Ellenville's Number 1 Trip Advisor Restaurant: Aroma Thyme Bistro (845) 647-3000

Rt 52 taking up the mountain

Rt 52 taking up the mountain
Photo credit: Steve Aaron

One Awesome Blender


The Catskills Gets Its Groove Back, With Brooklyn’s Help

The gorgeous rural area, 100 miles outside New York, has languished for years—until now, with craft bars, cool inns, and ex-urbanite incomers looking to radically change their lives.
Suddenly, “the Catskills” is everywhere, branded and proud. First you notice the word on the cheese at the local greenmarket, then you try Catskills craft brew at your favorite pub, the Catskills then makes the news when its casino plans get the go-ahead, and finally you hear it when Governor Cuomo’s passes his anti-fracking legislation.

This sudden omnipresence also reflects the renaissance of the Catskills area itself: around 100 miles north-northwest of New York City, famously home to hundreds of decimated hotels, the Catskills is making a comeback in its own right. It even featured in a New York Times’ hotly anticipated list of must-go destinations in 2015.

Tourism statistics furnished by the Sullivan County Tourism Association only showed a 1-2% increase in regional room occupancy and revenue between 2013 and 2014 (which is on par with New York State’s overall averages, even when factoring out tourist-magnet New York City). So what has seemingly happened overnight to spark such an instant interest in a region that time had apparently forgotten?

“While it may seem like an immediate success to an outsider, for me it’s been 15 years of trying” remarks Sims Foster, 38, who was raised in the town of Livingston Manor in northern Sullivan County.

Foster and his wife Kirsten currently own and operate the Arnold House, a stylish 10-room inn that opened less than a year ago, and are hosting the area’s first ice fishing derby next month.

“The cheap real estate in the area is really compelling. There’s space for a dream project and plenty of fertile ground to explore your passions.”
“Many people have been working hard in the region for quite some time, but it’s not quite a tipping point we’re experiencing, it’s more that we’re finally reaching a critical mass of individuals choosing to be here, and everyone’s taken notice,” Foster adds. “We’ve reached a point of credibility.” And it’s taken many years for the Catskills to unfetter itself from the reputation of its previous avatar.

From the 1930s to the 1960s, the area thrived as a summer paradise that teemed with endless opportunities to escape the Big Smoke and enjoy the country air. “There were over 2,000 hotel rooms within a three-mile radius of Livingston Manor,” states Foster.

Most of the accommodation catered to the America’s northeastern Jewish population in the form of grand, all-inclusive fortresses. Unsustainable purchasing practices married with the proliferation of air conditioning and airfare meant a rapid decline in the area’s popularity, and soon nothing but the husk remained.

The next few decades proved rather quiet, further silenced by the fact that the region wasn’t (and still isn’t) serviced by public transportation. Yet born out of the cinders of the mammoth resorts that seemed so out of touch with the community were small local businesses, like sustainable small farming cooperatives—the seedlings of a homespun Brooklynization trend that, when eventually championed by an army of millennials, would take over the entire world.

“Millennials don’t know much about the history of the Catskills,” states Randy Lewis, one of the founders of the Catskill Brewery, which also opened in Livingston Manor less than a year ago.

“This new generation is interested in renewing the healthy lifestyle, eating good local food, and getting out of the city. It’s a natural fit for them. In fact I see tons of millennials at the brewery on weekends, coming up from their apartments in Brooklyn.”

“The Brooklyn influence is definitely present,” adds Foster, “I see traces of the North Williamsburg and Dumbo aesthetic everywhere.” Even Foster’s inn has a palpable Brooklyn-in-the-Woods vibe with ironic splashes of Formica paired with earnest arrangements of mid-century modern furnishings, vintage vinyl, and taxidermic elk.

And the trending beeline between Brooklyn and the Catskills grows unhampered by the lack of transportation infrastructure. In fact, the absence of public transit that once proved an obstacle is now a boon to the region in the form of wildly inexpensive land prices.

“The cheap real estate in the area is really compelling,” says Foster, who acknowledges that it might just be the last swathe of ultra-affordable land within 100 miles of the Big Apple. “There’s space for a dream project and plenty of fertile ground to explore your passions.”

Foster, whose been purchasing additional parcels of land with the help of his realtor brother, doesn’t see any current movement in the price of real estate.

However, Roberta Lockwood, the president of the Sullivan County Tourism Association, cites the major casino investment and the anti-fracking laws as the leading factors forecasting the growth of the local market. “People eager to establish a second home in the Catskills are again searching.”

“The long-debated rights to a casino has been a controversial topic for over 25 years,” states Foster, “and casinos are a controversial in general when weighing the net positive and net negative gains, but an outside investment of $650 million is undoubtedly a big factor in bolstering the Catskills’ credibility as well.”

For Foster and Lewis both, however, there’s one investment that’s tantamount to the county’s recent cash infusion: time.

“At the end of day it’s really not about the money, but about the energy people want to invest. When people see the local bakery, café and brewery they think ‘hey, there’s a foundation for me to build upon.’ I have friends in finance who could have a mansion in Bridgehampton but choose the Catskills instead” says Foster. “The area attracts those who have a desire to make an impact,” adds Lewis.

Robin Jones, 32, who currently resides in Brooklyn, is leaving her job in February to do just that—make her mark. After seven years working for a New York City-based NGO, she’s planning to open a bed and breakfast with her business partner and friend.

“I’m looking for a change of pace and a life with a bit more balance built in” she says. “I thought opening an inn was a novel concept in the area, and while I still think I’m ahead of the curve, I’ve seen a lot of places opening up in the last few months. I come from an economically depressed area of Missouri, and see a lot of similarities, but also a lot of opportunities in the Catskills,” she says.

“The Catskills often reminds people of where they are from, from before they moved to New York City,” says Foster, who draws parallels between the area and many of America’s other commercial centers that have felt the fragility of a capitalist boom-and-bust economy over the years.

“What’s happening now is exactly what happened after all the old tanneries closed well over a century ago,” adds Foster. “The tanneries took all the trees, and the barren region needed some time to regrow before it could become a summer-land”, referring to the 500-some hotels that catered to Jewish vacationers.

“Then those cruiseship-y hotels burned hot, could not adapt, and died. And we’ve been going through another period of regrowth ever since.”

“The Catskills is becoming a new brand,” explains Foster. “We’ve swapped gefilte fish with locally cured bacon.”


Pre Valentine's Day Pre-Fixe Menu ,Dessert First Menu | Sunday February 8th to Thursday 12th

Pre Valentine's Day Pre-Fixe Menu ,Dessert First Menu

Sunday February 8th to Thursday 12th 
$29.99 per person
$44.99 paired with three wines
For reservations: 845-647-3000

Hey love birds, it’s that time to make your Valentine’s Day plans again. But we’re all tired of doing the same old things, aren’t we? How can we make this year especially romantic and memorable? Why not try the Dessert First Menu at Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, and really set the mood?
Let us  get your palate jump started with a bite of dessert first

Choice of one 

Artichoke & Bean Soup 

Arugula & Pomegranate Salad
 Goat Milks Feta Cheese 

Choice of one 

 Coffee & Cacao Grilled Pork Steak
Black Beans & Rice 

 Bourbon Honey Glazed Chicken

Jerk Seared Catfish Filet
Plantain Tostones

Four Mushroom Penne Pasta & Peas  
Organic Dellalo Whole Wheat Pasta


Why we chose some of the foods:
Chocolate is sensual, from its taste to its aroma, but dark chocolate has also been shown to cause a spike in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure.

With its phallic shape, bananas already look like a feel-good food; but they also contain bromelain, an enzyme which Dr. Oz says triggers testosterone production, and the fruit's potassium and vitamin B elevate energy levels.

Honey is made through pollination and is a symbol of procreation. Birds and bees ring a bell? In fact, the word 'honeymoon' got its name from mead, an alcoholic beverage made from honey given to the happy new bride and groom. It also contains boron, which helps regulate estrogen and testosterone levels and provides a natural energy boost.

The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant that ups the heart rate and makes the blood flow. One study conducted with female rats and published in the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior suggested that coffee could put women in the mood for sex.

According to gourmetsleuth.com, this peppery plant has been documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D. The minerals and antioxidants found in dark leafy greens like arugula have also been proven to block environmental contaminates that could negatively harm libido, says Dr. Walt Larimore MD, a medical journalist, author and physician. 

This veggie's aphrodisiac reputation comes mostly from legend and the intimacy of eating it with another, pulling off the leaves to reach the center. But it is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which are critical to proper body function and blood flow.

These bright gems enclosed in a thick rose husk are filled with antioxidants which support blood flow. One study by The Male Clinic in California found that pomegranate juice had a positive effect on erectile dysfunction.

Sourced from Readers Digest: www.rd.com 

About Aroma Thyme www.AromaThymeBistro.com 
Aroma Thyme bistro opened in 2003 in Ellenville, NY, where the Catskills meet the Hudson Valley. Being green minded since day one, Aroma Thyme was the first Certified Green Restaurant© in upstate New York. Aroma Thyme has one of the best stocked bars with 250 craft beers, 250 fine wines & 250 boutique spirits.  The restaurant is all about supporting local, but beyond that they pride themselves in small independent brands from all over the globe.  This purchasing philosophy encompasses bar and kitchen alike.  “We want to help a family pay for dance lessons for their daughter rather than a CEO's third vacation home”, says owners Jamie & Marcus Guiliano.  Marcus Guiliano is an award winning chef who was named “One of the Five Top Food Activists Making a Change” from One Green Planet. This award, along with many others, is evident from the gourmet sustainable socially responsible cuisine Aroma Thyme serves. The restaurant has also been flooded with wards ranging from “Best New Restaurant”, “Best Organic Restaurant”, “Best Beer Events”, Wine Spectator “Award Winning Wine List” and Trip Advisors number one restaurant in their area. Aroma Thyme pleases carnivores and vegans alike.  There is plenty of options for every diet and taste.  Chef Marcus has several a great blogs that are a must to check out, ChefonaMission.com (his main one), NoFarmedSalmon.com (you will never eat farmed salmon again) and his award-winning business blog at 50Mistakes.com. Reservations are always accepted at (845) 647-3000.     

About Aroma Thyme: http://www.hudsonvalleysbestbar.com/
Aroma Thyme has had a Wine Spectator Award-winning wine program since 2003.  It has been their mission to source independently produced wines from all over the world. 
“I love wine” says Chef/Owner Marcus Guiliano. “I taste every single wine that I buy.  I want to make sure I know what we are representing.  I am constantly learning something new in the world of wine. 

Chef Guiliano does not discriminate regions or varietals.  There is a strong focus on New York wines.  Everything from South Africa, France, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, California, Austria, Germany, Australia and South America have a presence.  All prices ranges are represented. 

Besides wine, Aroma Thyme has one of the best stocked bars period.  The craft beer menu spans over 250 independent craft beers from all over the world.  The list has many hard to find and aged verticals of beers. Plus there are over 300 independently produced spirits.  “The extensive bar selections shock everyone.  We take a lot of pride in hand picking our wines, beers and spirits,” exclaims Chef Guiliano. 

Aroma Thyme is Three Star Certified Green© by The Green Restaurant Association. 
Chef Guiliano has been an advocate for over 15 years on healthy, sustainable, local & real food. Zagat says “Stealth Health”. He found his mission in cooking when he reversed a handful of medical conditions including 28 years of asthma. For more information visit www.chefonamission.com. www.aromathymebistro.com.

About Aroma Thyme: www.WhereBeerDrinkersGo.com 
Aroma Thyme has been the leader of the craft beer restaurants in the Hudson Valley. Aroma Thyme opened in 2003 with a firm dedication to true craft beer. “Since day one I have gone out of my way for great independent owned craft beer”, says Chef/Owner Marcus Guiliano.  The beer list has grown to over 250 beers without the big brands that fill most restaurants lists. But it’s not only beer at Aroma Thyme, it’s all about having one of the best stocked bars with independent producers. The Bistro has an award-winning wine list from Wine Spectator Magazine. Aroma Thyme is Three Star certified green by The Green Restaurant Association.  

Chef Guiliano has been an advocate for over 13 years on healthy, sustainable, local & real food. Zagat says “Stealth Health”. He found his mission in cooking when he reversed a handful of medical conditions including 28 years of asthma. For more information visit www.chefonamission.com.www.aromathymebistro.com.

Open Mic Night with Tony Moza | Friday, February 6th ,2015, 10:00 PM

What: Open Mic Night
Where: Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville
When: Friday, February 6th ,2015, 10:00 PM
Details: Starts at 10 pm, come early to sign up!

Host: Tony Moza

It's Open Mic Night again at Aroma Thyme Friday,  February 6th ,2015 10 pm!!

It's that time of the month again, for the ever so popular Open Mic Night at Aroma Thyme Bistro. All are welcome to Open Mic nights. This has become a monthly tradition at Aroma Thyme for the past three years. We have seen some incredibly talented acts. We are constantly amazed from locals to people that travel up to an hour to perform. ...Of course we have our regulars, which we love. And there's always a new act of some sort to welcome each month.

Take a look at these past performers at Open Mic night:

The kitchen is open until midnight for everything from small bites to a full dinner. Plus the bar is well stocked with Small Batch Bourbon's, elegant Single Malt Scotch, almost 200 beers, over 250 wines and a trendy martini menu.

Smiley Road Run, Stony Kill & High Point #5

Smiley Road Run, Stony Kill & High Point #4

Smiley Road Run, Stony Kill & High Point #3

Smiley Road Run, Stony Kill & High Point #2

Smiley Road Run, Stony Kill & High Point #1


Sam's Point Preserve Closed for Winter Season

The Nature Conservancy has announced that effective Thursday, January 1st, 2015 Sam’s Point Preserve will be closed during the months of January, February, and March. Sam’s Point Preserve will reopen in April 2015 under new management. Sam’s Point Preserve will be part of Minnewaska State Park Preserve and operated by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and The Palisades Interstate Park Commission effective April 2015. Should you wish to visit the region during the winter season, please consider Minnewaska State Park Preserve. For information on permitted activities and conditions at Minnewaska, please call 845-255-0752 or visit www.nysparks.com. The Nature Conservancy apologizes for any inconvenience.


Asian Heritage Month at Aroma Thyme

January is Asian Heritage Month and Aroma Thyme is celebrating.  
Join us for some great Asian inspired food until the end of January.


Vegetable Miso Soup
South River Organic Miso & Organic GMO Free Tofu 

Wasabi Potato Chips
Made from Organic Potatoes! 

Spring Rolls
Fresh Vegetables wrapped in a Rice Paper 

Hot Dogs & Kimchi 
Pineland Farms Hot Dogs, No Added Nitrates 
WildBrine Kimchi, wild fermented (no vinegar) 


Korean Braised Brisket
Joyce Farms Grass-fed Beef

Grilled Mahi Mahi, Teriyaki Glaze
Wasabi Mash Potatoes 

Sesame Crusted Tofu Hot Pot
Wildwood Sprouted Organic Tofu

Malaysian Tamarind Braised Chicken & Fried Rice
FreeBird Chicken 

Szechuan Glazed Pork Steak 
Compart Farms Duroc Pork

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