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Nyack's River Club Has a New Look

Michael Hekker, owner of The River Club since its inception in 1984, is proud of his renovations and brand new Lanai Windows

"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 Renovations

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."

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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.

Music Schedule

  • 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)
Donna Gebbia May 28, 2011 at 06:30 AM
Hi Mike, Ann Breeswine, (from the place where we BOTH work), gave you some excellent feedback on the bands I am in, and I heard you are having live music at your venue. "The Elevators" would absolutely LOVE to turn The River Club into an Musical Entertainment venue to add to our ever-expanding lists of wonderful local venues. "The Elevators" is unsurpassed in its caliber of musicianship and repertoire; very well-suited for your establishment; highly professional in it's interactivity with the crowd and appropriate in volume. Please contact us at www.Reverbnation/theElevatorsband to check us out and give us some positive feedback. You can also check us out on Facebook, (The Elevators). Though the Recverbnation MP3 audio files are a little outdated, our personnel has changed from uber-talented to absolutely STELLAR. I highly recommend you give us a try. If you want to check us out live, please note our past and upcoming performances. If you want a press package please request one there at the site. You and I have known each other for a long time now, and I it would be in both of our best interests for you to try us out and get your crowd grooving, rocking, and thirsty! You will not be disappointed. Yours very truly, Donna (MellowDee) Gebbia
Donna Gebbia May 28, 2011 at 06:35 AM
http://www.reverbnation.com/theelevatorsband or The Elevators (on Facebook) I look forward to your positive reply as I am very excited to become part of your renovated venue's fun, entertainment and prosperity. Very truly yours, Donna (MellowDee) Gebbia - keyboardist/vocalist/dental assistant!
Cheri Coleman September 29, 2011 at 03:18 AM
I have had the dual honor of working for the Hekker family as well as being consistently satisfied by the authentic and diverse dishes meant to satisfy everyone's palate... no where is it more evident that Michael and the entire staff put their customers first..to him when you walk through the door, you are coming home..Kudos for all that you and your staff do to keep the spirit of family alive.

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