By Christine Gritmon
Picture Eataly combined with Chelsea Market and ABC Kitchen & Home, and you get an idea of the vision behind the Playhouse Market, a market with prepared foods, groceries, culinary products and a restaurant that just opened in the former Helen Hayes Theater space in Nyack.
“What we’re doing is essentially a European style retail market; inside that, you have several separate venues of food and beverage,” says David Anderson, the executive chef who partnered with interior designer Dawn Ziccardi to bring the concept to life. “I see it a meeting place, a community center.”
It is a coffee shop, a deli, an upscale grocery, a butcher, a fishmonger, a bar, a restaurant, an entertainment space — in short, it endeavors to be all things culinary to all people in Nyack.
Long operating hours mean that you could easily grab some coffee and a croissant while watching the dawn over the Hudson (which is visible from the space); pop back in for a mid-day sandwich and some fresh-squeezed green juice; then return in the evening for a dry-aged sirloin and a glass of Hudson Valley wine, followed by craft cocktails with friends while catching a live band.
The left side of the space is largely devoted to a variety of food “stations”: deli sandwiches, soups, tacos and pizzas from an imported wood-burning pizza oven. Beautiful cakes, tartlets and eclairs (all baked in the restaurant’s sprawling basement kitchen) tempt from a gleaming display case.
During the day, the large white marble bar delivers fresh-pressed juices; by night, the bar specializes in boutique wines and craft beers, and will frequently host tasting events. At the oyster bar, they’ll shuck and serve whatever you pick; at the fish and butcher counters, they’ll gladly cook up the day’s selections for you on-site, or pack them up raw to cook at home.
And you can buy tools for that, too. “We’re having everything to do with cooking — pots, pans, choppers, blenders — very unique ones, not typical,” says Ziccardi.
A refrigerated grocery section features a large yet well-curated collection of house-made organic meals and fresh-squeezed juices, craft beers, small-batch sodas, organic dairy and veggies, local cheeses, and organic packaged meats, among other gourmet grocery selections. Up front by the register, grab a Lavazza latte or organic Teagevity tea and a fresh-baked scone to enjoy while taking advantage of the space’s free Wi-Fi.
Come dinnertime, the Red Pearl Oyster Bar menu rivals the area’s top restaurants.
Selections currently include steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with chorizo, pimento and white beans in a fresh herb broth; pistachio-crusted duck paillard with candied apricot marmalade and orange-lavender honey; and a dry-aged New York sirloin with a red wine and gorgonzola compound butter and shallot confit.
“The food is identifiable but not simply made,” says Anderson. “It’s very deliberately sourced.” Products from local favorites Coach Farms and Blooming Hill Farms, venison from Millbrook, N.Y., and ducks, chickens and eggs from Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Wyckoff, N.J., will appear both on Anderson’s plates and in the retail section, as will various high-end sauces, marinades, and other culinary goods.
“My fish and meat market will reflect what is on the menu. I will also marinate meat and fish in some of these products, so when people say, ‘What is that?’ I can say, ‘It’s right over there on the shelf if you want to take it home.’”
Ziccardi has designed a rustic-chic space that works this brick-walled historical loft. Surrounding a front register is a large wooden arbor bedecked with baskets of fresh fruits and vegetables. In the back, bare Edison bulbs hang above locally made wooden tables, which can be purchased (as can the pottery pitchers and bowls that adorn them). Even the art, hanging high on the walls, is for sale, and will rotate frequently to spotlight local artists.
The bar area has a slightly more sophisticated vibe, combining white marble, black leather stools, and crystal chandeliers surrounded by black shades. There are lots of events planned — musicians, cooking demonstrations, children’s events, nutritional speakers, beer and wine tastings — and the space will remain open late.
Grand opening festivities are set for April; in the meantime Playhouse Market has spent the past several weeks quietly open, embracing the foot traffic and word-of-mouth drawing people their way as they bring all the elements of their ambitious plans up to speed.
“Every day, we want to give you a reason to come in,” says Anderson. “We want to see you twice a week, not twice a year!”
If you go …
Playhouse Market, 20 S. Broadway, Nyack. 845-358-3575, http://www.playhousemarket.com. Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Great for: Big Groups, Cheap Eats, Solo Dining, Live Music, Take Out, Excellent Desserts, Seasonal Menu, Craft Beer, Breakfast, Brunch, Cocktails, Cooking Classes, Dining at the Bar, Entertainment, Historic Building, Kid Friendly, Late Night Eats, Meeting for a Drink, Going Out on Mondays, People Watching, Small Plates, Vegetarians, Wine List