Catamount returns to local culinary style

By Jay Braman Jr.
Emily Fisher was all smiles Sunday afternoon.
Seated at the bar of her Catamount Restaurant, Fisher was brimming with pride, feeling that she and the Catamount team have struck a chord with their new concept for the eatery.
“I’m so pleased,” she said while scanning the interior of the former Scandinavian ski shop, built of logs and located at the Emerson Resort complex on Route 28 in Mount Tremper. “Look at all these people having a good time.”
Waiters walked by offering salmon hors d’oeuvres to those milling about. Some folks sat by the warm fireplace in cozy sofas enjoying conversation, others, like co-owner Dean Gitter, sat at the far end of the bar eating barbequed ribs and watching the New England/Miami football game. Still more filled the lower dining area, eating at tables as the Ben Rounds Band played country and western favorites.
The atmosphere was warm, fun and downright, well, local.
“This is exactly what we want to do,” Fisher said. “We want a place where everyone can come.”
Unlike the Emerson next door, which caters to a more exclusive clientele, the Catamount is geared toward anyone, whether they want to stop after work for a beer or go out for an affordable dinner on Friday night. Fisher describes it as more of a pub feel, and on Sunday she was right.
Fisher and Naomi Umhey, chief executive officer of the Emerson Resort & Spa, announced the return of the Catamount with a soft opening on November 19. “It was time to bring back a restaurant known for its great food and ambiance,” said Umhey. “The new menu features comfort food favorites at affordable prices. Emily and I both look forward to greeting old and new friends.”
Umhey, a Phoenicia resident, told Fisher a bit about the building’s history after the ribbon cutting ceremony Sunday.
“They built it when I was in high school,” she said.
She points to the section where dozens were lined up at the complimentary buffet of samplings from the new menu.
“That was the ski shop,” Umhey added.
After its original incarnation back in the 1970s, the building then became the Mount Pleasant Lodge in the following decade, a restaurant/bar that featured live music and good times, a feel remarkably similar to Sunday’s event.
After falling into disrepair in the 1990s, Fischer and Gitter purchased the property, which was located next to their Catskill Corners complex. It was renovated and reopened as a small hotel/restaurant just after the new millennium began. Later, after Fisher and Gitter built the Emerson Hotel, the restaurant was closed to the public and served as the resort’s private banquet center.
The Emerson Resort & Spa’s dining choices also include The Phoenix, the Spa Café and the Coffee Bar.