By anyone's measure, a business owner who owns and grows an eatery for upwards of thirty years must be doing something very right. Ask your server or local restaurant owner next time you see them …
By anyone's measure, a business owner who owns and grows an eatery for upwards of thirty years must be doing something very right. Ask your server or local restaurant owner next time you see them (socially-distanced of course).
Culinary can bring great financial and even spiritual rewards to the business owner—I write as one such owner myself—but, as the last year attests to, it can also be difficult and prone to the unforeseeable cigarette-smoke whisps of fate.
Down in Mongaup Valley, we locals are lucky to have a couple of interlocking culinary businesses run by members of the much beloved Doty Family. “Papa Luke's Pizzeria” and “Valley Cone Ice Cream Station” have thrived here near the threshing river for almost thirty years.
The “original” Valley Cone was started by Denis and Dorothee Doty here in 1994. Denis, who originally hails from Queens, NY, and his wife Dorothee, who was born in Germany, have run their ice cream / hot dawg /FF/ hamburger / shrimp basket business as a Mom and Pop shop with great success for many summers, happily serving tens of thousands of visitors to the Valley and the adjoining baseball park. Nearly a third of a century!
This year the couple decided to step back from the business a bit to enjoy life and summer life in Sullivan. They have passed the reigns of their business over to their daughter Denise and her husband. Although active as a nurse for the past several years, Denise has returned to take control of her parents' business. Stop by soon and say hi and look over the take-out menu!
What makes Valley Cone unique to me hereabouts is the fact that it is something of a ‘family culinary compound.' No doubt something similar exists elsewhere on the planet, but I have never seen anything like it, not even in NYC. Back in 1998, Denis and Dorothee built Denise a pizzeria across from their building on their plot of land. Then they slung an outdoor deck with picnic tables and umbrellas to bridge the gap between the two wood-clad buildings.
The whole compound, comprising ice cream station, picnic area and pizzeria constitutes the ‘family culinary compound.' The pizzeria, clad in the same rustic wood siding as the original building, has gone through several incarnations as “Mama Tomas's”, “Valley Pizzeria,” and the “Wet Noodle.” Now it's called “Papa Luke's.”
Wait! Who's ‘Luke' and where does he fit into this family? Luke is the son of Dylan Doty, son in turn of Denis and Dorothee. Dylan, a Sullivan County Community College educated Professional chef, bustles about the two massive gas-fired ovens which take upward of two hours to heat up every morning.
Dylan's two full-time employees, Selena Melendez and Mike Watson, help the chef produce most everything on the menu from scratch, right down to the home-made mozzarella on the pies. The results are scrumptious; try the dozen Asian-glazed buffalo wings which you will not stop eating until they are gone! - Be well, and see you all soon in Mongaup Valley by the threshing river!