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Breakfast at Rhodes North Tavern, in Sloatsburg

Breakfast Worth Stopping For, Before You Hike

Just a block from the Sloatsburg Train Station, and two miles from the trailheads at Reeves Meadow Visitor Center in Harriman.

I’m always so eager to start the morning hike that I’ve driven past Rhodes North Tavern in Sloatsburg countless times before noticing they’ve added breakfast to the menu.

But last week, I had nothing but time.  With little more than a lazy visit to the south end of Lake Welch planned, I finally noticed the sign: “Now serving breakfast!”.

Rhodes North is what you’d expect from a sleepy-town family-style restaurant tavern: warm, friendly, long-established, with a few surprises on the menu.  For breakfast, it’s a full offering, including omelets, eggs any way, fruits, waffles, pancakes.

See that little red basket they put on the table, automatically, with your coffee?  Try the somewhat-flattened pastry inside, once it cools down slightly.  It doesn’t look exactly like a scone (I’m told that’s what it is), but it’s the big surprise of breakfast.  It’s delicious.  It’s what a Pop-tart would be if your grandmother made it: piping hot, sweet but not overly, a crisp shell outside and a gently-yielding soft, berry-filled interior.  They serve it with every breakfast order.  If you feel guilty about eating the whole thing, bundle it up in a napkin, put it in your pocket and forget about it.  With luck, you’ll remember it’s there at just the right time: you’re well into your hike, sitting on a star-worthy viewpoint or in a lean-to and feeling a little snacky.  Ah: scone.

I always look for, and try, the dish on the menu I’ve never tried before — the local delicacy — so for me it was the Nova Scotia lox sandwich with capers, onions, and cream cheese.  Pefecto.  (Having just returned from Nova Scotia as I write this, I can say they couldn’t do it better themselves up there.) I need the protein, but not so much the carb high and subsequent crash that a pancake stack brings.   Half the sandwich I ate; the other half came along on the walk around Lake Welch.

I’m really glad Rhodes North Tavern has opened its doors on a breakfast that seems made for hikers.  That whole side of Harriman Park that runs along Route 17 is visited by travelers from the city who probably look for the total mini-escape experience: the drive to the countryside, breakfast served by a friendly, joking waitress with the pencil in her hair, and then on to the trail.  A civilized way to escape civilization for a weekend.

One day, Sloatsburg or Tuxedo will have more restaurants, better signs indicating the trails at the train stations, taxis that will happily shuttle you to the trailheads, and maybe even an small, local outfitter close to the train station and trails.  But for now, drop in on cozy, home-y Rhodes North Tavern, and tell me that isn’t a really good scone.

Rhodes North Tavern:

40 Orange Turnpike, Sloatsburg, NY 10974

Phone: (845) 753-6438

Hours:  Open 7am-3:59am daily.
Plenty of parking onsite; outdoor seating; free wi-fi; great place for kids, and hours that can’t be beat.
Nearest Harriman Park trailhead:  Reeves Meadow Visitor Center is about a two-mile walk from the tavern; from there, a number of trails can be combined to make for a hike of various lengths.   The Pine Meadow trail leaves from Seven Lakes Drive at 1.5 miles from the tavern.
Suggestion: Before you cash out, order up a cold sandwich and some veggies from the sandwich board to take with you.
This page was updated on May 30, 2014.

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