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Jul 7, 1998 08:32 PM

Ithaca & Finger Lakes [moved from Mid Atlantic board]

  • j

Any favorites in the Ithaca to Syracuse Finger Lake
region? A carload of foodies are going on a day trip
this coming weekend--July 10th.


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  1. It's been a long time since I've been there, but a
    couple of recommendations come to mind. In Ithaca,
    there is a restaurant called Joe's, it is Italian and
    yummy, there is a Little Joe's in Collegetown, but I
    recommend going to the original source. A favorite
    place in Skaneatlas (it's been awhile so I've
    forgotten how to spell it correctly!) is Doug's Fish
    Fry. Also, if you are driving through Cortland on
    Rte. 81, get off at the exit for Rte. 281 and take a
    right out of the exit and stop at the first gas
    station or market and ask if Bob's Barbecue is still
    around. During the daytime in the summer, they
    barbecue chicken all day long. It is one of my
    fondest memories. I hope it is still there.

    p.s. are you going on a day trip from nyc? you
    realize that it is about 4 to 5 hours from here don't

    7 Replies
    1. re: Sandy Paik
      Frank Language

      "A favorite place in Skaneatlas (it's been awhile so
      I've forgotten how to spell it correctly!)"

      Skaneateles, maybe?

      1. re: Frank Language

        Thank you! Like I said, it's been a long time since I
        was in the neighborhood...

        1. re: Sandy Paik

          Thanks for the tips Sandy & Margaret. I was getting
          this info for my brother (who's doing the day trip from
          Syracuse) who just wrote me:

          "I tried a "Janet" method just now. I got a bunch of
          B&B's in the Finger Lakes region and called them for a
          recommendation. After calling & getting a few, I got
          this woman who was a foodie type. I mentioned the
          other suggestions and she had specific gripes with
          them. She told me the Knapp winery & rest. has a great
          chef this year and you can sit outside overlooking the

          We'll have to wait until Monday to hear how well the
          the cold calling method worked. I'll let you know!


          1. re: Janet Traub

            Based on my calls to several B&B owners in the Finger
            Lakes last Friday, the general rule on places there
            seemed to be: the better the view, the worse the food.

            So I ended up in Ithaca at the Heights Cafe on Hanshaw
            Rd (take Rt 13 north from town and take Triphammer Rd
            exit; make right & go about 1 mile). It was in a
            strip mall, but was actually a very nice place. Chef
            owner James is a CIA grad, and does American with a
            Mediterranean flavor. Food was very good with large
            portions (you know it's upstate when the entrees
            all come with a large salad!).

            The B&B chowhounds also liked the 3 Seasons restaurant
            at the Knapp Winery on Rt 89 on Cayuga Lake.

            1. re: Tom Traub
              Tom Goldstone

              a couple of suggestions...
              1) Just a Taste -- a tapas bar on The Commons in
              Ithaca...good wine and great tapas...good sandwiches
              and other larger food, too...
              2) Coyote Loco -- on East Hill in Ithaca...incredible
              margaritas and good Mexican food
              3) Ruloff's -- in Collegetown in Ithaca...good pub
              food...right in the heart of the Cornell action...
              4) Chapter House -- in lower Collegetown in
              Ithaca...take this suggestion only if you're more
              interested in drink than food...GREAT beers...wonderful
              old-school atmosphere...passable pizza and sandwiches.

      2. re: Sandy Paik

        definitely visit "joe's". it is NOT good italian food
        by NYC standards (or Italy's standards, of course), but
        it has a "blue-collar"/american/ethnic charm worth
        experiencing. don't forget @moosewood in the heart of

        1. re: margaret

          got some good barbecue chicken pizza recipes if
          you want some. Cali fav. Gourmet crust with
          olive oil and corn niblets and some mozarella
          and pieces of chicken breast dipped in your
          favorite BBQ sauce. walla!

      3. I've lived in Ithaca, NY for 35+ years & am a former restaurateur & am presently a food & wine educator, & hardcore foodie. Just now my 1st ever visit to check out local chowhound recs.

        Frankly, I'm appalled. Some of the places mentioned are "joints," i.e. the profit motive is queeen & king & quality way down on the list. I'd rather keep it positive but I have to set the record straight. It'd be like a visitor to NYC going to a franchise/fast food resto (not something I ever do) instead of trying some of the myriad, authentic dining options there.

        My foodie friends & I have had consistently good experiences at, in no particular order, the many local Asian restos (most of which don't have alcoholic bev licenses so BYO is the way to go); Just a Taste; Carriage House Cafe (likely the area's best bread); Pangea (best food in the area?); Simply Red Bistro in nearby Trumansburg; & Maxie's; & John Thomas Steakhouse(yes, that's really its name). I've had excellent experiences at, a bit further afield, Dano's Heurige, & have reliably heard great things about the Stonecat Cafe.

        9 months a year we have a world class farmers' market (April-Dec.) that offers, among other things, some very good ready-to-eats (Saturdays & during warmer months also Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays).

        -- Abby Nash, chowhound

        4 Replies
        1. re: salice


          I don't know if you noticed, but most of the recommendations above are over 8 years old! Most of the places you suggest weren't even around then! Good suggestions, though.

          1. re: jmoryl


            Thanx 4 your reply & appreciative words. I was aware the posts were old, but lacking more current posts, I was concerned visitors to Ithaca area would still look for the recommended places that are still extant. I believe this is a lose-lose situation for both the diners & the operations I suggested, who so much more deserve their business.


            1. re: salice

              We love the Moosewood Cafe for veggie fare whenever we travel through Ithaca. Since we cook regularly from their cookbooks, it's a great pleasure to eat the real thing at the restaurant.

          2. re: salice

            This man knows his food!

            - Birdie