Rolling River Café owners dream big

Author: By Jay Blotcher
Posted: Monday, June 29, 2009

After a lofty restoration project Rolling River Café owners, Kim and Rob Rayevsky, started yet another venture of planning the Café’s eclectic food menu. 

Rob had always loved cooking at home for family and friends, and many times in the past friends had suggested his meals were good enough to be served to customers. But in such a small space – five tables inside, seven tables outside in suitable weather – the meals would also have to be small.

The Rayevskys had traveled to Spain two years earlier and had been enchanted by the bite-sized meals called tapas that offered variety and satisfaction to diners. But Rob’s culinary plans grew. His bill of fare at Rolling River café reflects the man’s adventurous palate and his wide-reaching creativity. “We serve Asian fusion, European and American,” he said. “A total mish-mosh.”

Rob’s signature dishes at the café include Andouille sausages, beef and chicken dumplings, paninis and Ukranian borscht in meat or vegetarian varieties. The emphasis is on locally grown and organic ingredients where possible. When they lived in Northampton, Rob and Kim belonged to a local food co-op and became committed to being “locavores” who eat organic goods.

“Now it’s obviously a trend,” Rob said, “but for me it is not just advertising; it is something I have believed in for a long time.” The Rayevskys planned a grand opening for mid-August for the inn and restaurant on the same day. “We wanted to open with a big bang,” Rob said. That ambitious schedule required a frenzy of activity that continued right up until the last minute. “We were opening and my daughter was still painting the stairs,” Rob said.

Word-of-mouth and some flyers distributed through the area brought the curious. But the food and hospitality kept them coming back. Travelers found their way to the Inn to enjoy the four guest rooms which are adorned in a hodgepodge of antiques from the Victorian era juxtaposed with some Mid-century Modern pieces, as well as photographs by local artists.

The guest book is now filled with numerous comments that praise the décor, the gardens and the comfortable rooms. Lodgers appreciate the European feel of the place, where the Rayveskys simply leave the key for late arrivals to check in on their own. But overall, satisfied customers emphasize the sense of peace and quiet afforded by this inn on the river.

Citing the WiFi service available in a building two centuries old, Kim said, “We try to be as cutting edge as we can, but with that country feel.” A commitment to local food is borne out by a pledge to feature local artists in the Rolling River gallery. Moreover, the Rayveskys plan to feature live music from local musicians in the café at night and on weekends and dancing underneath the stars. Everything at Rolling River, ultimately, will be “homegrown.”

The first few days of operation were chaotic ones. Rob and Kim Rayevsky had lofty dreams but their follow-through was sometimes lacking. Rob puts it more plainly: “It was fun, but also a nightmare, because we didn't know what we were doing; we were learning right on the spot.”

 

Jay Blotcher, an Ulster County-based writer, is completing the libretto of a new musical about 1960s Harlem, titled “Holding On.”

 

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