College Dining on a Dime: Main Street Bistro is Mainstream

Main Street Bistro is considered a buzzword here in New Paltz. To locals, we just call it “The Bistro.”

Doug Thompson, the owner of Main Street Bistro started from humble beginnings in the dining industry.

“My dad owned a restaurant on Long Island called The Bounty Inn. I started working there at a very young age doing food prep and washing dishes. When my dad sold the business, I became a prep cook and busboy at an Italian restaurant in East Rockaway for two years. When I attended New Paltz in 1984, I worked at Hasbrouck Dining Hall for two years, working my way up from dishwasher to student chef,” Thompson said.

But Thompson wasn’t always just a foodie, he did also dabble in the music world.

“In 1987, I left school and joined a punk band called Murphy’s Law, and toured with the Beastie Boys, Fishbone and Public Enemy,” Thompson said. “When I returned from the road, I started working at The Bistro as a prep cook.”

“The owner would let me leave to tour when needed and after many years in the music business and managing the Bistro kitchen,  I decided to buy the business from him. That was 1993, so this July will be 23 years. How time flies!”

Twenty three years later, Doug and his crew are still churning out some of the best food New Paltz has to offer. In my group of college friends, we all go gaga for his $1.95 breakfast special, which makes eating breakfast a financial no-brainer.

“We offer the Breakfast Special for $1.95 for everyone. Two eggs, home fries and toast. Best deal in New Paltz, since 1993,” Thompson said.

With specials, The Bistro is always switching things up.

“We run 4-5 different specials everyday. Our cooks have free reign on choosing specials which revolve around seasonal items available,” Thompson said.

As many places in New Paltz, The Bistro uses many local products.

“I am lucky to have Ginsberg’s Foods, who uses many local New York vendors,” Thompson said. “Much of the produce we use is local. We purchase our granola from Raspberry Fields Farm in Marlboro and try to purchase from as many New York, Tri-State area vendors as possible.”

Even some of the Bistro’s decor is local. Local art lines the walls of the Bistro creating an experience for those sitting to eat.

“Right now we have one artist, Ryan Cronin,” Thompson said. “My former art director and employee Nathan Ganio moved on to purchase A Tavola so I decided to give the space to Ryan, who has a shop in Water Street Market and is a band mate and past employee, as well. His work complements the Bistro very well!”

The Bistro in my circle of friends is known for their delicious breakfast. But instead,  I stopped by during my lunch hour for one of their “Really Good Sandwiches.”

I decided to try the “Santa Cruz” ($9.95), which according to the restaurant’s website is: “a triple-decker sandwich with grilled chicken breast, avocado, red onion, muenster, lettuce, tomato, sprouts & basil-pesto mayonnaise on toasted 12-grain bread.”

In the end,  I feel what makes The Bistro special is the love Thompson has for his staff and his restaurant.

“I am grateful for an amazing and hard working staff, most who have been with me over 10 years,” Thompson said. “We are a family. I am grateful to our loyal customers and this wonderful community. We live in such a great area, with so many amazing people and businesses, and I am lucky to be part of it.”

Main Street Bistro can be found on 

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