NYC restaurateur shares plans for beloved Swiss Hutte
Anyone taking over a hallowed institution expects scrutiny. When the spot in question is the beloved Swiss Hutte in Hillsdale, and the new owners have roots in Manhattan and Brooklyn at the very moment when city folks are flocking upstate, the skepticism meter spikes even higher.
But this is no acquisition. New owners Noah Bernamoff and Matt Kliegman, who purchased the property — a former stagecoach station near Catamount ski area — this spring, have been eyeing the restaurant and Alpine-style inn since before the pandemic.
Their trendy food bonafides precede them. Bernamoff co-founded Mile End Deli, which put Montreal-style bagels on the New York food map. Together, they also co-own and operate Black Seed Bagels, with eight locations in New York City, as well as separate bars and restaurants there (i.e. The Smile, Grand Army, Celestine, Smile To Go, Old Rose, The Jane Hotel Ballroom), but they’ve been living in the Hudson Valley on and off since 2013.
First they shared a weekend rental cabin outside Woodstock. Then, as they married and had families, they each relocated to houses in Germantown. Kliegman commutes, while Bernamoff and his family have lived there full time since 2017, not far from Otto’s Market, which he co-owns with another business partner.
“It’s trickier operating a business here than in the city. I have learned the ways of upstate through the lens of a grocery store. I understand the nuance,” says Bernamoff.
Bernamoff and Kliegman have been wanting to expand in the Valley — and have been researching accordingly. They’re especially drawn to Hillsdale as “it’s one part Berkshires, one part Hudson Valley, and is [roughly] equidistant from Boston and New York City, so it draws from two metro markets,” says Bernamoff. Also, it’s surrounded by farms, state parks, golf courses, and adjacent to Catamount ski resort, which makes Swiss Hutte a four-season property unlike other, far-from-the-ski-trail hotels that can struggle in the winter.
“It’s also a business that has operated successfully for a very long time. That’s what is attractive to us,” says Bernamoff.
With this in mind, the duo made an offer on Swiss Hutte last summer. The deal closed at the end of March, and the former owners, Cindy and Gert Alper, who operated the restaurant and inn for 35 years, shut down operation that month.