"When the windows arrived, I thought they would be bigger, heavier. For what they cost, I thought I should never be able to pick one up myself," quipped Michael Hekker, owner of The River Club on Nyack's waterfront. "But when they went in I understood, and now think they are great."
At the "new" River Club, you can sit and relax on the Hudson to a nice meal like the chicken and spinach arrezzio, sautéed chicken tenders in a sun-dried tomato gorgonzola vin blanc over prosciutto and fontina stuffed pasta purses. But in addition to the tasty food offerings, Hekker is one funny restaurateur, and will likely entertain you with his many stories.
(Ask Michael about "Mother Goose," who has taken up residency on the dock right outside the window of the Tap Room. She made herself a home with bits and pieces of leftover fabric that used to be on the dock, and now sits on her eggs day and night with Daddy goose nearby.)
The Lanai windows—in what is now the Tap Room—open with a quick crank and expose The River Club’s once-dining room to the Hudson.
The River Club was closed for ten weeks this winter to accommodate the renovations that took place. The second outdoor room now has additional tables and no longer has a smaller bar. "We created a lot more seating outside," Hekker continued.
The River Club has updated their look and is now updating their entertainment. Eric Seward, who has worked for Hekker since 1989 as a bartender, social network assistant and brand promoter, is now booking the music for the restaurant. Seward used to run 91 Main, which was housed in the old Vertigo on Main Street. "We now have live music every Friday and Saturday night," Seward explained. "And sometimes on Sunday afternoons."
While visiting The River Club, I had the grilled vegetable sandwich, a lowfat lunch with grilled zucchini, squash, eggplant, roasted red peppers and smoked mozzarella cheese on whole grain black bread with horseradish mayonnaise. My husband had the crab cake sandwich, pan seared crab cake served on a Portuguese roll with lettuce, tomato and onions with a Cajun remoulade sauce.
The Hekker Family
If you grew up in Nyack, the Hekker name may be a familiar one. Michael’s Dad was a Judge and his Mom Terry Hekker wrote two books and was the first female Mayor of Nyack. Hekker’s Mom had this to say about Nyack a few years back in The Nyack Villager:
"Nyack is special. Not because it's our home. It just is. Like that old cliche about blind dates: it's not so beautiful, but it has great personality. It is less than one square mile. And in this small, hilly area there peacefully co-exist the rich and the poor and everything in between. A complete spectrum of skin colors and life styles. Significant Russian and Haitian groups. Low income housing and mansions. And, diversity is not just accepted, it is celebrated. There are things we're missing. Like snobbery. No one with devotion to class structure or the desire to climb the social ladder would choose to live here. Although Nyack is home to winners of Oscars and Emmys and Tonys and to executives and writers, artists and scholars, they have chosen not to live in a high-status zip code, preferring the lumpy tapestry of our village life."
Michael is one of five children. "My grandfather ran the Bear Mountain Inn," he explained. "After graduating with an English Literature degree I wasn’t sure what direction to take. Since the restaurant business was kind of in our blood I decided to go into this business. My Mom knew I was busy, so she helped hire the wait staff. There was this one girl that she hired that I think she knew at the time would be my wife! And she was right."
The River Club, 11 Burd St. Opens Mondays at 4 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The only restaurant in Nyack on the water, take a peek at the new River Club and enjoy some live music. Call (845) 358-0220 for more information.
- Friday, May 20 - 7:30 p.m. , Izzy James (R&B pop)
- Friday, May 27 - 7:30 p.m., Tim O'Donohue (blues rock)
- Saturday, May 28- 8:00 p.m., Bobby Messano (blues)
- Friday, June 3 - 8:00 p.m., Hollister & Friends (blues)