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Croton Falls: Who's Cooking? Somebody New

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- It took Russ Puckhaber over a year to find a new business but when he walked into the Croton Falls catering shop called Who’s Cooking? he thought, “This is it!”

Puckhaber attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, worked as a chef and eventually opened his own restaurant, Peppercorn’s in Poughkeepsie. After nearly 20 years in the business he wanted a change. He began to look around for a different sort of food enterprise and there it was -- right in his own backyard.

Russ Puckhaber grew up in Somers and graduated from Somers High in 1990. His parents still live there. He said he was immediately attracted to Who’s Cooking? because “we liked the location, saw the customers and met the staff and liked them, too. They were so willing.”

The staff liked Puckhaber as well. Every one of the employees stayed on. The menu has changed a little but the service remains pleasant and eager. The delicatessen and butcher shop have remained. So have the sandwiches, salads, wraps, carving board and steam table. 

“We make our own sausage and everything is made fresh daily,” Puckhaber said. He is doing a lot of business with local offices. He faxes his menu out so that people can order ahead. He is also developing a website so commuters can order from the train by phone or text.

What’s more, he has been chosen to cater small events at Caramoor. Small means fewer than 200 guests. He does it about four days a week.

Right now the shop’s big sellers are the jicama mango salad and the roasted corn salad. “We get a new case of corn every day. There’s nothing better than a high quality product made fresh daily,” he said.

Puckhaber is very happy to be based in Croton Falls. “It’s a tight little community,” he said. “Everyone has made me feel that this is where I should be from day one. It’s what I was used to, growing up in Somers.”

Who’s Cooking? is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Sunday.

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