Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Iconic New Windsor Restaurant Closes

The locally renowned Schlesingers Steakhouse on Temple Hill Road in New Windsor abruptly closed after 28 years of service. They closed their doors last night.

The popular restaurant announced on Wednesday that they would be shutting down due to “unforeseen circumstances”. They remained open on Thursday and Friday, but reservations were no longer accepted. Walk-in dining was open with limited seating.

For those with outstanding gift cards, the restaurant’s management says to check back soon as they are attempting to determine how to best handle the situation.

The restaurant was owned by Neil Schlesinger. “This decision was made based on circumstances out of our control,” according to a statement issued by the company, while noting that the closure is not because of health issues. They did not elaborate on the exact reason for closing.

The steakhouse occupied a historic building with ties to George Washington, which is quite rich in local history.

Known also as The Brewster House, the fieldstone structure was built by Samuel Brewster in 1762 during the Revolutionary Era. The house originally consisted of one large room with two smaller rooms in the back, each with a single window. The upstairs was built as a loft.

The house’s location made it useful for officer’s quarters. Within walking distance of the house was George Washington’s New Windsor headquarters, now known as the New Windsor Cantonment.

In 1781, an order from the Cantonment read, “A sergeant, corporal and twelve privates to be sent immediately as a guard to Lord Stirling’s quarters at Deacon Brewster’s one and a half miles north of General Knox’s quarters.”

It is also believed that Joel Barlow, Army chaplain and poet (and later minister to France), may have been quartered here. One legend tells that Washington was so impressed by the youthful Barlow’s sermon at West Point at the treason of Benedict Arnold that he invited him to dinner, placing Barlow at Washington’s right hand while Lord Stirling sat on the left.

Brewster came to New Windsor with his brother Henry in approximately 1743. They were the first proprietors of New Windsor in 1749. Later, Brewster held the town officers of assessor and overseer of the poor. When the Presbyterian Church of New Windsor was organized in 1764, he was chosen as an elder.

Brewster owned a saw-mill, forge and anchor shop in New Windsor, and assisted in forging the chain which was stretched across the Hudson River to check the movement of British vessels coming upstream.

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