The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Kingston, NY

Chefs have flocked to the former capital of New York to set up shop in elegant historical buildings. Here are some of the best restaurants in Kingston, New York.

Lola Pizza
Photo: Christian Harder

Kingston, New York, hasn't been this hot since the British burned it to the ground in 1777. Designated as New York's first capital in September 1777; the following month, the British incinerated it in retaliation for the Americans' victory at the Battle of Saratoga. During the 19th century, Kingston produced natural cement but synthetic cement killed that off at the turn of the 20th century and the city struggled again until 1956 when IBM opened a 2.5 million-square-foot facility there. Alas, IBM shuttered the plant in 1995, and Kingston's fortunes tumbled once again. In recent years, chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, and boutique owners have flocked to the city to set up shop in elegant historical buildings. This concludes our history lesson. Here are some restaurants in Kingston, New York, that will make a trip to Ulster County worth your while.

Hotel Kinsley and Restaurant Kinsley

Restaurant Kingsley
Nicole Franzen

Taavo Somer, the man behind Freeman's, a restaurant/bar/taxidermy display on New York City's Lower East Side, partnered with developer Charles Blaichman to open a boutique hotel and two restaurants. Blaichman was attracted to Kingston's distinct architecture and approached Somer, who lives in the Hudson Valley, about collaborating.

Hotel Kinsley is a comfy-chic 42-room hotel set in four historic 17th- and 19th-century buildings. Rooms have a mid-century modern vibe with high ceilings, marble bathrooms, and Smeg mini-fridges stocked with local treats.

Located at the corner of Wall and John Streets, Restaurant Kinsley boasts Chef Zak Pelaccio (of Hudson's James Beard Award-winning Fish and Game) as its consulting chef and features his take on New American comfort food. Located in the bank's former lobby, the large restaurant has plenty of room for social distancing and is decorated with potted plants and orange velvet settees. The space is surprisingly intimate given its soaring ceilings. A large print of George Harrison looms beatifically over the room. Somer has also converted 50 feet of the loading zone into a 30-seat outdoor space with heat lamps and planters filled with grasses and flowers. A highlight is Pelaccio's signature cheeseburger topped with cheddar, caramelized onions, and pickle aioli.


Lola pizza Interior
Christian Harder

Designed as a counterpoint to the more formal Kinsley, Lola is a casual Italian spot serving antipasti, pastas, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, and soft serve ice cream with a selection of toppings from Swedish fish to Amarena cherries. There are innovative cocktails like the smoky Night Animal made with jalapeño-infused mezcal, St. Germain, cucumber, and lime, and the Ray Davies made with amaro, sweet vermouth, and cola extract.

Kingston Bread + Bar

Bagels and Kingston Bread and Bar
Courtesy of Kingston Bread + Bar

Before committing full-time to bread at Kingston Bread + Bar, chef-owner Aaron Quint worked in tech during the week and at his Kingston Bread Lab on Saturdays. He sold bread out of his house and then at Rough Draft Bar and Books. In 2019, he partnered with Anthony and Amanda Stromoski, who own Rough Draft, to open an all-day bakery and bar. Breads include Upstate Levain (a half white/half whole wheat peasant loaf), classic sourdough, and a sourdough baguette. There's also a "Daily Lab Loaf" and Saturday's is Ancient Grain, a rotating loaf made with ancient grains like einkorn wheat, one of the world's oldest. All are available to go, as are housemade cocktails, local smoked salmon, and other provisions.

One of the pleasant surprises that Quint experienced during the pandemic is the demand for his sourdough starter. At the peak of sourdough mania, he sold 35 starters in a single day. The feedback from customers was amusing. "I got a few pictures of some beautiful loaves folks had made with my starter but I also got a few emails that were 'OK, I bought a starter. Tell me how to make this into bread,'" said Quint. In some ways, the pandemic forced him and his crew to focus on what was important and refine their product. As a result, he said, "I truly believe we're making the best bread and pastries we ever have."

Front Street Tavern

Front Street Tavern
Front Street Tavern

Frank Guido has had restaurants in Kingston for over 50 years; he's best known for Frank Guido's Little Italy, a family-style Italian restaurant, and Mariner's Harbor, a seafood spot where Frank Sinatra once passed out 50-dollar bills to the staff after dining there. One of his latest ventures, Front Street Tavern (opened in partnership with his son Mark), is a gastropub with a diverse selection of comfort foods. So far, business has been good, especially thanks to a fabulous rooftop deck. In addition to the weather-permitting rooftop, the elegant tavern has a welcoming bar and a large dining room. The menu features everything from pub standards like shepherd's pie and fish and chips, bang bang shrimp with sweet chili sauce, and pork schnitzel with cabbage.

Six more spots to check out

This list only scratches the surface. Rough Draft Bar and Books is located at Four Corners, the only intersection in America where the buildings on all four corners were built before the Revolutionary War. The rustic stone-walled building has bibliotenders who can recommend a beer, a snack, and a good book. Bluecashew Kitchen Homestead offers kitchen supplies and classes; Ester Wine specializes in spirits from boutique distilleries and biodynamic and natural wines; and Kingston Standard Brewing Co. serves craft beers alongside oysters.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles