A Family Affair
Michelle and James collectively had 20 years of restaurant experience under their belts before they even met. From childhood Michelle loved watching the classic PBS cooking shows and always dreamed of opening a restaurant. As a child, James spent countless hours in the kitchen with his mom and dad; Sundays were filled with making big family dinners. So when they started their life together and Michelle presented the idea of opening a restaurant the idea came to fruition in a very natural way. In October 2001 they took a ride to New Paltz to check out the town. After falling in love with the town, and the Water Street Market, they decided to take the plunge and signed a lease on the spot.
The Mudd Puddle opened in January 2002 and one year later James and Michelle tied the knot. Since then they have added three amazing kids to the mix, all the while serving thousands of happy customers and creating a place that feels like home. The Mudd Puddle has called the Water Street Market home since they opened, and in 2006 acquired the space next door to expand in order to accommodate their ever growing clientele.
In 2011 Michelle gave James a home beer brewing kit for Christmas and he instantly fell in love with brewing his own beer. Together with his friend Kristop he began brewing beer in the kitchen. Kristop would bring his two kids over and add them to the Walsh family three. The ensuing madness became the creative backdrop they needed to take their brewing to the next level as a legitimate business. And so, in June 2013 Yard Owl Craft Brewery was born.