Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Peekskill Herald

Real Housewife in Peekskill

Reality TV star rates Birdsall House a 10

It’s the type of advertising a business owner can only dream of: a reality television star with some 3 million followers decides to stop at your restaurant, film the food and the wait staff – all while giving rave reviews with every bite. 

Bethenny Frankel, CEO and founder of the Skinnygirl brand and a reality television star of the BRAVO ‘Real Housewives’ series stopped by Birdsall House on Main Street Saturday afternoon with her fiance Paul Bernon. 

“We’re doing this on the fly,” she says in the Instagram reel. “We saw farm-to-table, we saw gastropub, exciting things and we’re in.“ She then holds her phone camera over the menu, declares what she’s going to order, and proclaims “think we’ve found a little place of heaven on earth.” 

The couple chat up with waiter Dan (“server’s very nice”) who’s worked there a few years. She comments on his shirt with a bird design and tells him he’s living the dream with the theme of Birdsall. They order more food than two people could eat at one sitting and begin filming each other eating and talking about the food, calling the fries scandalous and enjoying the smash burger. 

The post went up on Monday and Birdsall owner John Sharp said he started getting calls and text messages from people, mostly the wives of friends who follow influencer Frankel. “I didn’t know who she was until I started hearing from people,” said Sharp. He said it was clear that waiter Dan also didn’t know who the couple was. “It’s been crazy with all the interest and the feedback.” 

Within 48 hours of Frankel’s post going up on her social media accounts, Sharp said Birdsall House had 2,000 new Instagram followers and tens of thousands of likes. “Let’s see what kind of impact it has on seats and the implications throughout time. People see it now and and then maybe one day in the summer they’ll say ‘I’ve heard of Peekskill, let’s take a day trip to Peekskill.’”  

“We’ve been here a long time. It’s nice for people who know us to have a fresh reminder.” Birdsall House opened its doors the week of the Peekskill St. Patrick’s Parade in March of 2010. “We were the first place to have draft IPA beer on tap and that farm-to-table food which people thought was ‘weird’” recalled Sharp. 

The current Birdsall House stands across the street from the original building, a small inn run by Daniel Birdsall and his wife Hanna. According to the Peekskill History app, Birdsall House was occasionally used by George Washington as his headquarters.

Frankel, who has her own line of wine and alcohol products, will be featured in a special drink that Sharp said Birdsall House will be offering soon. “We’ll try and do the favor back and make a special drink with her vodka – and call it ‘the Frankel.’  It’s the least we could do.” 

Sharp isn’t the only one giving back. Philanthropist is another noun used to describe Frankel. In 2017 she launched BStrong, a disaster relief initiative that has provided cash and supplies for victims of natural disasters and conflicts around the United States and the world, including Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Turkey, Syria and Sudan. 

As Frankel was leaving and filming herself walking down the parking lot across the street from Birdsall House she was giving the place a 10 out of 10. She said Bernon “loved the food, loved the music, all this alt music, he knew every song.” He was taking pictures and carrying all the leftovers so they could enjoy at home. She also commented on the weird art and told her followers to ‘run like you’re being paid to run to this place.’ 

The music Frankel complimented is curated by Spotify and Birdsall House employees. “We lean toward creativity,” said Sharp. Ross Chambers is the artist with the wood cut art on the walls that caught the ‘real housewife’s’ eye. 

Sharp said he had no idea the reality star and influencer was going to stop by the restaurant, telling the Herald, “I guarantee you people are going to think I paid for the promotion…I didn’t even know her! But it’s a beautiful January surprise, a great month for it to happen.”

About the Contributor
Regina Clarkin
Regina Clarkin, Editor and Publisher
When the Peekskill Herald weekly newspaper ceased publishing in August 2000 it was the first time in the history of the city that there wasn’t a local newspaper.  The award-winning weekly was often referred to as the ‘glue’ of the community. Founded on January 9, 1986 by Regina Clarkin, Kathy Daley and Rich Zahradnik with a $7,000 credit card line, the paper filled the void created when the daily Evening Star was sold to Gannett and moved out of town. Founding publisher Regina Clarkin continued to live in the Peekskill Cortlandt area and turned her attention to other life endeavors.  Through the ensuing 19 years, Clarkin was frequently stopped in town and asked when she would start up the Herald again. In January 2019, Clarkin decided it was less labor intensive to deliver a weekly blog than a print newspaper so she began posting one story a week about life in Peekskill. After a successful crowd funding campaign in 2020, the Herald was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in July of 2021. Peekskill Herald is a digital relative of the former print edition, featuring many of the favorite aspects of the beloved Peekskill Herald such as old pictures, personality profiles and well written stories about newsworthy events. Regina Clarkin is the editor and publisher of the site. Photo by Joe Squillante