Gina O’Brien and Ed Carroll met at SUNY New Paltz in the early 1980s, then had careers in media, landing in film and television respectively. In between they married, moved from New York City to Huntington, NY, and raised two children. They’ve returned many times to New Paltz to visit the college, vacation at Mohonk, hike the trails and stop by P&Gs. On one such occasion, the couple stumbled upon an open house in a neighborhood near campus and ended up with a weekend home.
Fast forward to an impromptu lunch at the former Murphy’s. That’s when Ed casually mentioned to Gina, “You know, I heard this place is for sale…” And so it goes. Their roots in New Paltz now extend to Main Street, with The Lemon Squeeze.
They chose the name for one of their favorite hiking trails at Mohonk, and for the subtle nod to cocktails.
When they were college students, there were about a dozen bar/restaurants in less than a half mile stretch in and around Main Street: Digger’s; McQuinn’s; Thesis; Bacchus; Strawberry Fields (then Foley’s Square Pub, then Murphy’s); Coochies; P&Gs; J.K. Bowles; Snug Harbor; The Sanctuary; The North Light; and further down the road, Joe’s. Each had its own vibe and was successful for a time, or is still.
They thought about the type of place they’d enjoy now and decided The Lemon Squeeze would offer a locally sourced, chef driven menu, good wine and specialty cocktails, set to the sounds of live piano music. They plan to eventually introduce Sinatra Sunday Brunch.
Significant changes were made to the building during renovation, but it was important to the new owners to keep the exterior as close to original as possible. The infamous square windows are intact on the main floor, but most everything inside The Lemon Squeeze is brand new, from the commercial kitchen to the excavated, renovated basement to the outdoor, heated deck with two fire pits. The interior design conveys an updated midcentury aesthetic.