By GARRETT MONTGOMERY
Whether you’ve had to pile in the car and head to Hudson or take a ride to Red Hook for a dinner out, Germantown has conspicuously been lacking its own communal restaurant for too long. On June 20, that is set to change with the grand opening of Gaskins, an eatery that will serve up moderately priced comfort food featuring local ingredients.
The owners, Nick and Sarah Gaskins, are thrilled to open a gathering place for the community where locals and weekenders can dine together and, as they will be residing above the restaurant, they point out that they’re here for the long haul. I got a chance to ask them a few questions about Gaskins. Here’s what they had to say.
GM: Tell us a bit about yourselves
N&S: We were married last summer and moved to Germantown in July after a year of looking for the right place to start our business, build a home and start a family. I grew up in Orange County, NY, and Nick grew up in Westchester and CT. We started looking in Columbia County for a place to open because we loved the proximity to incredible local farms. What really drew us to Germantown was the tight-knit community, enthusiastic and supportive local business owners and the serious need for a restaurant in a great town. We've both worked in restaurants for a long time, but we also share a huge passion for wine and beer and cocktails.
GM: What is Gaskins' mission statement?
N&S: Gaskins is a gathering place for the community and an extension of our home. The food we serve uses exceptional ingredients from nearby farms, but just as importantly, is nourishing and satisfying. We aim to be a haven; a place you can feast and celebrate or just drop by for a quick beer.
GM: Why will Gaskins be here for many years to come?
N&S: We think Germantown is full of energy and spirit and needs not only a restaurant, but also needs a place to gather. We look forward to being that place for many years to come. We have made lots of decisions around the renovation and style of the restaurant that we think will keep it around for the long haul.
GM: Tell us about the menu.
N&S: The menu will be frequently changing and will definitely vary with the seasons. However, there will always be staples and things you come back for like our grass-fed burger, fried chicken, homemade pasta and chocolate ice cream. We also have a wood-burning oven in the kitchen and that will be a highlight of many menu items like wood-roasted mussels & clams. Our style is comfort food using ingredients from as close as possible. The price range will be $8-$24 with lots of moderately priced items in the middle. We want people to be able to have a quick and affordable dinner or an elaborate three course meal.
GM: What type of atmosphere will Gaskins have?
N&S: An atmosphere that is both comfortable for fourth generation locals and NYC weekenders is exactly what we were going for. We like to think it feels like a tavern or a meeting place, something timeless and classic. You'll just have to come in and see because they already have been breaking bread together during our soft opening.
GM: Tell us about the staff.
N&S: We did a soft opening of family, friends and other local business owners so our staff could train. Our neighbors right next door are working at the restaurant and I might have heard a rumor that one of our servers was crowned Germantown Prom Queen a few years ago...
GM: Do you have any extra-curriculars or special nights planned, now or in the future?
N&S: We definitely want to do special nights in the future, especially over the winter. We are already scheming Sunday afternoon clambakes on the back porch for this summer.
GM: Elaborate a little on the process of opening the restaurant from beginning to end, specifically doing so in Germantown.
N&S: We really wanted to take care of the building we purchased and keep our business robust and viable. We've dreamed and schemed about the design of our own place for years and this was the most fun part. We were lucky to work with our friend Leigh Salem from Studio Tack, a great team of contractors, Threshold Builders, and, while it was a long journey from November until June, we feel so happy we did it right. Everyone in town was so encouraging, curious and supportive. We worked with the doors open and met so many people over the construction period. Living upstairs above the construction zone had its hard moments, but mostly we loved being right there to see each part of the transition.
GM: How many people will the restaurant hold?
N&S: Our indoor capacity is 75 and our outdoor is 15 on the front deck and 30 on the back. The back deck will just be for drinks and relaxing to start, then we'll serve dinner there eventually. We have a full bar and you can dine at the bar as well.
GM: Is there anything else you want us to know?
N&S: Nick's brother and sister-in-law, Dan & Taylor are opening a mom & pop production brewery in Livingston, just 15 minutes away. We're excited to have family nearby and to carry their beer at Gaskins. Check out Suarez Family Brewery.