Nestled in the heart of Greene County's ski country is one of the most delightful venues—The Catskill Mountain Country Store in Windham, New York.
The store is owned by Drew and Natasha Shuster who have lived in the area since 1995. Natasha was drawn to the area having been a world-class competitive skier. They opened in their present location August 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 world-famous Culinary Institute of America. In fact, they 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 states 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 does hearty breakfasts and lunches. Natasha pointed out that that breakfasts have always 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. The burgers are absolutely fabulous. The store uses grass-fed Angus beef for their burgers—a 81/19 combination which 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 burger platter is an international taste treat borne out of Natasha's world travel when skiing. And the surprise here is the servings are large, it's cooked to your order and there's nothing on the menu over $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 have added a line of their own jams, jellies, sauces, crackers and dip mixes. Again, these are all made from old family recipes. And for the 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 family faced adversity in 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit the Windham area very badly. In fact, the store was totally demolished due to the hurricane. Natasha was also diagnosed with breast cancer on the heels of Irene's devastation. However, through their personal strength and community help, they rebuilt their business and Natasha is happy to say she is now cancer-free.
The store is open daily year round. Visit them on the web at http://www.catskillmtncountrystore.com/