Nestled in the heart of Greene County's ski country is one of the most delightful venues, the Catskill Mountain Country Store in Windham, N.Y.
The store is owned by Drew and Natasha Shuster, who have lived in the area since 1995; Natasha was drawn to the area because she was a world-class competitive skier. They opened in the store's present location on Aug. 1, 2000.
In addition to her skiing career, Natasha also holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont and a degree in pastry arts from the Culinary Institute of America. In fact, the Shusters started out baking pies, cookies, and breads from recipes handed down to Natasha from her grandfather. Natasha taught everything she knew about baking to her husband, Drew, who now is responsible for all the store's baked goods.
The Shuster's children, son Augustus (Gus) and daughter Sydney, also have a stake here. Sydney is responsible for their popular fudge operation and Gus does their fabulous donuts. In fact, Drew says that when Gus was only 3 years old, he had definite ideas on how to run the business. He insisted on adding donuts to their line of baked goods because not only did he like them, but all his friends did, too!
The store offers hearty breakfasts and lunches. Natasha pointed out that that breakfasts have been an important part of her life since early childhood. Her family raised chickens and hogs, so substantial breakfasts were always modeled around what they raised. And the burgers at the spot are absolutely fabulous. The store uses grass-fed Angus beef for their burgers, a 81/19 combination that Natasha says makes the perfect burger. One taste will tell you she's absolutely correct on this! These are not your usual burgers, either. Each platter is an international taste treat born out of Natasha's world travel when skiing. And the surprise here is that the servings are large, everything is cooked to your order, and hardly anything on the menu that costs more than $10!
Supporting local farms and artisans is part of the Shuster's credo. The majority of products sold in the store are from local artisans and farms. Just recently, the Shusters added a line of their own jams, jellies, sauces, crackers, and dip mixes to the store's offerings. Again, these are all made from old family recipes. And for the kids, and yes, even grown-up ones, don't overlook their toy room, which is filled to the brim with unusual toys, dolls, and games. Most non-perishable items are available through their website.
The store is open daily year round. Click through our slideshow to get a sneak-peek into the store.