The Gilded Otter owners have sailed on to other endeavors as new ownership recently purchased the lower Main Street property in New Paltz.
The Clemson Brewing Company acquired the restaurant, located on 3 Main St., as the next phase of their steadily growing enterprise. Company owner, Kenan Porter, hopes to maintain the community atmosphere of the Otter, while adding his own Clemson twist to his new acquisition.
“We just want to enhance what’s already been created, continue community relationships that already exist and bring in new clientele into the area,” Porter said.
According to an article written by Hudson Valley Magazine, the Otter was established in 1998 by former brewmaster Darren Currier and co-owner/managing partner Rick Rauch. Located in New Paltz historic district, the restaurant takes its name from the vessel that carried the original Huguenot settlers to the local area. For nearly two decades, the 8700-square-foot brewery and restaurant has served smiles and nearly 800 barrels of beer annually. Porter claimed that most of the owners lived outside the local area and were ready to move from their business.
The Clemson Brewing Company, founded in 2012, will get their hands on the property in early April. They intend on closing operations from Monday through Thursday for an initial cleaning and re-painting, while importing their own brews. The name will be changed to Clemson Brothers at the Gilded Otter, as a sentiment to the past.
Clemson intends on implementing its full menu to their new locations, while maintaining the dinner portion from the old menu with certain upgrades. Porter claims that customers shouldn’t expect any increases in the prices on the menu.
Traveling over to the bar, Clemson will transition their own craft beer along with cycling through some Otter creations. Their selection includes a wide-variety of ales, stouts, porters and IPAs as well as a number of mixed drinks. Otter classics like the “mug club,” where patrons pay for an in-house large beer mug that comes with the weekly special, will still remain.
Since the business is entering its busy season, no major renovations can be made until at least January of 2020, according to Porter. At that time, Porter intends to close down the restaurant for a month to conduct renovations. He intends on fully renovating the kitchen to improve cooking operations, replace flooring and even create a live plant wall in the upper mezzanine to give the interior a more “organic” vibe.
Clemson also plans on bolstering the successful private sector of their business, where patrons can rent the venue for parties, business functions and school events.
In accordance with their desire to stay involved with the community, various local events hosted at the Otter will continue to be held there. The New Paltz Regatta, a homemade boat race on the Wallkill River, and the New Paltz Challenge, an annual half-marathon, are among some of their efforts to immerse the new business into the community.
Porter also noted that it would be keeping most of its current staff during the transition. Fourth-year SUNY New Paltz interpersonal intercultural communications major Cara DeGraw has seen a lot of people come and go in her two years working for the Otter.
“There are a lot of people who have worked for the owners since the beginning, so it will certainly be different for us,” DeGraw. “But we’re all excited for the new changes and what’s to come!”