STAMFORD - Local business owners Michael Solyn and Caitlan Grady share a love of good food and a passion for creating quality items which combine a respect for the ingredients they use and a reverence for a time when customers knew where their food came from and how it was prepared.
It is that passion which led to the creation of the couple’s first joint business venture, New York Farm 2 Door, an old fashioned style “localvour” butcher shop sourcing souly from small family farms, and to the development of a farmers market and food truck operation in New York City and Albany.
Last week, that passion was evident once again, as the couple realized a shared dream and opened the doors to their first brick and mortar eatery, the Stamford Smokehouse, located on Main Street in the village of Stamford.
With the opening of the Stamford Smokehouse, Solyn and Grady say they a proud to be a part of a community they love and to be able to share affordable, quality food prepared with their signature attention to detail and commitment to a natural and sustainable eating experience.
Offering comforting and crave worthy menu items such as pulled pork, slow smoked brisket, pastrami and spare ribs, Solyn and Grady showcase their mastery of selecting and preparing meat and provide a food buying experience similar to that of days gone past, when a butcher or grocer could tell you where your food came from, what was in it, how it was made and when it was made.
“We make everything here ourselves,” said Grady. “We know what’s in it and what not. We know there are no phosphates or preservatives in anything we make. We are proud of what we do and how we do it and we are excited to share that process and our products with our customers.”
Solyn comes from a long line of great cooks and said he received his earliest culinary training in the kitchen with his Italian mother. He took his first job in the food industry making pizza at the age of 14 and received his formal education at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
Honing his skills in kitchens around the globe, Solyn worked in China and Italy before returning to his native New York City, taking a job with celebrated chef David Bouley and accepting a position at a catering company where he would eventually meet Grady.
Grady said she grew up in a family of adventurous eaters who often celebrated with food and encouraged her to sample and appreciate exotic flavors and haute cuisine. After graduating college, she said she worked at several jobs before deciding to follow her passion for food by accepting a position at the same catering company where Solyn was employed.
It didn’t take long for the two to find each other and for them to discover their mutual passion for quality, mindful food products. Soon, the couple would move to Grady’s childhood home in Jefferson and started New York Farm 2 Door.
With New York Farm 2 Door, Solyn and Grady created the butcher shop of their dreams, producing locally sourced, grass fed hotdogs, dry aged beef burger, steaks, heritage pork, foie gras, charcuterie and more. Initially selling in farmers markets in New York City, the couple purchased a food truck in the summer of 2012, allowing them to bring their now mobile butcher shop operation to the growing Albany food truck scene.
Although Solyn and Grady say they enjoyed bringing their products to the customers and thrived in the fast paced food truck business, it was a desire to settle down and be part of a tight knit community which led them to look for a permanent location.
“When this place became available we knew right away it was for us,” said Grady. “Stamford is such a great little town and this location was just what we were looking for.”
With a limited dining area, Solyn and Grady said they have focused mainly on a “take away” menu, making their delicately smoked meats available as overstuffed sandwiches, part of combination platters or by the pound to be taken home and enjoyed later.
House made sides include smoked mashed potatoes, “bacon” beans, three cheese macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, southern style greens and macaroni salad. Everything is made in-house and even the Kansas City red sauce and mustard vinegar barbecue sauce are cooked up in the eatery’s kitchen.
Grady’s scratch made corn muffins are fast becoming a customer favorite, as are her seasonal dessert specials, which can run the gamut from pumpkin pie and hand dipped caramel apples to savory shortbreads and frosted spice cakes.
In addition to the smokehouse offerings, Solyn and Grady said they are also pleased to be able to offer some of their New York Farm 2 Door products in the deli case, including their house-cured, no water added bacon, head cheese and blood sausage.
Also available at the smokehouse is a variety of local food products, including butter, cheese and preserves. Grady said they are always looking to add more local products to their shelves and invited area artisans and specialty food producers to contact the smokehouse at (607) 376-3262.
The Stamford Smokehouse is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.. Information on new products, specials and seasonal items can be found on the business’s Facebook page under the name: Stamford Smokehouse.