404 Main St, Rosendale, NY 12472
845-658-7175 • thebigcheeserosendale.com
They have a saying at this month’s Great All American Diner Run: Explore the Divinity of Cheese and Nourishing Mediterranean Food.
The Big Cheese was a serendipitous find while on a 300-mile day trip that we stole in late July. With a very spring-like day, temps in the low 70's and not much in the way of humidity, we went searching for people, places or things to fill the pages you are now reading.
What, you think Backroads creates itself?
Cruising into the town of Rosendale, once the concrete capital of the world, we were both heading towards the bad side of hangry. The town has several restaurants, but it was The Big Cheese that grabbed both our attention and, with a spot right across the street, we parked and sauntered inside.
As we got close I read the sign: Café', market, Mediterranean…and Canal Town Thriftique.
They also claimed to serve Darn Good Coffee. Indeed, they did.
The Big Cheese is more than just a place to get a bite.
Doing a bit of research back at home I learned more about this unique town and local-conscious shop.
‘The best little venue to explore the divinity of cheese, Mediterranean foods, fresh salads, deli, groceries, Kombuchas, eat-in, take-out, breakfast, lunch, dinner, movie snacks, chocolates, coffee, WiFi & vintage selections!’ Phew, that a lot of goodness in one place; lucky us.
Yuval & Lisa Sterer run a wonderful little restaurant that boasts good, healthy, nutritive food, local farm-fresh goods, juices, cheese from around the world along with a delicious menu of fresh salads, deli foods to gourmet goodies, freshly made Middle Eastern fare, and some of the most inventive and scrumptious sandwiches this side of the Hudson. The a.tmosphere is unique, warm inviting, and friendly.
They also run an eclectic second-hand store within the restaurant. You can get a superb lunch and then do a little bit of shopping You will find books, kitchenware, and unique clothing. Really nice clothing by the way!
From the moment we stepped through the threshold we were encircled with the most wonderful aromas. Think the best deli, cheese shop, and market all mixed together with a strong dash of The Med.
The women that were behind the counter were very friendly and were very patient as we took a long time to finally decide on what we wanted from their strong and inviting menu.
Their cases are filled with inviting Mediterranean dishes such as stuffed grape leaves, spanikopita and labaneh along with more hot and cold appys and entrees. The cold cases house the amazing assortment of cheeses, along with other dairy products.
If you are a breakfast anytime person, they can do that for you, with such dishes as the Israeli: scrambled eggs with fresh greens, tomato and olives with raw tahini drizzle and a za’atar sprinkle or perhaps the New Yorka: two scrambled eggs with NY State smoked lox and onions and a side of horseradish labne.
They have a very delicious pizza made with either Turkish pide bread or gluten-free cauliflower mozzarella crust with a blend of olive oil, ajvar, fresh wilted greens, sliced black olives and a choice of mozzarella or feta cheese – holy cow!
Being such a diverse and all-inclusive operation, they offer a good selection of salads and vegan and gluten free dishes.
The sandwiches are of decent size and are very eclectic such as the Big Cheese Favorite Falafel Wrap – with hummus, baba ghanoush, pickled red cabbage, fresh greens, tomatoes, pickles, and tahini. The Salmon Wrap will bring you baked Atlantic salmon with wasabi mayo, sliced onions, fresh greens, and tomato. Or maybe the Korean burger – a shiitake mushroom, mung bean and napa cabbage burger on toast with greens and a kimchi mayo spread will hit the spot for you.
I was studying the Paninis and although the Cheese Lovers – their own melted Swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar blend - grabbed my eye first, I then jumped to the Rueben with Applegate roast beef, turkey, prosciutto or Hudson Valley tempeh with sauerkraut, homemade Russian dressing, and a blend of melted cheeses.
But eventually, I settled on the New Englander Sweet. I had mine with roasted turkey, fresh apple slices, and sharp cheddar cheese. It was awesome. I added a few stuffed grape leaves as I was both hungry and a glutton.
Shira created her own plate from their baked eggplant parmigiana that came with a great balsamic dressing and salad. Following my lead, with her eyes far bigger than her stomach, she added baked mac & cheese along with the rest.
Honestly, … good luck choosing when at The Big Cheese. It is a culinary delight along the Main Street of the once Capital of the Cement World.
When done and really quite full, we looked through the Second-hand clothing and items.
They have some very high-quality clothing and other items – all chosen to be sold here. There was nothing bad to see, only good – one book jumped out at me. Clapton’s autobiography. Four dollars and it rode home in my tank bag.
We think The Big Cheese is just that. The Big Cheese!
Here’s a nice 80-mile jaunt from Jumboland on Route 206 in Branchville, NJ to start your day.
(Click on the image to download) Enjoy!
Publisher Rathjen weighs in on different things pertaining to motorcycling. Sometimes a bit hard to the point and slightly abrasive, his Free Wheelin’ column is not afraid to make a stand on issues that he feels are of importance to riders and riding.
Backroads’ fairer (and some say faster) half, Shira Kamil, has an interesting perspective on the day-to-day things riders run into which is both extremely well written and informative.
Having piloted a motorcycle for many years, Mark has many thoughts floating in his helmet and he's ready to share them with us. Sometimes cerebral, often technical but always enjoyable.
Backroads brings you around the region, the U.S. and internationally with travel stories that will inspire your own adventures.
Whether it's a new product for your motorcycle, some great gear or the latest in model releases, we'll give you all the information you need to make an educated buying decision.
Backroads will help you plan your calendar and keep you up-to-date with the latest events, rallies and other motorcycle gatherings around the area.
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LET'S EVERYONE BE SAFE OUT THERE
A column dedicated to your riding survival, Welcome to the Jungle will bring you safety information, products to enhance your comfort and riding tips to develop your art of learning to ride skillfully. Remember, the more you know, practice and develop, the better and more fun your riding will be.