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Stake Stakes Out a Steakhouse in Croton Falls

CROTON FALLS, N.Y. - If Jim Stake looks familiar, you may remember him as Dr. Ken Robinson on All My Children, TV’s longest running daytime soap opera. The show ran for nearly 41 years until it finally expired just a few months ago.

“These days it takes two to make a living,” explains Stake. “The women are out working, not watching daytime soaps.” Stake has had other roles and other careers as well.

As the scenario usually goes, he started his theatrical career as “a skinny busboy at Aphrodite in Hartsdale. I told them I was 16, but I was really 14.” Eventually he succeeded as an actor, got his Equity card and then “made the full circle and ended up as a restauranteur,” he says.

For 15 years he was a celebrity caterer, preparing parties for Joan Rivers, Ivana Trump, Rupert Murdoch and many others. He also served some time on the staff of renowned caterer, Abigail Kirsch.

His current endeavor, Croton Creek Steakhouse, has just celebrated its fifth anniversary and is now recognized as a “local” by the locals. It has been named one of the year’s Ten Best by Westchester Magazine, was described as “a savvy steakhouse” by The New York Times and has been mentioned on Martha Stewart’s TV show.

His partners are Liam Harvey and Steakhouse chef, Eric Kupferberg. “We were going to open in Bedford Hills but then we saw this place,” says Stake, referring to the 100-year-old building on West Cross Street. “Everyone thought I was crazy. They said, ‘That’s a one-horse town,’ but I felt that northern Westchester was underserved.”

Renovations were rushed through in seven weeks. “We put in new floors and ceilings and exposed the raw brick inside. At the turn of the century, they didn’t like brick and they plastered over it. It took eight days to chip off the plaster.

“Three days before we opened a guy who owned the building in the ‘80s came in and said, ‘I always dreamed of making this a nice place.’ The guy had four wooden corbels from the original bar. They’re now hanging in the restaurant.

“According to the former owner, ‘This was Westchester’s first stripper bar back in the ‘50s.’ So we went from stripper bar to strip steak,” adds Stake. And no one is complaining.

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