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May 28, 2016
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Years of food and conviviality: A Main Street location through the decades

TRR file photo Two incarnations previous to the Heron, 40 Main was Dave’s Big Eddy. Chef Dave Cole is pictured here with customers.

NARROWSBURG, NY — Now that there is a new restaurant inside 40 Main Street in Narrowsburg, the Heron, there seems to be a “now-things-are-as-they-should be” feeling in the community, because for the last five or six decades there has almost always been eatery of one sort or another in the space.

Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was the home of C & C Pizza Parlor, operated by Marty Criston and Bernie Creamer. Creamer, who still lives in Narrowsburg with his wife Carol, and whose children all graduated from the Narrowsburg School, said the town was quite a different place in those days.

He said there were more full-time residents and far fewer weekenders, and there were a lot more children in the area. That was an era when there still many boarding houses around, and according to Creamer, there was a lot more activity in town not just in the summer, but all year round.

He said the pizzeria was a hub for the community and everyone loved it. But Criston soon moved to a job with the school, and he was working for United National Bank, so it stayed open for only a few years.

According an article from 2005 in The River Reporter, the space is “cozily tucked inside the first level of the historic John S. Anderson building,” and a couple named Pat and Richie Lyons ran a restaurant there into the early 1980s, when Chick and Margaret Smith took over the lease and opened the Midtown Café.

Then in 1989, Jill Padua opened the Chattterbox Café. And according to the article, “She reconceived the restaurant’s role in Narrowsburg, offering vegetarian, Mexican, Indian and other international dishes and hosting live music on Friday nights.”

Padua said Sullivan County is a tough place to have a restaurant, but she enjoyed it. She read that the new owners are offering breakfast and lunch during the week, and brunch and dinner on weekends. “That sounds perfect,” said Padua.

Padua said one of the things that was part of her business plan was opening up after performances at the Tusten Theater, because at the time, there was no other restaurant around, and no place for people to go after a performance.

Padua also said that the Chatterbox served at the time as a hub for the community. She added “I only sold it because my ex-husband said our marriage would be better if I got rid of the restaurant.” Padua now owns Jill’s Kitchen Open Sesame Sauces.

In 1998, Stanley Harper and Michael Eurey bought the Anderson building with plans to restore and renovate it and eventually open their own restaurant. Then Eurey and Harper, both career chefs, accepted a job in Sun Valley, ID, which lasted five years.

They leased the space out, and when they returned, the space was leased to Dave and Sue Cole. Dave, who had trained in Soho, had worked as a chef at the Beach Lake Hotel, the Narrowsburg Inn and The Settler’s Inn in Hawley, PA. The space became Dave’s Big Eddy Café.

Ultimately there was a dispute over the days of operation. Eurey and Harper wanted the restaurant to be open seven days a week, while the Coles did not want to commit to more than five days, closing on Monday and Tuesday.

In 2005, after the lease expired, Dave relocated to Matthews on Main in Callicoon, and Harper took over as executive chef and changed the name to the Main Street Café.

Harper ran the restaurant for some five years and then sold it to Caroline Burgess, who closed it on August 28, 2011.

Upon closing, Burgess posted a note on the Main Street Café’s website which read, “I want to thank everyone for their support over the last few years and for letting me be a part of your lives. I have really cherished the many friendships formed and being part of a very special community.”

With the space newly transformed, The Heron, which was opened on January 14 by Paul Nanni and Marla Puccetti, will no doubt continue the tradition of being a special part of the community, with coviviality and a farm to table menu.