it the following day.” It always arrives on a Friday afternoon and is gone by the next morning.
“Unless you taste the olive oils from different regions and countries, you’ll never appreciate the differences between them. You need to take a sip without bread. In the summer, I do formal tastings, but at this time of year I’ll offer a customer a sip if I have a bottle open.
While Dena buys some things locally (Ronnybrook ice cream and milk, for example), she says, “I’m open to bringing in items regardless of where they are from. I can’t compete with the farmers’ markets, so I offer an alternative.” Her fish is as local as possible—salmon from the Bay of Fundy is one best seller, Block Island swordfish another. Cod and sushi-grade tuna are popular, too. In summer, when demand is higher, they carry sea scallops, which Dena describes as “fantastic; fresh, delicious, and sweet,” and shrimp.
Call it “local,” one step removed.
But why not just go the whole locavore route, “shake the hand that feeds,” and buy grass-fed beef from a local farmer. Dena says, “Our beef is grass-fed but it has a corn finish. Pure grass-fed beef tastes entirely different. The corn finish gives the meat more grain, so it’s juicier. The flavor is phenomenal.”
“It’s important for people to recognize that I am a local business, too,” she says, “This is about enjoying the good things in life and sharing them with others. It’s a great experience.”
434 Warren Street, Hudson; 518;.828.6923
Winter hours: Thursday - Tuesday 11 - 6