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These Artist-Chefs Are Pure Tropical Magic

Banana headpieces and colorful thrift store finds at Lil’ Deb’s Oasis.

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They met through a food truck in Catskill and instantly connected. Fast forward a bit, and Hannah Black and Carla Perez-Gallardo had started a Tuesday night pop-up in Hudson, New York, at a charming spot called Debbie’s Little Restaurant.

Every week they transformed the space by adding colored gels to the lights, sometimes turning the restaurant into a full-fledged dance party. With items like love advice and a table-side serenade on the menu, this place was special. When it was Debbie’s time to retire, Hannah and Carla signed the lease on the space full time. With just a little bit of money and a whole lot of love and support from the community, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis was born.

These days, Hannah, Carla and their crew bring a unique and multi-layered dining experience to the Hudson Valley. The restaurant is their art installation, with “tropical comfort food” ranging from a whole fried fish to a $10 plate of hearty goodness serving both weekenders and locals. The merch rack consists of hand-selected thrift store finds, like Hawaiian shirts from the Salvation Army, that have been screen-printed with the restaurant's name and are sold on a sliding scale.

According to them, the neon-lit oasis is supposed to feel like a home away from home where anyone can come in and feel instantly connected to the community. From our time filming this video, we can attest that Lil’ Deb’s certainly lives up.

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