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Photo Courtesy of Hudson's Cafe Mutton

Cafe Mutton Shines a Delicious Light on Local, Sustainable Fare in Hudson


With a local, seasonal, and meat-centric approach, cozy Cafe Mutton brings deliciousness to Columbia Street.

Shaina Loew-Banayan, chef and owner of Hudson’s Cafe Mutton, brings an impressive pedigree and an impish sensibility to this charming, sunny 25-seat corner spot. A graduate of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration who has worked in several high-end kitchens including Eleven Madison Park (Manhattan), Fish & Game (Hudson), and the Bartlett House (Ghent), Loew-Banayan has always been fascinated by “more traditional and rustic food,” with a focus on meat. However, the café’s broader focus “is this sort of whole system idea,” explains Loew-Banayan, which involves vegetables and everything in between. This is seen in the café’s scones, made with light buckwheat, “an underappreciated crop.”

Prompted also by an interest in sustainability, Loew-Banayan felt the restaurant’s name was a lighthearted way to express a “focus on things that are a little bit less valued in society. When we know what to do with some more random and lesser-known cuts and meats and older meat like mutton, that’s when we’re making our food system whole.”

Cafe Mutton’s take on using lesser-known cuts of meat has prompted dishes like scrapple and eggs, a tribute to Loew-Banayan’s meat- and scrapple-loving grandfather. Scrapple usually gets a bad rap, but I use “nice, quality pig heads from the best farm around,” says Loew-Banayan. “Still, it’s pretty funny how much people are into this.” The pork is sourced from nearby Kinderhook Farm; produce is from Ironwood and MX Morningstar farms.

Loew-Banayan serves breakfast and lunch, a daypart she felt was underrepresented in Hudson’s restaurant scene but does offer happy hour and dinner on Fridays (check @cafemutton for the menu).

The Poo Driver—the restaurant’s take on a screwdriver featuring prune juice, vodka, and Fernet-Branca—is a signature drink that’s become a cult classic, and illustrates the playful, quirky vibe Loew-Banayan seeks to encourage. “Our focus is purely on the flavor and making people feel like they came in and had something so good, it brightened their day.”

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!