Bye Bye Bistro? Main Street Staple Up For Sale

Owners of the beloved Main Street business are retiring, but this does not have to be the end of Bistro. The entire business, not the property, is up for sale. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Sodergren

$1.95 breakfast specials may be saying their final farewell as New Paltz’s Main Street Bistro has been put up for sale by its owners. 

In a Facebook post published to the New Paltz Properties page, the owners explained they were putting out a feel for buyers and the initial reaction from the community was one of loss. After all, Main Street Bistro is a New Paltz staple.

“Main Street Bistro For Sale; my friends Doug and Teresa Thompson have asked me to ‘test the market’ for a potential sale of their Main Street Bistro business. This is an opportunity to own one of the most iconic, established and successful restaurants in the Village of New Paltz. Bistro’s loyal customer base and unbeatable location at 59 Main Street deliver consistent strong revenues and impressive profitability,” the Facebook post read.

Doug Thompson, a New Paltz alumni, bought Main Street Bistro from its previous owner in 1993. 

In a 2016 article published by the Oracle, Thompson was quoted as saying, “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.”

That’s why this news came as a shock to so many. Main Street Bistro, or Bistro as it’s referred to by locals is truly a staple of New Paltz culture. It draws in students and locals with its combination of cheap prices and healthy food. 

A cacophony of “no’s” followed the posting of this on New Paltz Properties Facebook page. There were also a series of posts detailing trepidation at the business prospect. The posts claimed $5,000 a month in rent without owning the building would be a waste of time. 

It’s impossible to speculate if local resistance to this staple changing hands is a factor in comments like that.

What is clear is that the owners are tired.

“After 30 plus years in the restaurant business, we are ready to retire! We love the Bistro, our loyal customers and the students at SUNY — we are both SUNY alumni — but it’s time for us to start crossing items off our bucket list,” said co-owner Theresa Thompson. “Travel, entertaining friends and family and just living life! Both our children are graduating from college soon and it’s time for us to retire and enjoy the good life!” 

Thompson assures that although they will be saying goodbye to Bistro, the couple still plans to remain a part of the community.

“We plan to stay in the New Paltz area, as I am currently a Trustee on the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education and Doug is a Swim and Lacrosse Coach for both New Paltz High School and Wallkill High School,” Thompson emphasized. “So, we plan to remain local and still make contributions to our hometown community.”

Some students are most upset by the loss of memories and atmosphere at the Main Street Bistro. The experiences of grabbing a booth, table or seat at the rail can feel invaluable. 

“I’m honestly devastated,” said Joshua Sebesta, third-year digital media production major. “I have a lot of memories that stem from there. The one thing that I loved was the staff and the environment. There aren’t many places anymore that are up to par with the culture Main Street Bistro was able to develop in it’s time.”

However, the owners don’t necessarily mean to dissolve the business and are open to people carrying on the name. That’s why the sale isn’t of the property but of the entirety of the business. 

Buyers would receive the equipment and staff along with business rights. The advertisement from New Paltz Properties even adds that “Cash flow can be increased further by expanding the catering business and opening the restaurant for dinner service.” They want the next owners to succeed. 

Along Main Street there are a number of places to eat, but none that offer a $1.95 breakfast and only a few that offer the feeling of home that marks a good restaurant. The population is transient given the college crowd but it’s still a landmark and a place to return to for many — locally and transplanted. 

Even if the owners leave the day-to-day operations of the establishment one imagines the spirit will remain through the avowed customers and the dedicated employees.