Wild Game Dinners, High Roller Bourbon Nights, Junk Food Dinners, & Secret Tasting Menus!
These are just some of the fabulous themed dinners created by Cassie and Rich Parente,
owners of the Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, NY.
Recently, the dynamic couple began working with Laura Lee Holmbo, a brand management wizard, to create the Alchemy Project, a traveling supper club bringing together top local chefs who raise money for various Hudson Valley charities.
On May 2, Alchemy is presenting Transformative Tastes, a 7 course chef prepared menu using local and seasonal products. The dining event is for food connoisseurs and is benefiting the Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association. Guests are invited to a VIP wine + beer reception and a silent auction preceding the dinner. The Parente’s and Laura Lee worked together to get local chefs on board including Mike Cutney, Twisted Oak, Peter Milano, Dish Bistro & Wine Bar, John Poiarkoff, Restaurant North, David Santos, Good Stock & Hot Chicken Pop Ups, Brandon Walker, Essie’s, and Emily Chapman, Reap & Sow Supper Club. “The event will be held at the Dramatic Hall in Peekskill which is a hidden gem with a gothic, steampunk vibe,” said Parente. “It’s like stepping back in time.”
The Parente’s are passionate about other charities as well, including the Shepherd Circle Foundation which assists food and beverage service professionals facing major medical hardships. Rich also serves on the Board of the Hudson Valley Community Health Centers, which has provided patients quality healthcare for more than 30 years, and no one is ever denied service based upon their ability to pay.
When the Parente’s are not supporting their local community and favorite charities, they are kept very busy at the Clock Tower Grill. The themed dinners are extremely popular and keep the crowds coming back for more! The Wild Game Dinners are held two times a year and past menus have included Squab Confit, Elk-Awsome-Buco, Rabbit Cassoulet and a Braised Pheasant with Wild Mushrooms. “You won’t find chicken franchise or refried beans on our menu, but you will find all natural meats including elk and sometimes kangaroo,” said Rich.
There are also two High Roller Bourbon Nights per year featuring hard to find bourbons such as Pappy Van Winkle. At a recent Junk Food Dinner the menu was an hilarious interpretation on the Happy Meal including Duck Confit McNuggets, Truffle French Fries, and a toy (play dough). “Think of it as a childhood nostalgic dinner,” said Rich. The Parente’s also host a 10-14 course Secret Tasting Menu several times a year, and when the weather turns warm the Lobster/Clambakes enjoyed on their courtyard, make the Clock Tower a perfect summer choice.
When I visited the restaurant, I loved their regular menu which had something delicious for everyone. I was thrilled when the server brought out popovers with an herbed butter. Melt in your mouth! I loved the Parente’s play on bacon and eggs. The thick, house-cured bacon was served with local maple syrup alongside deviled eggs that had a fabulous mustard kick.
I then moved on to the Long Island duck which was prepared skinless, cured with brandy and then applewood smoked. The duck was served with grits and a wild lingonberry demi-glace. Yum!
Other customer favorites include the bourbon braised short ribs, fried oyster & house bacon sandwich with a creole sauce, and the house-made spatzle with hazelnuts, nutmeg, sage and a poached egg. The pork and lamb dishes come from their 10 acre farm in Sherman, and if you find yourself dreaming about their bacon, you can bring some home for $20 per lb.
The renovation of the restaurant was done by the Parente’s with a little help from their family and friends. They were committed to up-cycle as much of the redo as possible. Rich and Cassie drove around with a trailer looking for old wood, pallets and metal that could be used for the décor and furnishings, and every chandelier and table were made by them. “It’s amazing what you can learn on YouTube. Who knew I could learn to weld from a video?” said Rich.
The Parente’s also solicited help from a local 4th grade art class and asked the students to paint 20 blank skateboards to help liven up the restaurant walls The children were encouraged to use famous artists for their inspiration. The Picasso, Van Gogh and Warhol skateboards now decorate an entire wall of the restaurant and have made minor celebrities out of the young painters. One wall is whimsically decorated showcasing an American flag made from California license plates.
The kitchen’s swinging doors sport a gigantic fork and spoon with stickers saying, “When You Sit Down For Dinner, Thank A Farmer”. The bar has a mural depicting black birds on a telephone wire, and there are wall shelves full of quirky memorabilia like oversized SPAM cans.
“This is not our first rodeo, but this time it’s different! We wanted to change the mold by having fun and being more involved in our local community,” said Rich.
Clock Tower Grill
512 Clock Tower Drive
Brewster, NY 10509