By ML Ball
Photographed by Jackson Summers
Much like the TV bar “Cheers,” the Cold Spring Depot is that rare and much-beloved restaurant/bar that, though situated in the bustling tourist town of Cold Spring, has the cozy feel of a neighborhood haunt. (Speaking of haunt, it even has a ghost!)
Owned by local Hudson Valley restauranteur Greg Pagones since 2014, the Depot was built in 1893 when the Hudson River Railroad added Cold Spring to its line. The building remained a train depot until 1954, when it was sold and converted into a Jeep dealership, and then it became a restaurant in 1972, serving hearty American food and drink ever since.
Having lived and worked abroad for several years, Greg could have established a restaurant anywhere, so why the Hudson Valley? “My family’s here, and I think that’s important,” he explains. “I went to school in Southern California, and worked in Italy and Western and Eastern Europe, so I’ve been around quite a bit. At some point, you end up wanting to come home. There’s something to be said for four seasons and having family close.”
There’s also something to be said about staying true to the roots of the Depot, as well as his own. “When you have a place that’s been in business 30 years, you don’t mess with it too much,” Greg says. “We’re adding a bar outside and have done some touch-ups here and there but have not made major changes. It was a priority for me to keep the same vibe—people come for that.”
As well as retaining the authenticity of the original building, Greg has also kept many of the original staff. “We have servers who have been here 25 years, 15-plus years,” he says. “They know the customers’ names, their life stories, what’s going on with them. That matters to people. This business is just as much about people as about food—even more so.”
Every day, 68 commuter and freight trains whiz by the Depot at speeds of up to 115 mph, almost
close enough for the patio diners to touch. Fittingly, the regularity of the trains and the welcoming, laid-back atmosphere of the Depot are both captured in the slogan on the servers’ shirts: Just Catch the Next One.
And now about the Depot ghost: According to legend, on a Wednesday night in 1898, a local woman learned that her husband planned to kill her. Fearing for her life, she rushed to the train depot to catch the 10:15 train to Poughkeepsie. Tragically, her husband arrived two minutes before her train, fatally stabbing her on a bench in the waiting room. Today, the former waiting room is the indoor dining room, and locals claim that at 10:13 on Wednesday nights, a cold draft can sometimes be felt near the spot where she was killed, lights flicker and the door inexplicably blows open…
For more information about Cold Spring Depot, its hours and menus, call 845.265.5000 or visit their website at www.coldspringdepot.com. █