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The Beacon Free Press has been Beacon’s primary center of news and entertainment coverage for over 25 years. Coverage includes local city and school news and features, Dutchess County Legislature, county legal notices, obituaries, plus coverage of arts and entertainment, hospitals and health, education, libraries and local businesses and organizations.

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04/23/14 Highlights of this week's edition...

Beacon has a variety of tastes to offer

Beacon chefs are pictured near the falls on Fishkill Creek From left are Chira Rabenda of Sukhothai Restaurant, Stacey Penlon of the Beacon Pantry, Anne St. George of The Chocolate Studio and Gourmetibles, Marc Corrado of Culture Cafe & Bar, Steve Morris of the Beacon Bread Company, Justin Fowler of Tito Santana Taqueria and Brandon Collins of Swift at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls. Check out the “Taste of Beacon” on page 3.
- Photo by Curtis Schmidt

By Ray Fashona

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you Beacon is an up-and-coming city. Walk down its once sagging Main Street and you’ll find art galleries and antique shops and many other bustling businesses.

Beacon has taken on a shiny new look, but one that dovetails nicely with its historic past.

That’s how Beacon looks. But how does it taste?

Find out Sunday, May 4 when the Beacon Chamber of Commerce sponsors its inaugural Taste of Beacon.

The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Roundhouse at Beacon Falls. Several Main Street restaurants will be serving up the best they have to offer.

Only 300 tickets will be sold at $45 in advance, $50 at the door. For tickets, go to

The chamber’s Main Street Manager, Pat Manning, said he and former chamber president Ray Rabenda were talking one day about all of the great food and drink available in Beacon. They got tired, he said, of hearing about restaurants in other communities hiring “star” chefs and offering the best cuisine in the Hudson Valley.

“We said, you know, the best concentration of food and drink is located right here in Beacon,” Manning recalled.

And so Taste of Beacon was born.

The event will take place in the Roundhouse’s Waterfall Room, which offers an amazing view of the falls through huge picture windows.

Brandon Collins, executive chef at the Roundhouse, said his restaurant specializes in seasonal offerings, purchasing fresh ingredients from local farmers. One of his favorites for the spring is a Fazio Farms egg dressed with an assortment of seasonal vegetables.

Chira Rabenda, chef at Sukhothai Restaurant, which she owns with her husband Ray, said one of her most sought-after dishes is the Thai spring roll. Another way to go, Ray Rabenda added, was the curry sampler.

“That way they get a taste of a lot of different curry dishes,” he added.

Anne St. George, owner of The Chocolate Studio and Gourmetibles, said a favorite in her sweet shop is chocolate-covered bacon.

“Bacon has become the in thing,” she said.

Gourmetibles are described as “a candy that thinks it’s a cookie.”

For those in a Southwestern state of mind, there is Tito Santana Taqueria, where, according to chef Justin Fowler, the pulled pork burritos and the catfish tacos get rave reviews.

“Customers really enjoy the catfish tacos,” he said.

At the recently opened Beacon Pantry, Stacey Penlon serves fine foods, artisan cheeses and charcuterie. “We think of ourselves as purveyors,” Penlon said. “Come in and tell us you want a certain number of cheeses for a party you’re throwing and we’ll make sure you get the right combination. I’ve been kicking around the idea for a slogan: artisan food and artisan service.”

At Culture Café-Bar they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch, so choosing a specialty is impossible, said chef Marc Corrado. One thing they do pride themselves on is their relaxed atmosphere, he said.

John Kelliher, chef at Max’s on Main, calls his restaurant’s offering “American comfort food.” That includes everything from buffalo wings and potato skins to a classic reuben and a portabella burger. Baby back ribs, ahi tuna and much more fills the menu.

The Taste of Beacon event “should be a lot of fun,” Kelliher added.

Steve Morris of Beacon Bread Company said the establishment is more than just a bakery. It is also a bistro that serves breakfast (Greek omelets, vegan pancakes and much more) and upscale sandwiches such as Fontina Baguette, featuring Fontina cheese with marinated eggplant and roasted peppers on a baguette.

If you’re looked for an award-winning chef, look no further than Poppy’s, owned and operated by Paul Yeaple, better known as Chef Poppy. In 2010, Yeaple won the popular Food TV network show “Chopped,” defeating three other chefs to become the champion. Poppy’s features burgers made from 100 percent grass-fed beef, all raised in the Hudson Valley.

“Grass fed cattle live in open farmland and eat grass, which their bodies process with ease,” said Yeaple on his web site. “It has a distinct, clean flavor that melts in your mouth.”

For more information on Taste of Beacon, call 845-592-4145 or e-mail

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Beacon Players celebrate diversity with ‘In the Heights’

The cast of “In the Heights” hits the stage for one of the big numbers in the musical. - Photo by Randy Benson.

By Ray Fashona

The diversity among students at Beacon High School is what inspired the school’s drama club to tackle the musical “In the Heights.”

Director Anthony Scarrone said the Tony Award-winning musical was “perfect for us because it celebrates the diversity of Washington Heights” in New York City.

“In the Heights,” which opened off-Broadway in 2007 and hit Broadway in 2008, will be on the Beacon Players’ stage April 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. and April 27 at 2 p.m.

Scarrone said he saw “a tremendous amount of raw talent” earlier in the school year, when the Beacon Players performed “Aladdin.” That led him to consider a more ambitious project for the spring musical, and “In the Heights” was destined for the Pete Seeger Theater at Beacon High School.

The story involves the hopes and dreams of those living in the Manhattan neighborhood that is largely Dominican-American, but also brings blacks, whites and a variety of other ethnic groups together.

The impressive set is largely completed, thanks to the hard work of the cast and crew that numbers more than 100, Scarrone said. The replica of a Washington Heights block “took about 5,000 bricks to build, and every one was cut individually,” the director said proudly.

The cast and crew have demonstrated great discipline, he added. Although last week was spring break, everyone was at rehearsal, running through numbers, testing the sound system, adjusting the lighting and putting the finishing touches on the set.

“They told me, if we weren’t here, we wouldn’t be doing much of anything anyway,” Scarrone said.

Senior Anthony Monroe plays Kevin Rosario, the overprotective father of Nina, the first in her family to attend college.

Monroe, who has joined the National Guard and hopes some day to attend the Crane School of Music, said this has been his first year involved in theater. What he most enjoys about it, he said, is that “these people, the whole cast and crew, are like my family.”

Monroe, who plays the tuba and saxophone, added, “Everyone brings so much energy to it every day.”

Read the full story in this week’s print edition


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