Drive Fast, Eat Slow
John Lekic gets behind the wheel to bring the Hudson Valley
to the rest of the world.
Story by Brian P.J. Cronin
Photographed by dKol Photography
Six years ago when chef John Lekic and his wife Sara were looking to open their first restaurant in the Hudson Valley, they had a perfect space lined up in a busy Westchester location. But the deal fell through, and instead they ended up taking over a tiny restaurant in an anonymous strip mall located in the exurban wilds just north of the public-use Dutchess County Airport and across the road from a vape shop, a location that even the landlord told him was not exactly ideal.
It was the best thing that could have happened to them.
“It was lucky for me that I ended up here,” said Lekic at the bar of his restaurant, Le’ Express, on a weekday afternoon as a steady stream of lunchtime customers trickled in. “As a restaurateur, we’re constrained by the spaces we design. It gets very busy, a lot of hours, a lot of energy and time becomes the most precious commodity. In Westchester I would have been doing ten times the volume, but then I never would have had time to get into the food trucks.”