In its history that spans more than 200 years, the Kittle House’s timber frame has held many things: a guesthouse, prohibition-era roadhouse, school, inn, and restaurant. The stately Kittle House began humbly in 1790 as a barn on Ivy Hill Farm. The Kittle family named the eponymous barn in the 1880s, when they took over the farm and renamed the future restaurant and inn The Kittle Barn and Carriage House. In 1890, Moses Taylor V purchased the farm and surrounding 500 acres to raise his prize cattle, renaming it Annandale Farm. Following Taylor’s death in 1928, the Kittle House began to develop its livelier reputation as a roadhouse. In 1931 the Kittle House took on a primmer role as the Noble School for Girls. Unsuccessful, the school closed after five years, and thus the Kittle House tradition as a restaurant and inn began.
In 1931 The Kittle House thrived as The Lawrence Farms Inn. The Westchester Playhouse, located on the adjacent property of what is now the Mt. Kisco Country Club, was in its prime. The birthplace of many illustrious careers, the Inn often played host to famous, and soon-to-be-famous, actors, including a young Henry Fonda, Margaret Sullavan and Talullah Bankhead. In 1949 the Inn was sold to William Carlson, who shortened the name to “The Kittle House.”
Since 1981, the Kittle House has been owned and operated by the Crabtree family, who has returned the House to its former glory through extensive renovations and enhancements, including the beautification of the grounds, the expansion of the Atrium Dining Room, and the transformation of the former stables into an award-winning wine cellar. The most recent and exciting changes at Crabtree’s Kittle House include a striking redesign by Christan P. Arkay-Leliever of KMS Team. With a mindful use of ecological materials and thoughtful attention to detail, the House exudes a quiet elegance, befitting its charmed past.
To say that we’ve been keeping busy would be a massive understatement with all that is happening at the Kittle House!
From kitchen creations to building renovations to organic garden installation – No area of the Restaurant and Inn is being left untouched.
In the Kitchen…
In the kitchen, Chef Jay prides himself on our remarkably diverse farmer-restaurant relationships, to everyone’s mutual benefit. Working closely with our local farmers, including Ray and Erin Bradt at Helder-Herdwyck Farm (East Berne NY), and Don Lewis at Wild Hive Farm (Clinton Corners, NY), Jay has been able to help create a viable economic option for these farmers to produce some of the finest meats and grains that have been out of production in this region for a very long time.
In his visit to their farm in the spring, Jay noticed a small flock of guinea hens running around Ray and Erin’s upstate “sustainable-holistic” property. They were utilizing the hens as an age-old natural pest control method, but Jay saw an opportunity to procure one of his specialty items locally for the first time, and asked the couple to raise a flock for use on our restaurant menu. Ray and Erin recently hand delivered several of these beauties to the Kittle House, and we will be enjoying them with our local scarlet corn-sweet pepper hash and a red sorel sauce with natural juices. Delicious with a nice bottle of juicy Cote du Rhone Rouge.
Another culinary option that has captured Jay’s attention is Don Lewis’s specialty Large Black Pig. What’s so special about a Large Black? This species of pig was threatened with extinction as recently as 2004. This fact inspired farmers like Don Lewis to partner with restaurants who are dedicated to preserving the viability of threatened livestock species. It was a natural fit for Don who owns Wild Hive Grainery where he produces a plethora of heirloom grains and legumes – you just know that these pigs are eating very, very well.
On a technical note, according to the Livestock Conservancy, “Because of the increased interest in pasture raised pork by consumers, Large Black hogs are beginning to be recognized as a great choice in pastured management systems. According to the Large Black Pig Breeders Club in the UK, the number of breeders rose there from 114 in 2004 to 144 in 2007. In the US there were approximately 300 growers breeding Large Black hogs as of 2008, and in 2015 they graduated from Critically Endangered to Threatened.” We are very happy to be a part of this delicious culinary revival.
Each week, Chef Jay will feature a dish incorporating the Large Black Pig, but because of the limited amount, it won’t appear on our menu. Please just ask us.
Eco-Friendly Garden Boxes
Well, it wasn’t easy, but our newest garden beds on the Kittle House lawn have been installed and are producing veggies at a prodigious rate! Farmers Mimi (I&Me Farms) and Deb (Mobius Fields) partnered with the Kittle House team in researching garden beds, varieties of vegetables, and finally, the installment process.
Now, we are proud to boast that our newly installed (and eco-friendly we might add!) cedar wood beds are filled to the brim with local, organic compost and bursting with vegetables that we will pick and put right onto our customers plates! These vegetables were nurtured by farmers Mimi and Deb on their own farms and brought to our Kittle House beds where they will continue to flourish and grow.
This is just the beginning of the transformation of the Kittle House property back to its original roots as a productive farm property. We’ll keep you posted…
On the Inside
We are always happy to boast about our wide range of delicious menu items, from our famous Hudson Valley Grass-fed Angus Beef Cheeseburger to the delicate Barnegat Inlet Diver Sea Scallops. And let’s not forget the virtually endless supply of hand-selected artisanal wines from our unsurpassed wine cellar.
But, this time, we are taking a step away from the table and asking you to look down – down at our newly renovated Kittle House flooring with a story! What makes the flooring so special? In our foyer you’ll notice an artistically installed pattern of reclaimed 200 year old Maple wood. This special wood came from a demolished early 1800’s factory in upstate New York. Lucky enough for us, we were able to get our hands on this treasure trove, restore it and install it. If it looks somewhat familiar to you, you’ll know that now the Kittle House shares this same unique quality with our sister restaurant RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen down in Tarrytown, NY.
In the Main Dining Room the gorgeous “new” Red Oak Floors are actually almost eighty years old, but ‘never been walked on’. Since the original installation so many decades ago, these floorboards have been covered with wall to wall carpet. The last time we uncovered these boards to install a new carpet, in 2009, we vowed that the next time we needed to ditch the carpet that we’d go all natural. Come take a look!