The Beech Tree in Poughkeepsie will be shutting their doors for good.

It's something loyal customers thought would never happen, but the Beech Tree Grill in the Arlington section of Poughkeepsie is closing down. In 1991 the Beech Tree opened near Vassar College serving seasonal, local food and drinks. At the time, this cozy little restaurant on Collegeview Avenue was one of just a few places in the county to offer craft beer, with some selections even being pumped directly out of the cask.

Through the years the Beech Tree gained a loyal following from not only beer lovers, but foodies as well. Diners raved about the diverse menu which included a long list of specials each night. Ambitious dishes flew out of the small, cramped kitchen at the end of the bar to the delight of customers looking for fresh, local cuisine. While the nightly specials were usually a big hit, perhaps the most famous item on the menu was the hamburger. Their thick, juicy burger was constructed with 8oz of Black Angus meat and topped with a generous slice of Roma tomato. What separated the Beech Tree burger from all others, however, was the fact that it was served on an oversized, toasted english muffin.

The thought of losing the Beech Tree is devastating to those who grew up eating and drinking there, but there is a small bit of good news. While the Beech Tree has made the decision to close, it will remain open for at least a little while longer. The restaurant directed us to a posting on their Instagram page that explains the current situation. It reads:

To our loyal patrons and friends: (The Beech Tree) is still open for business! While we have made the decision to eventually close our doors, there's not a definite closing date. As long as we have our staff and our customers we are here to serve you.

The message ends with a thank you to the Beech Tree's loyal customers for "respecting (their) decision."

Aaron Foglietta, the owner and executive chef at the Beech Tree since 2000, wouldn't say exactly when his last day would be. He told us that he is continuing to stay open over the next few weeks in order to give all of his employees enough time to find new jobs. But make no mistake, your final visit to the Beech Tree will not be a solemn one. Foglietta told us that he wants to enjoy this time celebrating the history of the restaurant and ending things on a "high note."

A celebratory send-off is planned for one of the bartenders who's last night is this Friday. There is also live music scheduled over the weekend. As staff members begin to leave for new jobs, the list of specials on the menu may get a little smaller. Besides that, customers shouldn't notice a difference in the usual Beech Tree experience.

As for the future, Foglietta says that he's too busy winding things down to even think about opening another restaurant. But he did tell us that it's "always a possibility."

So, if you are a fan of the famous Beech Tree burger, you should probably plan on stopping in for one final taste soon. And while you're there, be sure to raise a glass to Foglietta and the staff of the Beech Tree who are ending things the same way they've been running the place for the past few decades; on their own terms.

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