CONGERS, N.Y. - When Mark Crescenzo and Larry Adler opened The Station Kitchen and Bar just over a year ago they envisioned occupying a particular niche in Congers.
“Our goal from day one was to be a great neighborhood restaurant,” Adler said.
And it appears they’ve found the right formula on North Rockland Avenue, just across the train tracks from Congers Station Park. With varied takes on comfort food and a drink menu that boasts some unique infused cocktails, the aptly-named Station Kitchen and Bar has quickly become exactly what the owners hoped it would.
The secret to this? A warm atmosphere, “fine dining service without the pretense”, and a combination of varied comfort food and items people don't see everyday.
The restaurant was included on two Neighborhood Gem lists compiled by OpenTable, a restaurant-reservation company. Last quarter The Station was ranked the number one neighborhood gem in the Hudson Valley, and the number 10 neighborhood gem in the tri-state area on OpenTable.
“We were welcomed into this community with open arms. It was quick, it was fun,” Crescenzo said. A frequent observation diners make about the restaurant: it’s like eating in their kitchen.
Both Adler and Crescenzo have spent enough time in the restaurant business to know how to realize their vision.
Crescenzo grew up in Stony Point and remembers bussing tables as early as 12 years old. He then spent a decade serving and bartending in the restaurant business before he went into real estate for 11 years.
After making his return to the restaurant world, Crescenzo reconnected with Adler at a restaurant Adler ran in Pomona—the pair knew each other from Scuzi, another restaurant Adler owned that Crescenzo had worked at—and got to talking about doing their own thing together.
The search for the right spot began in 2012. Eventually the pair found their way to 17 North Rockland Ave., a building with its own local history.
“We were welcomed into this community with open arms. It was quick, it was fun."
Built in 1885, the building served as the original train station for the Erie Railroad. After that, the building was Mayo’s Hotel, a longtime Congers institution and then Grand Central.
“We liked the area. We thought that one of the major things we could [do] is kind of fit right into the area,” Adler said.
The restaurant prides itself on it’s “sea-to-table” approach, bringing in fresh fish daily along with locally-sourced ingredients that are incorporated into menu items.
They even infuse their own liquors. Right now, the most popular infused drink is the Spanish Manhattan: bourbon, Pedro Ximenez, bitters, and Spanish sherry and cask-aged for at least two weeks, and sometimes as long as a month.
The must-try dishes at The Station include Sea Scallops with Fall Hash (sea scallops, brussel sprouts, roasted peppers, bacon, and sweet potatoes); Chicken Limoncello (chicken cutlet topped with asparagus, parmesan cheese, baked in lemon wine sauce with a touch of limoncello); and the Cioppino, a combination of lobster, shrimp, crabmeat and scallops with fennel and onions in a light tomato broth.
Standout drinks include the Adult Lemonade (muddled mixed berries, fresh lemon, and Italian gin); the Spanish Manhattan; the House-made Irish Cream; and Fall Sangria with fresh apples and pears. And the pair also have a wine program with variety.
Ahead of opening last year people would stop during the renovations to see what was going on. One sentiment they shared was excitement that a neighborhood restaurant was coming back. “And they didn’t lie,” Crescenzo said.