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A Revelatory Lunch at Via Cassia in Hudson, NY

A former restaurant owner finds inspiration in the approach to dining at Via Cassia, a new Italian restaurant in the Hudson Valley.

Inside Via Cassia

Inside the new Via Cassia in Hudson, NY. Photo: Meigan Arnone.

Following the news about Chef Gaetano Arnone's return from Italy to America, the Hudson Valley restaurant we’ve been waiting for is here. Via Cassia opened in late Winter of 2024. I visited upon the arrival of spring. A curated lunch with the proprietors, Gaetano, his wife and business partner, Meigan Arnone, and their dog Radio, was an honor and a step back into time, into the Medieval kitchen in the Tuscan countryside from which Gaetano and his family recently returned.

With Radio under the table, I'm enthralled by Gaetano's story and inspired by how Via Cassia thoughtfully incorporates local seasonal ingredients, works with less, nurtures their employees, and lives sustainably by simply being minimalists. Meigan’s interior design and photography background compliments her partner’s artistic nature and culinary vision. They are the dream family team.

Gaetano and Meigan Arnone
Gaetano and Meigan Arnone outside their restaurant, Via Cassia, in Hudson, NY. Photo: Meigan Arnone.

A spring special, a garden-like take on a classic Italian appetizer, Bufala di Mozzarella with Fava, Mint, and Pea Tendrils, stuns on a plate in its whimsical and elegant expression of greens gently growing out of a porcelain ball, soft, milky, and delicate to the touch of a fork. The minuscule drops of olive oil and cracked pepper are refreshingly noticeable on the plate. I feel like I’m consuming a magical garden.

Sauteed Asparagus and an Antipasto Platter at Via Cassia.
Sauteed Asparagus and an Antipasto Platter at Via Cassia.

I could easily just have the Prosciutto Toscano and Sauteed Asparagus as my daily meal, but lunch doesn't stop there. We switch from a Spritz to a Chianti with a few shared plates of homemade pasta, kneaded by hand just behind the doors leading to the working stations in the kitchen. Meigan and I share a moment of appreciation for a little heat on our salads as she describes the Black Tuscan Kale Salad, but I have little room left for anything else, savoring each forkful of braised pork and rigatoni. After the Rigatoni with Sicilian Pork Ragu, a plate of Grilled Quail "Fra Diavolo" with Lemon Yogurt and Asparagus arrives with a story, a memory of Gaetano's father's homemade sauce. I sit quietly, taking in the fragments of his life that led up to the Italian-inspired Via Cassia, from his father's restaurant in Orange County, CA, to Babbo in NYC and an echelon of gastronomic restaurants, to the life he's lived in Italy. I only then learned that Chef Gaetano Arnone is also a writer (see his author page on Appetito). I leave the restaurant and begin reading his work. 

Monkfish Piccata and Grilled Quail "Fra Diavalo" at Via Cassia.
Monkfish Piccata and Grilled Quail "Fra Diavalo" at Via Cassia.

As a former restaurant owner, my appetite for stories and human connection overpowers my interest in dining. Food isn't the way to my heart, which puts me in a precarious position as I try to carve out a new life for myself after the pandemic severely crushed my livelihood. I saw a reflection of myself in Gaetano's essays in which he shared how the pandemic altered his life. I'm beginning to feel a sense of revival with spring in the air and all. 

I've been hanging out on the sidelines, watching others advocate for nature, but lately, the sound of lawnmowers rings the alarm at my new sense of joy in dandelions. So maybe dandelions are a great place to start, to spread awareness about our inner and outer landscapes and tend to each other, which goes hand in hand with sustainability. As does a long lunch with new friends.

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