Gaskins: A Gathering Place for Locally Sourced Food in Germantown, NY
2 Church Ave | Germantown, NY
Taking a cue from quintessential meeting spots like old country taverns and heart-warming inns, Gaskins is Germantown’s newest gathering place for its close-knit community and riverside visitors. Featuring a seasonally-changing menu of mostly classic American dishes and comfort food favorites, owners Nick and Sarah Suarez have conceived a brilliant space where exceptional ingredients from nearby farms can shine. Gaskins may be less than two months old, but the restaurant is quickly becoming the Hudson Valley’s preferred meeting spot to feast, celebrate, and drop by for a friendly drink.
“By creating a restaurant where we support other small businesses and farms with our dollars, we feed and support the community around us in dynamic ways,” says Sarah. “We feel particularly fulfilled when the farmers who grow our food can come eat with us at the restaurant because hopefully it means we are helping to make their businesses more robust and successful with our purchases.”
In the wake of their wedding last summer, Nick and Sarah moved to Germantown after a year of looking for the right place to open their business, build a home, and start a family. “What drew us specifically to Germantown,” says Sarah, “was the tight-knit community, enthusiastic and supportive local business owners, and the serious need for a restaurant in a great town. We love living in Germantown because there is a vibrant main street where we can shop and run into neighbors, but we also get a great dose of country living with farm stands, abundant nature and our favorite—swimming holes.”
In addition to feeding and taking care of people, flowers are a noticeable passion of Sarah’s. Her stunning floral arrangements can be found all around the restaurant drinking up sunlight in windowsills and atop the bar. “I love the frivolous and fleeting nature of flowers, they just make people so happy,” she says. “We get ours from local farms including Tiny Hearts, Cedar Farm, and Whistledown, and one of our servers, Claudia Abbot Barrish, grows us flowering herbs at her farm, The Herbal Acre.”
The grass-fed burger has been a customer favorite this summer with beef sourced from Kinderhook Farm, cooked to perfection, and slid onto a house-made bun with pickles and a special sauce. “Nick and I are both burger addicts and as our friends will tell you, we put them through a lot of grueling recipe testing this past year,” says Sarah. “I really think the key to the burger is the delicious beef and the sesame seed bun that Nick bakes daily.”
“The scope of the project included a full renovation of the interior and exterior, a new storefront, the restoration of original hardwood flooring and custom millwork and furniture,” explains Sarah. “Designed by our friends at Studio Tack in Brooklyn, the space adapts and translates time-honored detailing and materials found in the Hudson Valley with an eye for simplicity.”
The drink list at Gaskins is comprised of spins on classic cocktails using seasonal ingredients, a beer list with a focus on small northeast breweries, and an international wine list focusing on small producers and wines made as naturally as possible. “The Negroni is one of our favorites and will always be there because it’s the perfect drink,” says Sarah, “but we’ve also been changing things up as the summer passes, adding drinks like a Pimm’s Cup with fresh cucumber puree and mint. We’re especially excited to feature beers next year from Suarez Family Brewery, as Nick’s brother is working on a production brewery in Livingston, just 15 minutes away.
“We can’t get enough of the beets from our neighbors at Hearty Roots Farm in Germantown. Nick roasts them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and serves them with creme fraiche, red onions, and pistachios. They are so sweet it could be dessert.”
When Nick and Sarah purchased the building a year ago, one of the few elements kept from the original kitchen was the wood-fired oven. “We use it to cook our wood-roasted mussels and clams, baked macaroni and cheese, and other foods that like the quick, high heat,” says Sarah. “We’re going to start experimenting soon with flatbreads and pizzas.”
“We think when you’re sourcing beautiful ingredients that have been raised with care, you don’t have to do much to make them shine.”
“It’s such a direct and immediate way to give people happiness and share your own. We all have to eat, and since Nick and I both love food ourselves, it comes naturally to want to share that passion with others. We get to invite people into a warm space that we’ve created and give them simple pleasure night after night. It’s so satisfying.”
“This a recipe that has passed hands from a few people, but I think Nick got it from our sister-in-law, Taylor, who is an incredible baker,” says Sarah, referring to the menu’s gluten free lemon polenta cake, its corn grown and milled fresh from Sparrowbush Farm in Hudson, NY. “Nick usually tops it with some simple macerated fruit and whipped cream.”