A Feast for the Eyes and Appetite
It’s 11 a.m. The door swings open almost too easily. Sun fills the vibrant space as “Holiday” by Green Day plays quietly over the clanking of the glasses at the bar but loud enough to drown out private conversations. Kyle Dyer, who co-owns Sip with his business partner and friend Dean Jolly, is running back and forth between the main floor and back of the restaurant. Jolly is laughing with the bartender because, for some unknown reason, Dyer is wearing rubber gloves. This seems to be a typical morning for the two colleagues who have known each other since high school.
Jolly and Dyer met while playing in their band, “Yours Truly.” The band broke up shortly after high school but their friendship only grew. Today they find that music and cooking are both forms of self-expression that require attention to detail.
“That happens in music too, where you refine that one melody over and over again until it’s better,” Dyer says.
Since their band days, they worked their way up the ladder and decided to take a stab at the restaurant business themselves.
“There wasn’t anything else like [Sip] in Plattsburgh and [the art is] something to look at while you’re eating.”
Leisurely strolling into their space on a Sunday morning, customers’ wandering eyes are met with charcoal-hued walls contrasting against bright purples, golden yellows and deep fuchsia swirls filling the space. Edison bulbs hang from the ceiling by black cords, casting a warm yellow light. A centrally located bar is stocked with various liquors, ciders, craft beers and wines. A “Make Food Fresh Again” mural harmoniously blends with smaller murals nestled between the light gray booths. A swoosh of hunter green and a dash of eggplant-purple pair with abstract neon shapes that adorn walls, bringing light to the dark.
The murals were collaborative as artist Liz Allen worked with Jolly and Dyer on painting a vibrant piece of art that stays true to her artistic style.
“They were just super open with anything I threw at them,” Allen says. “I was like, ‘let’s have a pickle with wings!’”
Allen describes her artistic style as surrealist pop art and loves to work with color, crazy landscapes and street-style art.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s graffiti, but I am influenced by what a wall covered in graffiti would look like,” Allen says.
While the smaller murals don’t tell a specific story, Allen says they are all related.
“It’s like my own little world,” she says. “I can look at it for hours and find all the little things I put in there and I find all the colors really relaxing and inviting.”
The food served at Sip embodies the vibrant colors of the murals and decor. Some customer favorites are the fish tacos made with crispy beer-battered fried haddock topped with bright magenta pickled slaw. While patrons chat over drinks, they might order the sweet nacho appetizer which features a generous helping of house-made sweet potato chips covered in an oozing layer of cheddar. The dish is finished with a colorful heap of black bean and corn salsa.
Sip also offers hand-crafted cocktails such as the Procrastinator that features gin or vodka, rosemary and grapefruit juice topped off with bubbly sweet prosecco. Jolly and Dyer like to focus on craft beer, something they don’t feel is common in Plattsburgh. Compared to downstate New York or Vermont, Dyer says Plattsburgh is behind on craft beer. He and Jolly say they are trying to get it up to the standards of other areas.
“I like the beers we pour,” Jolly says, “we put a lot of work into that. We try to have stuff that hasn’t been poured anywhere in town before.”
Across from the bar, resting above the large garage doors, basking in an amber glow from the hanging lights, lies a black and white mural with pops of indigo, canary yellow and peachy-orange tones. This mural was the first commercial piece that Vermont-based artist, Joe Pray, (known as downward_coyote on Instagram) has had commissioned.
“It was nice to see my art help pay the rent,” Pray says.
Dyer reached out to Pray at Half Lounge in Burlington, saying that he wanted the mural to center around bringing fresh food to Plattsburgh, hence “smash your microwave.” The inclusion of “tell your friends you love them” has been a signature of Pray’s work since the passing of a close friend.
“Kyle vibed with the sentiment and insisted that the message make it into the mural,” Pray says. “We both agreed that the mural should be filled with other positive messages.”
Sip may seem like just a trendy restaurant with great food, but the minute patrons sit down, all of their senses are catered to.
Being immersed in an abundance of art and dining on bright fresh house-made dishes while surrounded by good company is what sets Sip apart from the rest.