SPARKILL, N.Y. --- What began six years ago as a catering business specializing in Southern Comfort food -- think feel good, rib-sticking kind of meals-- has turned into a bustling by-the-pool eatery called NoCo Beach Grill .
The open, breezy space is a play on words, according to Owner Joe Agnello who says it stands for Northern Comfort. “To bring barbecue to an area that otherwise isn’t known for barbecue is kind of what appealed to me and why I wanted to do it. And the response to it has been great,” he said.
And it all started with an ad seeking a vendor to handle food and beverages at the Tallman Pool Club, something Agnello viewed as a unique opportunity.
The Tallman Beach & Pool Club at Tallman Mountain State Park in Sparkill, some Rockland residents may recall, opened Memorial Day weekend after Piermont resident William Procida invested $750,000 to reopen the dormant pools.
Club members and those coming for the day can swim and hang out while enjoying a picturesque view of the Hudson River. A typical summer day, right? What's not ordinary, however, is the food. Forget run-of-the-mill burgers, fries, and chicken finger fare found at your usual poolside snack stand.
Some of NoCo's menu must-tries include the pulled pork sliders, baby back ribs, and two burgers: the 8-ounce beef patty “Beach Burger” topped with smoked tomato jam, American or Swiss cheese, and potato chips, and the “NoCo” which includes Agnello’s signature patty--a mixture of beef, pork, bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce.
There are also interesting cocktails like the “NoCo Beach Buzz,” “Coconut Mojito,” and “Strawberry Basil Margarita."
Unlike the pool club which will close for the season after Labor Day weekend, NoCo Beach Grill will remain open until November, and Agnello is hopeful the grill can transition into a private event space (he already has two events booked at the end of September).
The grill is open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and offers nightly cocktail specials Monday through Friday.
Agnello, a self-taught chef, said he's already learned some hard lessons from the switch from catering company to beach grill, going from three employees to 20 when he opened at the club. But, with the summer rush almost behind him, he said having the space has been everything he could’ve hoped for and more.
NoCo Beach Grill and Tallman Pool Club are located in Tallman Mountain State Park off Rockland Road in Sparkill.