Hudson House of Nyack serves rich food and history


Though Nyack is known for its wide selection of trendy bars and restaurants, there’s few spots with as rich a history, menu, and décor as the Hudson House.

Built in the 1800s, conflicting reports list 1881 or 1840 as the Main Street building’s opening year. Its upstairs originally served as the Village Hall, while a firehouse functioned on the downstairs floor. After a disgruntled fireman attempted to torch the place in the 1900s, the building became exclusively the Village Hall, hosting the town’s police department, water department, civil court, and even a few jail cells. This remained until the 1970s, when a pair of brothers opened a luncheonette in the recently emptied space.

It wasn’t until 1979, when famous NYC restauranteur Serge Raoul opened French bistro Raoul’s Village Hall in the space, that the location which would become the modern-day Hudson House began to take shape.

Fast forward to 1990, and Matt Hudson—then a 37-year-old bartender—had the idea that he wanted to open a restaurant. Feeling that he needed management experience first, he met with Raoul about the possibility of working for him; a conversation that didn’t turn out as planned.

“I came to Serge Raoul about the possibility of working for him as a manager,” Hudson recalled. “He offered a job to me but said I’d have to be available to him seven days a week. That started getting the ball rolling in my head. I thought, ‘If I’m going to work seven days a week, I’d rather work seven days a week for myself.’ So long story short, we ended up buying the business from him and leasing the property.”

Though Hudson and then-partner Amy Lehman had no previous experience running a restaurant, Hudson knew from his time as a bartender that they needed to provide his customers three things to succeed: “really good food, really good service, and great value.” By lowering the prices from the former restaurant, making desserts to keep a pulse on the kitchen, and serving as Maître d’ for the front of the house, Hudson quickly grew his namesake into the high-end New American eatery customers know today.

Thirty-three years later, it is a task Hudson says he could not have accomplished without the help of his talented staff.

“I knew what I had to do (to make the restaurant succeed), but I didn’t know exactly how to do it,” Hudson explained. “I knew what I was good at. I also knew that I’d have to surround myself with a team that made up for all my weaknesses…If it were up to me to pay the bills, we would have been closed in six months.”

Maris Hudson, Matt’s eldest daughter who became part of the Hudson House’s general management team in November of 2022, emphasized how proud she is to collaborate with her father.

“My dad is really, really good at what he does,” the younger Hudson said. “If you walk in and he doesn’t know you, there’s a very good chance he’s going to know you by the time you leave. There’s also a very good chance he’s going to know you the next time you come in.”

Whether customers come into the Hudson House for a bite of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (Grilled Hangar Steak and Hudson Valley Duck Breast being two) or for a dessert of Crack Pie, Hudson always does his best to make sure they leave satisfied.

“What I love is the fact that people really love and appreciate what we do here,” said Hudson. “They did before the pandemic, and since then it’s been about tenfold. When they get here, they say, ‘We couldn’t wait to get here!’ And when they’re leaving, they’re invariably happy with everything they experienced. So the satisfaction of doing a really difficult job well and getting a lot of love back…It’s so gratifying.”

Braised Beef Short Rib, photo by Daniel Silbert

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