There’s a new restaurant in town. Papa Bear's Kitchen is the latest addition to the Den of Marbletown Steiff Teddy Bear Museum and Gift Shop Steve Ferri and his wife have been running for five years. It’s a full-service cafe in the historic Victorian farmhouse off Route 209, just outside of Kingston.
The Den of Marbletown began operating as a combined Teddy Bear Museum and bed-and-breakfast in 2014. Over the years, it has evolved into a community hub for school field trips, birthday parties and free play spaces like the Mama Bear Lounge and Big Cub Cave for parents and their toddlers.
Steve Ferri and his wife left thier jobs in New York City a few years back to transform an 1860s Victorian farmhouse into one of Ulster County's sweetest tourist attractions--a place for serious Steiff collectors to find the rare bears that once were sold exclusively to toy stores like FAO Schwartz.
The Teddy Bear Museum features more than 5,000 Steiff teddy bears and animals, Madame Alexander dolls, Barbie dolls, and hand-carved wooden toys.
Steiff is the German company that invented the Teddy Bear more than 100 years ago. Today Steiff is considered the world's premier manufacturer of high-end toys and collectibles. You’ll easily recognize them by the little button in their left ear.
It was founded in 1880 by Margret Steiff, a seamstress who found herself wheelchair bound with polio. When you visit the museum, you’ll learn how she found a little elephant pin cushion pattern, how that evolved into the creation of the first Teddy Bear (named for Teddy Roosevelt) and how a luxury toy company came to be.
Papa Bear's Kitchen features seasonal, farm-to-table foods such as paninis and pastas, meatloaf and roast beef entrees as well as hearty soups like lentil and chicken noodle—all created from scratch.
Chef Steve Ferri calls it “rustic Italian meets French bistro meets American comfort food. Food that people can recognize. It is not fancy but cooked with the right technique, using the right products and made with a lot of love”. There are also low-carb and vegan dishes.
Besides the food, it’s also is a fun beverage destination with more than 40 flavors of bubble tea, cold-pressed iced tea, house-made lemonade and seasonal hot chocolate specials.
If you need something sweet, you’ll also find grab-and-go chocolate chunk cookies and banana pudding modeled after the classic at Magnolia Bakery.
Seating is available at the downstairs cafe or second-floor Mama Bear's Lounge, a welcoming communal space, where patrons can dine and then play board games or find surprises in the magic closet containing classic toys.
When the weather turns warmer, there’s seating on the porch and patio or you can grab a picnic basket and blanket and dine on the grounds of the former farm, or by the stream.
Take out is available and all the seasonal blue-plate entrees are affordably priced at $9.99.
Steve Ferri is an accomplished chef with over 31 years of culinary experience. He’s excited about the about the new cafe and believes it will complete the guest experience at the Teddy Bear museum.
"The people who come to the museum as a destination can have their lunch here and turn it into a substantial tourist experience. There's some bonding that goes on when you break bread together. People are getting that here. We really want them to walk away happy, and if they have a full tummy, that's all the better."
1 Basten Lane
Kingston NY 12401