“Think Outside the Box” is the Name of the Game as this Multiuse Venue Adapts to the Pandemic
Set in a renovated c.1845 Gilded Age church, Revel 32 opened in November 2019 with a bang. Developers Jim and Gina Sullivan, who had previously renovated next-door architectural icon 40 Cannon Street, turning it into a multiuse space with apartments, a brewery, a wine bar, and an art gallery, intended Revel to serve as an adaptable, one-size-fits-all venue for everything from concerts and productions to galas and food pop-ups.
The elegant 20,000-square-foot space was just hitting its stride this winter, with a programming partnership with nearby powerhouse Bardavon and dozens of private events planned for the year. They were coming off the high of a successful Mardi Gras party on March 7 and prepping for a craft beer festival, when news of the lockdown hit. “We had a really healthy book, full of Sweet 16s, weddings, engagement parties, retirement parties. We were already booking Christmas parties for the end of the year,” says Gina Sullivan. “It all stopped. Everybody postponed or canceled.”
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A Drum Roll Please…Presenting David Burke
Celebrity chef David Burke has a rolodex of restaurants under his management. The CIA grad is a familiar face from the reality TV show “Iron Chef.” He seems to attract accolades by the bundle, including being inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2009, and earning the title of number one steakhouse in Chicago in 2013 for the Himalayan salt-aged steaks he served up at Primehouse in the James Hotel.
Before COVID hit, the Sullivans had been in discussions with Burke on a catering partnership for events at Revel 32. “He was interested in coming back to the Hudson Valley,” she says. “We were close to finalizing the deal, then everything stopped.” After the worst was over, talks resumed, and now Burke is officially the preferred caterer for Revel 32. “So if you have an event there, you can choose to have him cater it,” Sullivan explains, though she’s careful to note you can pick your own caterer as well. “He’s a big deal. Two weeks ago, I went to Saratoga Springs to see what his restaurant the Blue Henwas like, and it’s amazing, it’s an experience.”
They are also considering organizing events around Burke, like a monthly supper club. “You can still have something small and amazing and safe,” Sullivan says. “We’re still very interested in the revitalization of the City of Poughkeepsie—what would be great for the area? What would people like here? How can we help?. We were on such a good trajectory before this happened. It felt like things were coming around, so we’ll keep plugging away at it.”