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Whistling Willies brings American fare to Fishkill
Geoffrey Wilson | Poughkeepsie Journal | November 28, 2016
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FISHKILL - A familiar Cold Spring restaurant made its debut in Dutchess County, bringing another option for eclectic cuisine.

Whistling Willies opened in October at 738 Route 9 in the Fishkill Plaza, according to David Livshin, president and CEO of The Dagar Group, managing agent for the property.

The restaurant's northern expansion was a natural decision, said Ray DiFrancesco, who purchased the Cold Spring restaurant in 2012.

"We already had a bunch of people coming down from Wappingers Falls and Hopewell Junction," DiFrancesco said. "We even had requests to open a Poughkeepsie restaurant. This was our happy medium."

DiFrancesco, 55, the father of owners Frank DiFrancesco, 29, and Ray DiFrancesco Jr, 24, is still involved with the restaurant. The Fishkill restaurant provides the same offerings as the original location, DiFrancesco said.

Whistling Willies features a variety of American dishes, including an extensive burger menu, sandwiches like the grilled cheese and short rib and entrees such as strip steak and baby rack ribs. However, the menu also dabbles in pizza and other options.

"We make everything," DiFrancesco said. "There's some Asian, our specialty burgers, some Italian and our specials. We're very flexible with the food."

The menu also features specialty cocktails and craft beers on tap. The restaurant holds happy hours from 4-6 p.m. on 16-ounce draft beer.

The restaurant seats 150 and includes both a lounge area near the bar and side rooms for parties.

Entertainment is another key component to the restaurant, which features live music on weekends.

"We're looking into booking comedians, and we're in the process of booking for next year," DiFrancesco said.

Though the Fishkill restaurant is still young,  DiFrancesco said the goal was to spread out throughout the Hudson Valley.

"The game plan for the future is to start franchising," DiFrancesco said.

Geoffrey Wilson: gwilson@poughkeepsiejournal.com, 845-437-4882, Twitter: Geoff_LW.