By Jennifer L. Warren
NEW WINDSOR – The white, letters in cursive, outlined in a red glow, all lying on a grass backdrop and sculpted by a red, pink and white floral arrangement on the Picture Board reveal a large piece of the story: “It’s what you do with what you have.”
It’s a “truism” dubbed by Rel Smallwood, one of the owners of a restaurant, or more properly delineated, seafood and restaurant “lounge,” opening its doors in the area. Joined by partners, Freddy Jack and Kenny Riddick, Smallwood made it official back in February, 2023 with a ribbon cutting ceremony for their Foodie Lounge LLC. on 145 New Windsor Highway in New Windsor. Aligning with those 8 simple words, the three have been making the very most with everything they have gleaned on their journeys, creating a one-of-a kind restaurant and entertainment locale, guided by a second catchy phrase, “Steam, fry, grill and chill spot to dine and relax.” Add to that mix: Another critical, defining element.
“We wanted to create a New York City vibe right here in the Hudson Valley because a lot of people here are from that area, or they have relatives and friends around from the City,” explained Smallwood, who, along with Riddick, first started searching for an ideal spot for the elusive business concept in this area. “The lounge idea is also geared toward people who are outside of the New York area, as we want everyone who comes here to not think they have to go to New York City to feel that comfortable, easy type of vibe and experience; they can get it right here.”
When one enters the Foodie Lounge, he or she immediately imbibes a tangible sense of what this New York City native entrepreneurial trio is setting out to create. Upon entering, you are instantly met with an eclectic sensory experience. An expansive, circular black-hued front bar area hits you first. Soon after, relaxing, mellow, calming melodies delight your auditory senses. Glance over to your right, and two extremely inviting white swivel chairs along with a super comfortable-looking black couch beckon you to take a seat; the allure is intensified by what’s situated directly across: a large screen television as well as fireplace embedded in the wall. You quickly realize what this “lounge” concept is all about.
“This area is about relaxation and enjoying yourself,” explained Jack, an 11 year Newburgh resident “staple” in the community, who is an OSHA Trainer, ensuring safety standards in various business establishments.
Further to your right, the aura begins to take a slight shift. Here, several high top tables stand, perfect to dine on appetizers or simply “chill” with a drink. Yet another vibe surfaces behind this area, which is occupied by a few dining tables, a place- with the words “FOOD, FAMILY FUN,” inscribed on one wall section- where guests can enjoy a full meal, including a wide range of seafood: fried or grilled shrimp, calamari, whiting, and even the trademark large aluminum pan, filled to the brim Seafood Boil, laden with Snow crab, mussels, lobster claws, beef sausage, corn on the cob and boiled potatoes. A host of other mouth-watering offerings, such as an assortment of secret sauce (think Thai, garlic, sesame with unique twists) chicken wings complete the diverse American and Seafood food menu, created by culinary trained, master resident chef Larry Jones. Riddick himself applies his baking prowess imprint, contributing his homemade banana pie as one of the dessert options.
Situated smack in the middle of Newburgh, New Windsor and Cornwall, the three owners are grateful for the, in many ways, ideal spot of their lounge’s location. They are also keenly aware of their needed plan to make this venture the success they know it possesses all the potential pieces to become.
“Short-term, we are looking to really get to know the members of the surrounding communities, and openly invite them to a place that has a nice, uplifting atmosphere with great food,” said Smallwood, who comes from a construction, trucking and social services background. Long-term, after we make those connections with the communities, we want to be a staple where everyone has their events-whether it’s a birthday, graduation or bachelor party, baby shower, whatever- we want it to be that place that is affordable, has really good food and shows what style and grace is all about.”
And in the meantime, The Foodie Lounge will do everything it can to follow that magical adage on its lounge’s picture board, situated between the dining and lounge area, doing what they can with what they have.
“More than anything, we want to be able to service the community, while providing a place where people can have a good bite to eat with a good vibe,” reflected Jack about the trio’s vision. “The biggest challenge is going to be letting people know we are here, and we will face that with social media and other means.” Looking around the interior of the Foodie Lounge and taking it all in, Jack added, “I’m positively convinced it’s going to happen.”
To learn more about Foodie Lounge LLC, check them out on Instagram, Facebook, or Google, email them at: email@example.com or stop by and visit during business hours: Thursday- Sunday, 12-8pm.